Monday, June 25, 2012

That Obscure Object of Desire

Writing about seeing The Lords of Acid in Detroit reminds me of a perfect example of what, in 1964, Richard Hofstadter characterized as "the paranoid style in American politics" -- and culture.

Forget the Tea Party for a moment and set your clocks back to 1966. Take a look around at the John Birch Society, the Christian Crusade and similar organizations.

Pick up a book by David A. Noebel called Rhythm, Riots and Revolutions: An Analysis of the Communist Use of Music – The Communist Master Music Plan (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Christian Crusade Publications, 1966).

Flip through the book, stop at page 89:

"Rock'n'roll, with its perverted music form, dulls the capacity for attention and creates a kind of hypnotic monotony whch blurs and makes unreal the external world."

Press on:

"'Rock 'n' roll treats the concept of love with a characteristic doubleness. The lyrics generally capitulate to the concept, but the music itself expresses the unspoken desire to smash it to pieces and run amok'" (pages 89-90).

The horror!

And finally, for now:

One can scarcely conceive of the possibility, but nevertheless the method exists, wherein the enemies of our Republic could actually use television and the Beatles (or some other rock'n'roll or even rock'n'folk group) to place thousands upon thousands of our teenagers into a frenzied, hypnotic state and send them forth into the streets to riot and revolt . . . The Beatles, Animals or the Mindbenders, for example, need only mass-hypnotize thousands of American youth, condition their emotions through the beat of their "music" and then have someone give the word for riot and revolt. Watts and its "Burn, baby, burn" would fade into insignificance (page 91).

My reality check question for nearly fifty years later is this: How did we go from Burn, baby, burn to Drill, baby, drill?

Today's Rune: Signals.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Yeah, we sometimes forget that there's really nothing new under the sun, especially where politics are concerned.