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Monday, March 14, 2022

Comment of the Moment: Still Living With War... Deja Vu Yet Again

no war
No War
Greendale Film still


In our recent post Still Living With War... Deja Vu Yet Again, we explored today's global tensions in the context of the anti-war music of CSN&Y.  

Which, of course -- and surprisingly -- generated a fair amount of discussion about the situation.  It would be impossible to try and summarize here, so we encourage anyone interested in world peace to check the thread comments.

Here is our Comment of the Moment on  Still Living With War... Deja Vu Yet Again by Abner:

This brings me to Living with War. 

These songs are, to me anyway, flat our brilliant because they face the nihilism. The frustration and rage and sadness that engulf the album are born from the wall of nothingness that is US policy. We have forgotten (perhaps) just how stupid and unjustified it was to attack Iraq (the second time around at least). But forget details at this point. The same wall of nothingness takes place in the fight over the environment: nothing gets done because it does not motivate. 

What has happened now is belligerence is living happily with ignorance and narcissism.  

Thanks, as always Abner, for your carefully chosen thoughts and words here during these volatile times.

Again,  this CotM was snipped from a wide ranging conversation that is impossible to summarize, so we encourage anyone interested in the subject of world peace to check the thread comments.

Btw, this week's Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 episode features our Special Guest Davy from Scotland who discusses the connections between albums Deja Vu and Living With War amidst the backdrop of ongoing global unrest. Check it out.

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At 3/15/2022 10:24:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

From a different perspective „Living With War“ or „Deja Vu“ are not the labels that hold for the current situation at all.

While Europe has not been peaceful in absolute terms since 1945 (remember the implosion of Yugoslavia and the ensuing wars?) the continent still experienced a lifetime of relative peace, yes, with conflicts in which Europeans participated but which were very far away (e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, the Falklands) and consumed political structures that were not democratic, not even orientated towards the West. That these limited conflicts did not end in a development of desirable political entities and stability is due to the fact that obviously every attempt to introduce western values and their respective institutions are doomed to fail without having the full support of the people of these territories and countries. Obviously the situation in Ukraine is totally different. The Ukrainians have not been been there before, nor have the Central and Western Europeans as their neighbours.

This time is totally different. The war happens to evolve on the Western and Central European’s doorstep. With the influx of hundred thousands, maybe millions, of refugees in Central Europe, we are directly affected, that’s not a good-will thing, with a bad conscience in mind about the consequences of colonialism. The Europeans did manage a refugee wave in 2015, but these refugees came from the Near and Middle East or Africa. The Ukrainians (and very many Russians) are our neighbors, friends, also relatives. When did North America experience a similar situation?

This situation is totally diffent: This conflict bears the possibility of direct confrontation between NATO and Putinrussia, military entities that both maintain a nuclear arsenal, and a hot war in the relative vacuum between the antagonists could very well be the first stage of a much larger confrontation. The Cuban crisis comes to mind, but then - fortunately – the involved governments remained reasonable.

The reaction is totally different: Never before there have been economic sanctions of that scale, simply because never before there have been that close and manifold economic and other ties between the opponents. That they failed to secure the fragile peace is one thing. The other being the fact that the globalized interdependencies will have repercussions on a scale and in corners of this planet yet unseen and never experienced before (e.g. total dependency of Egypt on both Russian and Ukrainian wheat exports). When did this happen the last time?

The future will be totally different: Narrowing the scope to my own country (Germany), we can see more than one generation either being stopped dead in their tracks towards a climate friendly economy or (slim chance) being catapulted onto the fast track, i.e. leaving the fossil fuel economy behind at an even faster pace, also because of the apparent dependency on Russian energy supply. Have you seen that before?

At 3/15/2022 01:54:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Seems right to me Dionys. I think the last point is especially interesting. Of course the US does not have the same dependency. My above comment was all about US culture, which I think is insane and impotent at the same time. Putin has one simple strategy and it continues to work- keep trying to divide US citizens.

Sounds to me like the monster US agribusiness needs to export some wheat to Egypt (which is easily done).

