canada.gif

gb.gif

de.gif

us.gif
 

(Please shop locally and independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking image above. Thanks!!!)

ADVERTISEMENT
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Freedom in a New Year

freedom_lg.jpg
Freedom (1989) by Neil Young -
"The rock and roll coda of the Cold War"


Neil Young's album Freedom -- which was released in 1989 just as the Berlin Wall fell -- has been called "the rock and roll coda of the Cold War".

The album contains the song "Rockin' In The Free World" and is one of Young's most popular, important and prophetic songs of his vast catalog.

The song has become an iconic anthem and it's status continues to rise as more and more artists cover the song. Young's lyrics are considered to be an indictment of the politics of the 1980's. In today's post-9/11 world, the lyrics seem prophetic and even more meaningful than when originally written on the eve of the '90's as the Berlin Wall fell.

Twenty years on, the song "Rockin' In The Free World" has become a set closer for bands,as well as, a coda for an era.

pearl-jam-ritfw-philly-09.jpg
"There's colors on the street
Red, white and blue"


Pearl Jam covers "Rockin' in the Free World"
Final Philadelphia Spectrum Concert - 10/31/2009


In 2009, Pearl Jam concluded their tour at the Philadelphia Spectrum with "Rockin' in the Free World" amidst an avalanche of balloons and confetti to commemorate the final concert at the historic venue before it's demolition.


"We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man"

Freedom: Berlin Wall, Germany - 1989


There are those who have argued that "Rockin' in the Free World" espouses anti-freedom ideals, to which we have taken serious issue with in the past.


"We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand"

Freedom: Tiananmen Square, China - 1989


Yet the song is often misunderstood and attacked on false interpretations and misplaced understandings. Witness some of the near violent comments that have been left on this blog over the years in reaction to some of our previous postings on the song's lyrical analysis (see comments here and here.)

kent state
"But there's a warnin' sign on the road ahead
There's a lot of people sayin' we'd be better off dead
Don't feel like Satan, but I am to them
So I try to forget it, any way I can."

Freedom: Kent State University, Ohio - 1970


As always, we live in dangerous times where those who stand for freedom are often accused of treason and worse. Such times are now and the struggle for freedom -- even among those who feel they are actually free -- is more paramount than ever. The right to live and speak freely is an inalienably human right that can never be assumed nor taken for granted.


Freedom: Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, CA - November 1966


So, for what it's worth...


U.S. President John F. Kennedy - 1961
The President and the Press:
Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
New York City, April 27, 1961


Addressing the American Newspaper Publishers Association at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on April 27, 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy said at the peak of the Cold War's Cuban Missile Crisis:
"The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.

Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.

[We have an] obligation to inform and alert the American people -- to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need, and understand them as well -- the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program and the choices that we face.

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed -- and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment-- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution -- not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants" -- but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

And so it is to the printing press -- to the recorder of man's deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news -- that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent."

leia-s-daddy.jpg
Leia's Daddy


"There's one more kid that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool."


freedom. not just another word.

happy new year.

peace


More on finding the cost of freedom.

UPDATE: Comment of the Moment: Freedom in a New Year

UPDATE 2/12/11:

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked



Revolution in Tahrir Square
Cairo, Egypt - February 12, 2011



Twitter / @RepStones




UPDATE 2/18/11:

wisconsin-protests.jpg
Wisconsin: Keep on Rockin' in the Free World
30,000 Protesters in Madison, Wisconsin Capitol - Feb 17, 2011


tweet
Twitter / @Marti : R @manyko2 For @sdpdx Rock ...





UPDATE 3/23/11:

Rebel in Libya - 3/23/11


UPDATE 4/23/11:
Demonstrators in Syria - 4/20/11




UPDATE 4/23/11:
Celebration in Yemen - 6/5/11




The whole world is morphing. The whole world is morphing. The whole world is morphing.

"The Earth is talking to me
I hear a rumblin' in her ground
Don't you feel that new wind blowing?
Don't you recognize that sound?"

~~Neil Young



Gulf Oil Gusher Rally, Florida, June 2010
1,000,000 Strong Against Offshore Drilling | Facebook
"Walk with Us"


be the rain, rumble, rock. now.
namaste


Links to this post:

Create a Link

10 Comments:

At 1/01/2011 12:43:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Let's all keep the Flags of Freedom flying. This new year, and evermore.

 
At 1/01/2011 01:41:00 PM, Anonymous Douglas buckley said...

Nice. Happy New Year Thrasher.

 
At 1/01/2011 02:48:00 PM, Blogger Jill said...

