I'm old and this type of story doesn't do a lot for me except age me even faster. Do I wince because it's one of my idols-of course. I return to Santayana's injunction and equation now that I'm on the receiving end of some higher math and read the news account of two twenty-somethings NOT knowing who Bob Dylan is/was.
And then I take a breath and remember our Patrick and Michelle are two twenty-somethings (I can be more precise than that as in this or this, but you get the idea) and realize that exhalation is a good thing (though not if you plan on seeking higher office, perhaps). In much the same way as I have little knowledge of and less appreciation for performers like Black Eyed Peas (I'm so unhip I thought there was a hyphen in the name; and now I'm trying to figure out if Will and Sam I Am are related) or No Doubt (the official state band of Missouri, by the way; I don't know if you knew that since I just made it up), there's been a generational changing of the guard, as is always the case, that has moved 'my' music to the back of the discount rack and shifted its broadcast location on the radio dial from "W-O-L-D" to that part of the frequency spectrum just above the police calls.
It's hard for me to remember that the kids in U2 are actually older than my daughter Michelle's cohort, who regard them as fossils. Huh? REM started touring at nearly the same time as my son Patrick started walking-but to me I can still hear the breezy nonchalant brilliance of songs like I Will Follow or It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) in other people's music to this very day.
And of course, old coot that I am, I'd argue none of that could've ever existed without Dylan or Lennon and McCartney (why does he get short shrift? Because he's still alive? Please-as one survivor to another, bravo, Sir! And well played) all of whom, when they were so much younger than that now, not only always carried ID but were asked for it by many of those my parents' age. And as excited as my generation's performers got over the chords they, and we, thought they had discovered, they were only building on the work of those who came before them, the (GASP!) older musicians that we had never heard of. I mean, Tabitha's right, who is the loneliest monk?
Rock and roll is, by nature, political-it's the music your parents love to hate. And it doesn't make any difference how I define rock and roll or how you define it, because each of us carries a dictionary and jukebox in her/his head (are there still juke boxes or are they another victim of progress? I hope not. I don't recall seeing any in a very long time, but I lead a quiet life) and at a moment's notice any of us could have pushed B 52 and bombed 'em with the blues.
So this old white guy is wandering around when a neighbor, God Bless 'em, calls the cops and the Law and Order Brigade puts the world right. Home Sweet Ocean Place Resort and Spa, bet Woody Guthrie never stayed, or got delivered, there in the back seat of a black and white. This Brave New World is, indeed an amazing place. If you're hungry from your hike, we've got all the fixin's in the kitchen--enjoy every sandwich.
"These are the days of miracle and wonder.
This is the long distance call.
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo/The way we look to us all.
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky.
These are the days of miracle and wonder, And don't cry, baby, don't cry, Don't cry."