This is just a wonderfully marvelous song released three weeks ago by one of my favorite female artists. I particularly like the line “climbing behind a fierce concern” and the way the word “change” appears. I like her micro/macro sensibility, not sure if we all are ‘1000 points of light’ or bugs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va0w5pxFkAM

In my utopia Patti Smith, Natalie Merchant, and PJ Harvey would play a show together and I would go with a gaggle of buddies and then we would all go back to Patty’s place for tapas and red wine.

I had the privilege to be one of 50 people in a room with Patti Smith a few months ago as she read from her new memoir that received the National Book Award in 2010; she even played a few acoustic songs. When we spoke before her formal reading, we talked about her voice, representing so many people’s feelings, and how profound it is that she is infiltrating the mainstream. Most know her in the progressive/alternative music scene, but Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and National Book Award makes her mainstream now, and this is a remarkable feat of “cultural shift.” She did this by being a good storyteller, a great writer, and working every day. She has inspired me to write; which seems like a healthy progression from my college days of listening to Horses with almost an obsessive capacity (with Jenna Jones!).

At this reading a few months ago, she said many interesting and profound things, but one of the most telling was that she was pretty sure credit cards were going to cause the downfall of a nation. She said, “Credit cards were the worst possible invention; the most terrible thing to happen to American youth.” She felt being hungry and “wanting things that you can’t have” makes drive. Having everything that you need with a swipe, enables apathy and inaction.

I understand escapism. I understand wanting to retreat from activism and watch Raising Hope and “sick your head in the sand.” I live where I live to shut out large amounts of “cultural noise” on purpose. Calculated. I adore Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) an American author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist. “He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.” There have been strong anti-intellectual trends that have been currents in America since the early 1800s. Americans did not want gigantic systems governing them (that’s why they left Europe right?). They wanted good transparent local representation. Representation. They wanted good representation. So politics, like good art, wants good representation. And Thoreau reminds me how much good art and good politics are interwoven for fulfillment.

Advertisements