As always, Neil captured the Zeitgeist 2 steps ahead of most people.

Well,I wonder what this new year will bring? So many questions - will Trunk Show be released? Or Toast? Will we see the return of the Horse? Will that favourite white hat of Neil`s finally fall apart?!

Happy New Neil Year everyone!!

 
At 1/01/2011 03:18:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Hmmm..what an appropriate time to release a 'best of' album Neil...you could call it...DECADE!!

xxxdoc

 
At 1/02/2011 03:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PeaceUp^Here isto a happy!NewYear<3 <3 Teressa

 
At 1/03/2011 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Jill said...

By the way,for anyone who doesn`t already know, the latest Mojo mag has a 25 page tribute to Neil, including a fairly recent interview with him about how he writes his songs. Also a free CD `Harvest Revisited` - all the songs from Harvest sung by different artists. I`ve only given it one spin yet but I`d say it was well worth a listen. There`s also an online quiz but I haven`t checked that out yet.

 
At 1/07/2011 01:44:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Like so many of Neil’s songs, RITFW can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. For me a few things stand out, but as an overall picture James Lane’s comment comes very close to summarizing the song: "The tune warns us of the complacency of our own lives and the lack of empathy we express for people who are not blessed with the benefits and cushy lifestyle the majority of Americans enjoy. The song is a musical signpost telling us not to lose sight of the problems our society and its less fortunate members face. It is a song of insight attempting to awaken us to the reality of a culture seen on a wider screen…” I think Thrasher is also very close to the center of the song by concluding that “Young contrasts President Bush's rhetoric and Rev. Jackson's religion as solutions to society's ills, when in actuality, they are nothing more than "feel good" slogans with little results to show”, as well as “The lyrics of "Rockin' In The Free World" also refer to the rampant consumerism of American culture and the rise of the disposable society based on waste and pollution.” As far as the USA Today quote that the song is “a savage attack on the policies of Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush”, I think that while this is true in particular, the song addresses this and America and its history in its entirety, as well as Americans in general. Having said this, the lyric that has always stood out most prominently in my mind is “We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand”, which can only be a swipe at Bush 1. We all know what real effect rhetoric has had on the causes of homelessness, and the specious nature of “kinder, gentler” rationales to go to war- protecting America from problems it has largely created on its own, e.g. Saddam Hussein and oil dependence, and that however you want to view it, America still has a machine gun in its hands. Just ask any Iraqi, then or now.

As far as the song being a pro or anti democracy anthem, that is a concept fraught with all sorts of erroneousness. In the first place, democracy represents a degradation of the republican principles this country was founded on, and is just another form of mob rule, or rule by simple majority. Read the Federalist Papers to find out what the Founders had to say about protecting the rights of the minority. Consider also Socrates’ warning: “Republics decline into democracies, and democracies degenerate into despotisms." In any event, at the very least “democracy” is what has created the foul state of the body politic which is hamstringing this country at present. It is what allows the run of the mill politician to function as a demagogue, with no need to have a world view with which to take moral and ethical stances, just to wave a finger in the air to find out which way the wind is blowing. At worst, democracy is used to tell people one thing, and do another. Just look around you at what you find disgusting, and stop wondering how it was all possible. Still, even a republican form of government rightly encompasses democratic features, features obviously not available to the victims of Tienanmen Square.

 
At 1/07/2011 01:45:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

No, the state of democracy is not what Neil is lamenting. His lament I think is “how could people get so unkind?” This goes for the politics of nations, purveyors of empty rhetoric, and the ignorance, lack of awareness, and unfeeling nature of all of us right across the board.

Finally, Thrasher brilliantly cites JFK’s speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association. If anyone wants to understand what is happening in this world, how things came to be this way, in what direction we are headed, or the perilous state of freedom confronting us, you need only start right here. You need only start here to understand the true context of George Bush’s “thousand points of light” reference. It has nothing to do with a call to civic and charitable involvement. Rather, it is a reference to Illuminism, an encoded esoteric call to arms signaling to all the wreckers throughout the world that the time has come to declare out in the open (in George Bush’s own words), a “New World Order”. Go ahead, roll your eyes, but this is what is happening. I don’t think that Neil wrote the song to reveal the truth of this, but as a way to call attention to the havoc that the George Bush’s of the world, and the higher powers that control them, and their minions, have wreaked in the world. Again, I don’t think that Neil is addressing the esoteric causation of the picture he paints, but wreckage is wreckage, however you care to explain it. Kennedy knew this, and was the only one in the history of his office to stand up and try to do something about it, with the exception of Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, and precious few others. It is why he was killed, and why no President will ever stand up again, even if they wanted to, which of course does not describe both Bush’s, Clinton, Carter and Obama, who are active and willing participants. Reagan was the stand in from Hollywood, delivering his lines expertly for those behind the scenes feeding them to him.

