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Sunday, February 09, 2020

Greta Thunberg and Neil Young's Prophetic Greendale: Sun Green + Julia Butterfly #BeTheRain


Sun Green (Sarah White, Greendale Film by Neil Young, 2003) + Greta Thunberg (Climate Activist, Born in 2003)

These days in the Neil Young fan community, there has been much discussion on the prophecy of Neil Young's Greendale and it's central character Sun Green relative to Greta Thunberg, the internationally known climate activist.

In Neil Young's 2003 album, tour and film titled Greendale, the central role of Sun Green was played by Sarah White. Notably, she wears her blond hair in braids nearly exactly as Greta Thunberg. Coincidentally, Greta was also born in 2003, the same year that Neil Young's Greendale was conceived.

Neil Young has stated in interviews that he was inspired to create the character 'Sun Green' in the spirit of environmental activist Julia Butterfly.


Julia "Butterfly" Hill - 1998

Julia Butterfly is best known for having lived in a 180-foot-tall, roughly 1,500-year-old California redwood tree for 738 days between December 10, 1997 and December 18, 1999. Julia received a fair amount of media attention in the 90's for her activist efforts and inspired many to action.


Sun Green in Neil Young's Greendale Concert Tour - 2003

In Neil Young's Greendale song "Sun Green", the lyrics directly reference Julia Butterfly.

"She'd [Sun Green] still like to meet Julia Butterfly
and see what remedy brings
and be a goddess in the planet wars
tryin' to save the livin' things

But that might not be easy
livin' on the run
Mother Earth has many enemies
there's much work to be done"


"And hope has always been the tone of youth."
Frame from Greendale Graphic Novel by Joshua Dysart/Cliff Chiang


On Neil Young's website, he posted the following message on Greta Thunberg Speaks: Please Listen | NYA in March 2019:

"I have been told she is a lot like Sun Green from Greendale. But Sun Green is a lot like her."

The Power of Youth
Time Magazine "Person of the Year" Greta Thunberg - 2019

So, the comparisons between the fictional Sun Green and non-fictional Greta Thunberg, caused some to cry foul, essentially saying that Greta Thunberg ain't no Julia Butterfly (or for that matter, Sun Green either). All just a coincidence, certainly -- although mathematically impossible -- past proves future. Right on cue ...

For example, Mark, who commented (on Premiere: RETURN TO GREENDALE by Neil Young & Crazy Horse @ Balboa Theater, San Francisco, CA - Jan 28, 2020 ):
........ oh please

.... please do not defile my vision of Sun Green by equating her righteously welding herself to the Eagle's beak w/ Saint Greta's dancing across the water on a high school gap year global road trip aboard a billionaire donated, luxury yacht

'She was welded to the eagle's beak
sun green leaned into that megaphone
and said, "truth is all i seek" '
"Sun Green"
by Neil Young

However, many others do see Greta Thunberg as a legitimate heir to the Sun Green / Julia Butterfly legendary figures in her climate activism quest.

For example, Neil Young fan Peacelover Doc, commented (on Premiere: RETURN TO GREENDALE by Neil Young & Crazy Horse @ Balboa Theater, San Francisco, CA - Jan 28, 2020 ):
Many climate change deniers want to silence this girl so they can continue to use up this planet and leave her generation with the mess. That's bullshit & Greta Thunberg, is speaking truth to power.

That's pretty Sun Greenish to me.

Greta Thunberg: "Be a goddess in the planet wars"?

Mark, who kick started this conversation here on TW, did return to defend his original supposition that Greta's "low risk" efforts were unworthy of sainthood in the spirit of Sun Green / Julia Butterfly. Mark then comments (on Premiere: RETURN TO GREENDALE by Neil Young & Crazy Horse @ Balboa Theater, San Francisco, CA - Jan 28, 2020 ):
Julia Butterfly didn’t traipse around the world with a camera crew & related entourage directing her toward people to scowl at & berate. She spent two years IN A TREE, and by virtue of her sacrifice & risk of life, brought warranted attention to her cause.

Sun Green welded herself to the eagles beak in her home town.

And I, for the above reasons, do not equate St. Greta with either.

