The Stroumboulopouli

The Stroumboulopouli

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

If you could blow up the world with the flick of a switch, would you do it?

That, of course, is the question asked in the first line of the Flaming Lips song, The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, and it's a concept that Wayne Coyne talked passionately about during his interview with The Hour last season.

The day following the fifth anniversary of September 11 attacks is the perfect time, in my mind, to revisit this interview. Many questions were raised yesterday, across the blogosphere and at dinner tables, in the newspapers and in front of the water cooler, about the nature of world relations, about the expectations we have of our governments, about the role that we personally play in shaping the world.

Wayne Coyne's pleas for people to exercise patience as a means of protest, for people to take a radical stand simply by being measured and reasonable in their actions, and for people to question their government's motives, is far from what you normally hear coming from the lips (flaming or not) of a rock frontman.

Most of us live the most comfortable lives that have ever been lived in the history of the planet. So says Wayne Coyne in this interview, and he is quite right. And as the events of five years past proved, we cannot take that luxury lightly.

And we must always ask questions.

If you could blow up the world with the flick of a switch
Would you do it?
If you could make everybody poor just so you could be rich
Would you do it?
If you could watch everybody work while you just lay on your back
Would you do it?
If you could take all the love without giving any back
Would you do it?
And so we cannot know ourselves or what we'd really do...
-
With all your power
With all your power
With all your power
What would you do?
-
If you could make your own money and then give it to everybody
Would you do it?
If you knew all the answers and could give it to the masses
Would you do it?
No No No No No No Are you crazy?
It's a very dangerous thing to do exactly what you want...
Because you cannot know yourself or what you'd really do...
-
With all your power
With all your power
With all your power
What would you do?
The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song - the Flaming Lips



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Barbara B

6 comments:

Barbara said...

I spent a lot of time reading many 911 rememberance posts yesterday and today. I was very moved by all the posts. If not but for the grace of God go I, or we, or people we know...
I first heard about that song on The Hour and it's now on one of my fav. mix CDs. It's a very smart political song, catchy too.

Yes Barbara B. we forget to count our blessings and share the blessings we have with others.
Good post and a timely reminder.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thank you Barbara W. I'm grateful for people like Wayne Coyne, and many others, who make us take stock of our actions and our expectations of others. That is indeed one very smart, political and catchy pop song.

loring said...

You've gotta wonder what it is that's in an artist or a musician that gives them the power to inspire. Because whatever they have, is lacking in our world leaders today. Is it imagination? Is it desire? Is it a sense of having nothing to lose and everything to gain?

If only we can find a way to take what's in art, and sort of transplant it into a politician. You know, something like "The Matrix" where they put a spike in the back of your head and download inspiration, ha ha.

Ben said...

There's an argument for the following which I almost aspire too but then I'm a simplistic fool.

1. That there is no country.

2. That there is no religion.

3. That the world is run by a woman.
How many world wide crises would we avoid if we even just ran with one of these points.

Jas Bhambra said...

Excellent post, Barb. We sure need to count our blessings, as here in N. America, people live far more luxurious and protected lives. I remember growing up in troubled Punjab, with lot of extremism, terror...curfews...with innocent lives being taken away...police atrocities etc...and all because of the political rivalry and agression b/w the powers at the federal and the state level, and religion being one of the factors...the sad part is that people who get affected are the ones who have nothimg to do with it, who are just worried about making both ends meet and put some food on the table for their families....

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Those are good questions Loring. I think artists such as musicians may have the power to inspire more than world leaders do, simply because they have no obvious ulterior motive. They have no armies of spin doctors, whom we are all getting a little tired of hearing from.
Songwriters in particular are also by nature wordsmiths, and have the power to chose the right words to evoke the responses they want. Presumably speech writers are as well, but we no longer believe the talking heads who are spouting their words.
As for downloading the power to inspire into a politician, while I think you may be onto something, personally I'd rather see us download empathy, reason, and restraint.

Hi Ben, how nice to see you over here - welcome!
No country and no religion... While we are building this Utopia, perhaps we can also add no need for oil.
But as for the notion of having women exclusively run the world, I see some problems. While men tend to wage physical warfare, women generally tend to wage psychological warfare, so while we would likely see a decrease in bloodshed and mayhem, we would concurrently see an increase in therapy bills and eating disorders.

Yes, Jas, as you say, we continue to be insulated in North America, despite the occasional change of alert colours. The pursuit of power is a very dangerous thing, and it affects those much farther down the foodchain than the ones actually making the bids for that power.