Why Politics Rocks
December 7, 2008 2 Comments
Caught some documentary on heavy metal while channel-flipping and DVR’ed it for later. Turned out to be underwhelming but there was one interesting insight, regarding why a certain stripe of metal so often indulges in grisly, violent imagery: because kids today tend to have little real experience of death. So, understandably enough I suppose, they crave to explore the thing that is a mystery and is sheltered from them, even if (especially?) what they get is cartoonish and juvenile.
I think the same principle applies in many areas, and it’s not just teen metalheads who indulge in escapist fantasy to explore in ‘safe’ form a reality of life that they’re sheltered from. At times it seems our entire political system has devolved into an escapist fantasy for sheltered adults, one giant garish ’70s album cover stuffed with simplistic, puerile, self-parody images – cartoon black and white hands shaking, a flower shoved into the barrel of a gun, bombs on a conveyor belt going into a machine and coming out as electric cars on the other end, a Scrooge-like rich guy crying over in the corner at the error of his ways, a beautiful interracial orgy, etc.
Heck, this is basically what ‘socialist realist’ art was, right? ’70s-style album covers, but for socialists, and without the music (usually).
Anyway, if what metalheads need is a dose of healthy familiarity with the realities of such things as death and grownup relationships, then I can think of a few aspects of reality I’d like to refamiliarize the modern sheltered upper-middle-class socialist with as well. Being victimized by crime, for example. Working at a job in an actual business (as opposed to something that ultimately traces in one way or another to a made-up government project and wouldn’t actually exist if not for government). Living amongst people who are culturally unlike them (and who don’t particularly like them), and I don’t mean people who are merely ‘diverse’ but have the exact same opinions, and lifestyle as they do.
Indeed, from what I’ve observed, even the act of conversing (civilly) with people whose opinions differ from theirs in fundamental ways seems to be absent from the life experiences of today’s s.u.m.c.s.’s.
So just as a teenage headbanger’s curiosity about subjects such as death is mediated through, say, a Slayer album, perhaps today’s political junkies (including myself) act out their own ignorance of civility by indulging in the escapist soap opera that we call modern politics. After all, when you boil it down, there’s not a huge difference between the amount of substance that went into this….
Actually what am I saying. The Cannibal Corpse cover is far more substantive and intellectually stimulating.