John Lennon said, around the time of that first Earth Day, that ‘a working class hero is something to be’.

Mark is a guy who believes passionately in where he lives & works endlessly to make it better.

He’s no star, not on TV anymore and doesn’t attract a crowd, but his work still stands.

Think Globally, act locally.
Be the Rain, people.

"Be the Rain, You Understand" - Grandma to Sun
Frame via Greendale Graphic Novel
By Joshua Dysart/Cliff Chiang

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"Be the Rain!" - Sun Green
Frame via Greendale Graphic Novel
By Joshua Dysart/Cliff Chiang

greendale flag
be the rain
Poster for "Live From Greeendale" - Neil Young & Crazy Horse

#BeTheRain

The Greendale Backstory

Sun Green (Sara White) and Grandpa (Ben Keith)

A premiere screening of the film RETURN TO GREENDALE by Neil Young & Crazy Horse was held at Balboa Theater in San Francisco, CA on Jan 28, 2020.


Neil Young calls "Greendale" on Times-Contrarian | NYA "one of the biggest highlights of my filming life".


"Sun had a poetry about her"
Frame via Greendale Graphic Novel
By Joshua Dysart/Cliff Chiang

But back in 2003, "Greendale" was one of the most controversial and divisive albums and concert tours of Neil Young's career.

rcmh2004_sun_neil_cu
Neil Young & Sun Green
Radio City Music Hall, New York, March 18, 2004

Photo by thrashette


The musical and lyrical importance of "Greendale" can not be understated - either in terms of Neil Young's body of work, nor its impact on his fan base.

sun-green-graphic-novel.jpg
Sun Green - Art by Cliff Chiang
Inside The Making of Neil Young’s Greendale Graphic Novel

As many of our long time readers here at Thrasher's Wheat know, we have long since declared: "The Inconvenient Truth of Greendale".

greendale-graphic-novel.jpg
Neil Young’s Greendale
Written by Joshua Dysart, Illustrated by Cliff Chiang

The inconvenient truth of Neil Young's Greendale is that he was right -- and his message is even more relevant today than upon Greendale's original release.

Greendale Album Cover

Greendale is "Everything You're Looking For" - Bandit


The inconvenient truth of Greendale is its uncomfortable confrontation with themes such as the power of mass media and global corporations, loss of personal freedoms and privacy, destruction of the environment, rampant fraud and corruption, an out of balance government and breakdown of the family. All of which we've detailed before here, here, and here.


"a little Mayberry livin' can go a long way"
GREENDALE 2020 HINDSIGHT by James Mazzeo



More on Sun Green in the "compelling", "controversial" and "audiences challenging" concert opera "Greendale" by Neil Young.


"This church was above war. Above politics. Above apathy. Above greed. This church was boundless."
via Neil Young’s Greendale Graphic Novel - Written by Joshua Dysart, Illustrated by Cliff Chiang
(Click image to enlarge)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


7 Comments:

At 2/09/2020 06:09:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

From a European perspective Greta does not resemble Julia Butterfly or Sun Green but rather other (fictional) characters. Julia Butterfly simply wasn’t that big in Europe, but other Scandinavian girls in many societies in Scandinavia and beyond are larger than life still, for example the child pointing at the emperor wearing no clothes (H.C. Andersen) or Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren).
Pippi wears her hair braided, she refuses to go to school and be brainwashed. This girl is financially independent and does not take shit from adults. She prefers to critically examine her social environment and she is physically very strong.
All these features make her the most popular girl role model for educated middle class families in western, central and northern Europe. And that’s exactly where Greta came from.
So maybe it would be reasonable to assume that Greta is the “little girl who couldn’t wait”, today’s emanation of Dorothy Gale, following a digital brick road. Don’t let it be misunderstood, no belittlement here: young girls having set their mind firmly on something can be very powerful.

 
At 2/10/2020 03:56:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thank you for the perspective Dionys.

Yes, a long line from Pippi Longstocking.

Interesting on Greta as the “today’s emanation of Dorothy Gale, following a digital brick road." well, off to see The Wizard.

... and no misunderstanding on young girls -- or anyone, really -- on the power of mental focus.