At 3/15/2022 02:48:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

Since I have been travelling all over your place back in the 80's and 90's and also studying at the university (agricultural geography) I do have some confidence that the US (and Canadian) wheat producers will be able to compensate quite a large share of the Eastern European export volume. Infact I cannot imagine another agricultural region being able to react as swiftly. But that comes with a price tag that Egypt and other Northern African countries might not be able to afford. For political reasons bread in these countries is highly subsidized by their governments.

I know that your recent comments are about the US political landscape. But then I also read comments by American living-room policy strategists, who apparently have very little understanding of this conflicts' complexity. And while it always is consoling (yes, we need that!) and re-assuring to know that the US is a reliable ally when push comes to shove, it needed to be said that our traditional (European and American) schemes of categorizing aspects of this war, i.e. paralleling it with historical events (such as the appeasement policy of the 30's or the Balkan conflicts with their no-fly-zones in the 90's )will be of little help to get a grip on the situation, if we do not emphasize the fundamental differences between then and now.
And I am afraid that statements like "Living With War" or "Deja Vu" are not coming even close to describe, comment or reflect what we are witnessing here (if we open our eyes and prick up our ears, that is), because of the fundamental differences outlined above.

Sitting by the powder-keg if not on top of it, we recently developed a different attitude towards people who sit in front of their Fox-TV channels and have a pleasant smoke, babbling away of how they'd extinguish the fire.

Last week I attended a Fridays For Future peace demonstration (not a large one, maybe 3000 persons, the day before there were about 50 000 at another rallye) but the sense that we might have to severe energy ties to Russia is growing. The big question being whether we want to be part of a re-nuked Germany ("a bridge technology" the conservatives keep saying) or buy fracked product from the US (destroying the environment and indigenous peoples' livelihood there) or if we can muster the strength to go all-renewable as fast as we can. As always there will be a compromise, I guess.

At 3/15/2022 03:52:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dionys - totally get it.

Saying things like album/lyrics "Living With War" or "Deja Vu" do seem a bit trite w/ the glare of WW3 on the horizon.

a small but here.

for our audience of aging CSNY fans, these are loaded terms which carry huge meaning.

and the fundamental message that war is for profit at the expense of the people, is unchanged thru time ... WW1,2 3 or take your pick.

But as Davy & Bo say on the podcast, ultimately who gets impacted the most are The Families. Those widows and orphans left behind, lives destroyed.

so we salute CSNY for their long running commitment to the anti-war movement.

so has anyone heard of any new anti-war songs lately?

maybe if no one is singing on the subject, TPTB take it as a green light to move ahead.

Very excellent that you're out in the streets voicing your opposition,

over here, as far as we can tell, zero activity on the anti-war movement. correct us please

ps - if you or anyone can think of a better song, lyric or phrase to sum this up, pls share.

At 3/15/2022 05:21:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Dionys is clearly right about the global ecology. Isolationism is no longer possible even as a hoax.

At 3/15/2022 05:25:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole earth will become One Circle again.

– Crazy Horse

At 3/15/2022 05:58:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

Come you masters of war
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you sit back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
While the young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your country that good?
Will it hand out forgiveness
Do you think that it could?
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the power you have
Will never get back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death will come soon
I'll follow your casket
By the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

Original by Bob Dylan, slightly abreviated and altered to fit the times.

At 3/16/2022 07:02:00 AM, Blogger Minke said...

Interesting thoughts, @Dionys and @Abner. I always had the impression that Neil Young was kind of isolationist. I think it was Elliot Roberts who said this, through the pen of Jimmy McDonough. But perhaps that was only in his International(!) Harvesters/Reaganite period... Of course, politics, as everything, is emotions with NY, and his emotions are always turned inwards, and his mental map tends towards the heartlands.

At 3/16/2022 09:56:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dionys - yes, Dylan's Masters of War is about a perfect an anti-war song as you can get.

@ Minke - hmm, don't recall the Elliot / McDonough quote? but sure someone here can dig it up, quote and cite chapter & verse.

At 3/16/2022 03:44:00 PM, Blogger Minke said...

