Home » People & Culture » For What It’s Worth

For What It’s Worth

It’s been a bad week.  The Gulf of Mexico is being poisoned on a scale almost unimaginable, the cradle of Western Civilization, Greece, threatened to bring it all down, and we have dogs and cats planning to live together – no, wait, that’s Tories and Liberal Democrats.  On a rainy May morning that might freeze over into snow, I have only one thing running through my head:

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I’ve got to beware

Think it’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

I’m not one for running my life according to song lyrics, unless you count most of Jimmy Buffett’s seminal album “Changes in Lattitudes, Changes in Attitudes”.  But at some point, doesn’t it become clear that the 24 hour nooze ticker is not painting a picture of a life we want to have?

There’s battle lines being drawn again
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong again
Young people speaking their minds once again
So much resistance from behind

Think it’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

The song is “For What It’s Worth” by Steven Stills.  It was written to describe the turmoil that added up to the late 1960s, a time when the whole world became unglued.  I had yet to set foot at Coral Reef Elementary School then, but when I did there was a feeling that was drilled into me by songs like this that has never left:  it’s my generation’s task to somehow glue everything back together.  But in our bizzy bizzy lives we haven’t quite gotten around to it, have we?

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people standing in the street
Singing songs and carrying the signs, oh no
They mostly say “hooray for our side”

We’ve got to stop
Hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

At some point, the song lyrics take over from a voice in the back of my head.  Maybe it’s a kind of conscience, perhaps just a fantasy, or even just a lost innocence looking crying out for one more stolen moment.  But I can’t help but think that in a world where characters and character are defined by these stolen moments at some point a decent people have to steal back all of their lives while there’s still a life left to steal.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step outta line the men come and shoot you down

Think it’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound
Hey, hey, hey we’ve got to stop and take a look around
No, no, yeah stop, hey, what’s that sound hey, hey, hey
We’ve got to stop and take a look around

What are we all so afraid of that we have to keep our minds and fingers bizzy all the time?

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9 thoughts on “For What It’s Worth

  1. This was cool if a little bit unsettling. Good work running a song lyric throughout a piece.

  2. Thanks! But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that writing something down is the only way I can get it out of my head.

    It’s supposed to be unsettling – this really has been one Hell of a week. And it might not get any better. One problem with writing ahead of time on news stories that I know will eventually hit the headlines, such as the Greek situation, is that when they do hit there’s little more to say.

    Well, I think Steven Stills said it pretty well. That’s what the little voice keeps telling me, at least. If I’m going to have it running through my head, the least I can do is pass it on to you by running it through a post. 🙂

  3. You have the most dense and deep blog out there. I think that’s something to be proud of. I know I won’t get this song out of my head today.

    It’s time we stop, that’s for sure.

  4. You’ve talked about this before, and I can not help but think that you are right when you say that we are afraid of actually stopping long enough to think. I hope you can get people to do it no matter how hard it is. Excellent post even if you have said a lot of this before. Good to get it into people’s heads. & maybe they won’t be as afraid.

  5. Thanks, everyone. One of the things I try to do is build my arguments gradually. It’s really old fashioned, as in millennia old. But I do think it’s essential to state the case clearly before you boil it down.

  6. Not to be too alarmist but what if we are ” yesterday’s grandchildren” as Scott McKibben recently wrote regarding enviromental tipping points? And off topic what do you think of a 1997 Geo Metro hatchback for $800 has rust but is one one the most fuel effecient cars of all time, 3rd generration 1996< has improved safety (ie better cage and two airbags) by the way how do you tell if airbags still viable is there a computer code,

  7. Dan, I always say that because we have a history of progress, whenever we look back in time we can’t help but catch the cold, hard stare of our ancestors looking forward at us, wondering what we’re doing. We are yesterday’s grandchildren, living off of the inheritance, good and bad, that came before us. How they defined “progress” and how we define it is the one thing that separates us.

    Hey, when I had a car of my own it tended to be a Ford Escort for about that much money. I love the fuel efficient cars of the mid 90s. We were doing a lot of things right for a short while, but somehow got lost.

  8. Thanks for the reply. I do remember an article about streetside repair somethin about pliers, fuel, spark and air. Geo/Suzikis were /are very reliable.

  9. Pingback: The Gulf of Life « Barataria – the work of Erik Hare

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