 
At 2/11/2020 03:20:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

First time I saw Neil Young & Crazy Horse perform a show was in 2001 at Rotterdam,Ahoy in . the Netherlands.Never seen him live before.Long before that I was already a huge admirer of his music and way of life.I joined fan-clubs both in The Netherlands (1997) as in Great Britain (1998).They were called "Neil Young Fan-Club Nederland" and the "Neil Young Appreciation Society".The fanzines were called "This note's for you" and "Broken Arrow".One thing lead to another and I started playing guitar and writing my own songs,inspired by Neil of course.On several Fan-Club-days in the Netherlands I played some songs,both original as covers on the open stages during those meetings.A lot of fun,good music and made a few friends along the way.In 2004 I saw him play,all by himself the complete story of Greendale,the audience was flabbergasted an fascinated by the music,the lyrics as well as the story.We all expected a greatest hits-show as we knew so many good songs from so many bootlegs.The message was loud and clear and is still actual now,to my regret.How long will we run on our green earth?I'm worried,but I know all things come to an end.But how and when,sooner or later?:it's up to us.Houdoe,Cees Mostert.

 
At 2/11/2020 05:20:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Greta is following her own specific path. It is hers alone to walk. Activists have been around forever, and it is those who actually make a difference who are most remembered after they’re gone. Even when they fail. The fact that Greta is even being mentioned here is evidence that she is making a difference, and I for one want to celebrate that with her. Perhaps getting anointed by Time Magazine as “person of the year” wasn’t all that helpful to her cause, but it did get everyone’s attention. I’m sure she could care less, frankly.

She’s calling out to fellow young people to get up and start speaking out to fight for their future. It’s about time young people start to wake up and let their voices be heard. She’s kicking her generation into gear; certainly someone had to. Technology has numbed us into an isolating fog, and if Greta can wake them up, then perhaps we can all make a difference. Who knows. Maybe the young people can become the catalyst to make the big difference in the world again.

Hearse Theatre just played a live Ohio yesterday, and it reminded me of when music was a call to arms for people to wake up and take on the world. To stand up and say “enough”!!! If Greta can do that, then God’s speed to her and her friends.

She’s fearless with her condemnation of the world governments lack of leadership and address the potential solutions that frankly are painfully obvious to this old man. Neil Young has made it clear that he understands where this young woman is coming from and although she probably isn’t concerned about what Neil Young thinks, it does illustrate her impact up to now. Not to forget how our man in the White House reacted, saying: “she has anger issues” which is something he knows intimately. Once again, she got his attention.

Greendale came out a while ago, and at the time it was not completely embraced by all of Neil’s fans, yet many of us were thrilled with this remarkable album. Here we are in 2020 and it now seems more relevant what Greendale was, and is today. With Greta, Sun Green (the fictional character) has materialized in the flesh. She’s not sitting in a tree or chained to a statue, but she is making a difference. Right now. So keep on rocking in the free world Greta, for as long as it is free. Good luck fighting the good fight for your future, and ours. I’m with you.

Peace.

 
At 2/12/2020 12:51:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

child abuse is what it is...the media pushing this nonsense...stunning how brainwashed so many seem to be regarding so-called climate change...

I love Greendale for many reasons but climate activism isn't one of them...

How ironic that within the very same masterpiece (Greendale) where Neil rightfully calls out the news media for their bullying tactics and sensationalism, he still buys into what we're being told about the climate & man's impact on it...

sigh...

 
At 2/12/2020 01:17:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Child abuse is leaving our children a world in worse shape than we found in. Loving the earth is loving our children.

Peace.

 
At 2/12/2020 03:12:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

Now, that’s a refreshing world view à le brute americain : child abuse by the media, climate change a result of brainwashing or “being told”. If everybody were that educated we wouldn’t discuss Greta or think about Susan Carol from “Early Magazine”. Unfortunately there is far more than the other half of the world’s living persons, who insist to have experienced first-hand and know better. In absence of Greta I protest this utter filter-bubble nonsense being hurled at reasonable and decent people. Americans never landed on the moon, the earth is flat and climate change a Chinese invention or so I'm "being told".

 

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