Jimmy McDonough, Shakey, Vintage edition 2003, p. 589, chapter 'A voice no one could recognize', reads: "'But Roberts was more than aware of the hawk side of Young’s makeup. “Neil is more American than anyone, even though he’s Canadian. The man is a foreigner. He thinks Reagan is too loose, okay? Japan and France and England—he thinks they’re all enemies and we should nuke everybody. Neil’s an isolationist. I mean, if it were up to him, we’d have no foreign aid, we’d talk to no one, we’d really deal with no one else—‘If they can’t cut it, fuck ’em.’ Neil is extreme. I don’t know where it comes from. One minute he’s a leftist Democrat, and the next minute he’s a conservative. You never know which Neil you’re dealing with.'"
Just Roberts talking. But well...

At 3/16/2022 04:12:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

If this is what Neil thought, he was bordering on incoherence or lunacy or both. Isolationism is irrational and foolish.

At 3/16/2022 05:12:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

I rather read these remarks by Elliot Roberts as a description of a man who at that time was overburdened with his mental load, having a gut reaction, that is: bull-shitting,(pardon my indecent wording for half-digested organic output). And like I said on other occasions I dearly hope that nobody holds against me, what exactly I said 40 years ago. (I was 17 and I needed the money...) Sure enough Neil Young's political horizon has widened since then. Maybe these extensive and successful tours on other continents since 1987 helped broaden the perspective. Sitting on a California ranch or on a isolated millionaire Hawaiian beach front property allows for some ideological inflexibility and rigid thought especially when you didn't "count on the Giants beating the Dodgers".

At 3/16/2022 06:21:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Welcome back welcome back it's not the Same THE SHADE IS JUST YOU BLINKING...

At 3/16/2022 07:59:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

"I don't know why old men have to keep starting new wars.
I don't know why history has to keep repeating itself.
Maybe the same reason I keep repeating myself"

~ Neil Young/Jones Beach on the Tieniman Square incident 1989.

(I think that's accurate, all from memory)

-and from the old war ravaged TV show M*A*S*H

Hawkeye: War isn’t Hell. War is war, and Hell is Hell.
And of the two, war is a lot worse.

Father Mulcahy: How do you figure that, Hawkeye?

Hawkeye: Easy, Father. Tell me, who goes to Hell?

Father Mulcahy: Sinners, I believe.

Hawkeye: Exactly. There are no innocent bystanders in Hell.
War is chock full of them — little kids, cripples, old ladies.
In fact, except for some of the brass, almost everybody
involved is an innocent bystander.

I'm living with war right now.


At 3/17/2022 11:19:00 AM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Dionys, distinguish between the beliefs and the cause of the beliefs. I was commenting on the beliefs. Perhaps you are right about the causality, I don't know.

At 3/17/2022 02:22:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

Today I see Neil Young to be an "anywhere person", a global citizen with roots and a history as opposed to his phase in the early 80s when he wanted or needed to be a "somewhere personality", strongly identifying with family as a value, trying to be more American than Americans themselves at the time, because his earlier history or reputation suddenly didn’t count anymore and he somehow felt that he had lost his roots with the Woodstock generation (Even though he already claimed before that he was “a million miles away from that helicopter day”, he still referenced the period as late as the RNS era).

Of course one has to distrust these simple dualisms, especially when applied long after the fact. But then I remember a video snippet in which Neil Young and archivist Joel Bernstein are discussing Crazy Horse and also the archives project (Or maybe I am mixing things up here? Please correct me if you know better). Anyway laughingly they repeat another of these BS statements: “Fuck the audience”.

Now, today there are very few rock’n’ roll acts who take their time to seriously and with great care communicate with their fans, almost on an individual level. (The Stones just announced a concert at the Munich Olympic Stadium on June 5, 2022. The city is flooded with their advertisement. I can’t imagine interacting with one of those guys more or less like in an E-Mail exchange).
With Neil Young I believe the positions taken most of the time before 2000 are more or less the loner’s take, the proverbial tricks of disaster. That has changed with the present incarnation of the archives.


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