Last updated on April 9, 2016
The prompt was to put your playlist on shuffle and then write about what comes to mind when you hit the first three songs. I don’t have a shuffle list, as such, so I just queued up my current favorite Pandora station.
- “Suffragette City” by David Bowie, from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust (Remastered)
- “My, My, Hey, Hey (Out of the Blue)” by Neil Young, from Rust Never Sleeps
- “The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix , from Are You Experienced?
The first thing that came to mind was, wow, do I even listen to music made in this century? The answer is, yes, I do, but just not today.
The next thing I thought of was how politically charged the music is that I truly enjoy, even if it’s not directly so. Social issues abound in almost all of my stations. This one in particular has a lot of reactionary 60s and 70s music, nudging a little bit into the 80s.
And that made me think of how important it is to me that the features in my life – even mobile games or music or movies – have some kind of important commentary. Sure, I occasionally enjoy the “bubble gum” properties, but even Sharknado was trying to have a say about environmental concerns. If I can’t think of anything powerful or thoughtful when a show, book, story, song, or movie is done, it greatly detracts from my enjoyment of it.
For instance, I know you’ve heard me talk about monster movies in general. Each monster in our modern fiction lexicon represents a different archetype that impacts our lives in some way. Zombies represent an “other-ness”, feeling separated from the majority, often relating directly to consumerism (thank you, George Romero), and feeling like conformity is equal to death. In a different sense, it also represents a nihilistic view of life as a whole and a loss of redemption. Are reanimated corpses without souls? Are the souls trapped in a decaying vessel, never to be released into whatever version of afterlife they believed they’d be visiting? Death is no longer a sweet release and the Long Rest, it is the inevitable ongoing tragedy of consumption at the expense of others.
Vampires represent a vital sexuality, forbidden lusts (often homoerotic). Werewolves beg us to shuffle off the civilized veneer and allow our inner savages to run amok. Mummies and other immortals threaten our final rest and shot at redemption. Rage viruses strip us of our self-control and give voice to our inner fury at injustice. The list goes on.