Saturday, July 16, 2011
OSCILLATIONS: "The War is Over" by Phil Ochs
In an American (and global) mindset increasingly influenced and insulated by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, I Pods, and I Pads, the idea of thoughtful communication or real protest (at least here in America) seems to be a thing of the past. These networks and devices may give the illusion of community, but to what extent is a community built on lazy banalities, mindless sensationalism, self-pity, and illusional "friends" something of value? Before this explosion of "communication" there was protest, and the above song seems inconceivable in this climate of xenophobic mono-culture. It communicates its ideas clearly, and those anti-war sentiments would seem nearly treasonous in a present mired in conformity and military worship. Where are today's protests? This 1968 song (the military march arrangement on the TAPE FROM CALIFORNIA album is quite stirring and certainly preferred) is about loss on both sides of the Vietnam War, and could just as well be about the madness of our involvement in three conflicts in 2011. Horribly, the insanity of the times eventually caught up with Phil Ochs. He died by his own hand in 1976, another in a string of American tragedies.