The upshot of the song for me finally, is the song titles sentiment itself- keep on rocking in the free world. I think “free” is a sarcastic usage, given what the song chronicles, but still and all, “keep on keeping on”. “Rocking” is an affirmative. It is the power of free expression. Acknowledge the truth of the situation, be angry yes, but do something about it- while you still can.There is no Ayatollah to stop anyone from trying to “be the rain”- yet. Keep on rocking in the “free” world.

A Friend Of Yours

 
At 1/08/2011 10:39:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Great comment Greg! Definitely worthy of a Comment of the Moment.

Have a great '11!

 
At 7/02/2011 05:01:00 PM, Anonymous B. Franklin said...

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security deserves neither liberty nor safety."

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->


People's Climate March NYC - 9/21/14

Willie for a Nobel!

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize
for Farm Aid and his work on
alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives.


Demand justice for Aaron:
Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution


Please Help Support Independent Media &
Non-Corporate Advertising


This Blog's For You!


It's Been Called The
"Missing Link" in the Ditch Trilogy

time-fades-away-banner2a

Sign the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition
Join The 10,000+ Who Have Already Signed


WIN AN ISSUE!
Broken Arrow Magazine - March 2014

broken-arrow-mag-new-logo.gif

Neil Young Appreciation Society


sugar-mtn-logo.jpg
Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
rust-radio-new
Rust Radio


youngtown-rock&roll
Youngtown Rock and Roll Museum
Omemee, Ontario, Canada

Featuring Neil Young,
The Beatles, and others

bumpersticker-neil-concert.jpg


i-l-ove-neil-young-sm.jpg
Bands Covering Neil Young songs


bumper-sticker-live-music-better-sm.jpg


This Blog's For You!

ny-times-logo.jpg
Official Neil Young News Site

bridgeschool_logo
The Bridge School



The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

**100% of Proceeds to Benefit Bridge School***

farm-aid-logo.gif
Farm Aid

Stop factory farms
Go family farms!

linda-eastman-neil-young-sugar-mtn-sm.jpg
The Essential Neil Young

neil-young-sleeveless.jpg
Fans Favorite Neil Albums

neil-young-heart-of-gold-film-still
Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads


Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
amazon-neil-store.GIF
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - Amazon.com us.gif
Canada - Amazon.ca canada.gif
United Kingdom - Amazon.uk gb.gif
Germany - Amazon.de de.gif







Neil Young Songbook Project

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

jttp-film-poster-sm.jpg
Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.

live-rust-promo-poster.jpg



trans-promo





Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

paul-neil-bridge2004-sat-sfc-kkomenich-sm.jpg
Paul McCartney and Neil Young

woodstock-poster.jpg


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

lennon_peace_liberty
John Lennon and Neil Young


"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
csny-1974-poster.jpg
The Supergroup of the 20th Century



eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

buffalo-springfield-poster.jpg
Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield


"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked

Turn Off Your TV

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
by Rustie Sharry "Keepin' Jive Alive in T.O." Wilson

"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg


dylan-young-crop
Bob and Neil

weld
So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?


Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

concert-pass-europe-2003-solo.jpg


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

speak truth to power

emmylou-harris-neil-young-0305-crop
Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

wilco-062305-wide-background.jpg
Wilco and Neil Young

bluenotes-pass-young88crewlam-sm.jpg

bruce-springsteen-neil-young-bridge-oct-1986.jpg
Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young

europe87concertpass


elton-john-neil-young-crop-sm.jpg
Elton John and Neil Young

musicares-neil-young-2010.jpg
2010: Neil Young Year in Review -
A Tale of 2 Neils

ronnie-vanzant-neil.jpg
Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

powderfinger
"Powderfinger"
What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment
neil-sad.jpg
Wisconsin-solidarity.jpg
I'm Proud to Be A Union Man

UNITED WE STAND/DIVIDED WE FALL


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up


Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...
peacefully

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"


"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize



John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel

willie_picnic_poster_070503



Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what friend had said
I was hoping it was a lie"


We're All On
A Journey Through the Past


Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH

Freedom:
freedom-video
Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong?
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

csny2k-plate.jpg
the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists


war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Occupy the Music

Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
#NullifyNSA
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right


Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?

churchsign


Share

Words

(Between the lines of age)