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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Wow, talk about synchronicity.

    Last night, I had Alice's Restaurant running through my head and started wondering where the Arlo Guthrie of the current generation is. Protesting Viet Nam was such a huge part of the music business 30 years ago.

    Then I realized that there might be a modern counterpart - I hardly ever listen to any radio that could be called popular modern culture, just boring old CBC.

    • I've often wondered where the good counterculture/protest music is. I am not sure of the answer. We do not have a Guthrie (Arlo OR Woody!) or Dylan (well, his son, but he is hardly counterculture, though I dig his tunes).

      Every time I hear someone trying to reinvent protest music, it sounds so trite, forced, and insignificant. Nothing like The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, let alone The Times They Are A-Changing.

      There are likely many reasons why. One obvious reason is that counterculture has become a significant part of mainstream culture, such that the distinction is often without a difference.

      Then, of course, there is the ClearChannel phenomenon, which doesn't let you hear the interesting music out there. I used to think most new music sucked, until I started looking in places other than the radio and MTV. (Cue Tom Petty's The Last DJ.)

      But I also wonder if the issues facing us today aren't of a different nature such that writing songs about it is more difficult. Most things are not as black and white now as, say, segregation of the 60s. And even if you think they are, fewer people will agree with you than would have back then, resulting in being heard less, and perhaps in you trying to make your point more forcefully, which might weaken it along the way ...

      I have a lot of jumbled thoughts about this that I've been mulling over for years, but I think the bottom line is that the times they DID a-change. :-)