If the world of pop music is endangered, then our system of finance and government is on life support.
It is Memorial Day, a day we need to seriously acknowledge the sacrifices made to keep our freedoms in tact and yet just now Congress is working to make our National Parks open to corporate sponsorship. Great. “Yosemite, Sponsored by Geico” is just what I was hoping to see next time I go the the park in order to get away from…Geico commercials.
I mean, it is bad enough that when the US Government evicted the Ahwahnechee tribe from the park when Theodore Roosevelt and Congress made Yosemite government protected land in 1903 (the park moved under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service in 1916). The Ahwahnechee had only lived in the valley for what some estimate as 7,000 years, basing their life cycles, religion, and culture around the seasons in what they considered a sacred place. But, what the fuck: the government evicted the tribe, and relocated them to Florida.
That is a terrible legacy, but the real problem is our culture is so focused on who has the most money and what said funds can buy that we have sold our soul accordingly. Don’t want to wait in the TSA line? Pay to get pre-check. Wanna drive in the carpool lane alone? Pay extra to the government and you can in some states.
Both these examples might seem silly, and even benign, but in a country where ostensibly “all men are created equal,” the very statement suggests we are all content to wait our turn in the lines of life.
Impatient, money grubbing, and confusing financial success and power with competence and the ability to actually structure and order our society in a manner that does give everyone an equal shot are the rule, and if you doubt that, try explaining Donald Trump.
In contemplating this sorry state of affairs, all I could think of was the Brains fantastic song Money Changes Everything, and I went to YouTube in search of a version by the band, but what I really liked is this great live cover by Cyndi Lauper of the song that does indeed appear on her wonderful album She’s So Unusual.
Backed by another band I dig, The Hooters–who scored a hit during the same time frame with And We Danced–Lauper does indeed deliver a tour de force performance. I wish her passion could be channeled to the rest of the country so we would fucking wake up and recognize, money does change everything, and not necessarily for the better. (BTW, check out Lauper’s kicks: one white Chuck Taylor with black laces, and a Black one with white laces. Brilliant.)