Sunday, October 11, 2009

Grown Tired

There's a scene in the documentary "No Direction Home: Bob Dylan" when Joan Baez is singing her protest songs to a gathering of university-aged kids, all of them sitting cross-legged on ground looking up, singing along with her. Baez is young and not rich, as artists probably should be. The crowd is young and emotional, as crowds probably should be. And there is no service charge been taxed on any of it, as there duh-blatantly well never should be.

I want to clarify: I never wanted to be at Woodstock. Not a big crowd lover, I probably would have hated Woodstock or the folk festival at Newport or the espresso beat rush of any of it. And truth told I probably would have found hippies pretentious even if I did once have, love and over-wear a purple tie-dyed Hendrix t-shirt in high school (though "Purple Haze" never did a thing for me).

And yet I catch that glimpse of a moment and it is this young man in thick dark glasses (like my father used to wear) sitting near the mike, near Baez, and he is singing along with her, looking up at her, singing back at her like as if, if he could just be heard that racism could end, that war could end. Singing this most earnest song. This song of hope, of anger, of change in the air. And all I can think watching this is: how much longer do we - us, our gym generation - have to be ironic sarcastic dry and clever and above everything that's happening to us. When can sincerity become cool again. I'm waiting for that, cross-leggged in my thick dark glasses. Saying please. Please can we just have passion for things we care about.

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