Maybe my generation missed out on all the good stuff. Then again, maybe not.
On the way home from the movies tonight, as I drove along an empty highway lit by the sunset behind me, my .mp3 player was knocking out some Doors, and it inevitably came across “Five to One,” which isn’t one of their more well-known songs… I hadn’t heard it until I bought the box set. Before two minutes of the song had passed, Jim Morrison started spouting off:
You’re all a bunch of f***ing idiots!
Lettin’ people tell you what you’re gonna do; lettin’ people push you around.
How long do you think it’s gonna last?
How long are you gonna let it go on?
How long are you gonna let ‘em push you around?
Maybe you like it.
Maybe you like being pushed around.
Maybe you love it.
Maybe you love gettin’ your face stuck in the s***.
Come on, you love it, don’t you?
You love it.
You’re all a bunch of slaves, lettin’ everybody push you around.
What are you gonna do about it?
…What are you gonna do?
This is the kind of thing he (and others like him) were always saying, and the fans took it to mean they were trying to start a revolution… Or else the musical geniuses of the time were just going along with “The Revolution” that was already happening. My hippie history teacher in high school told me all about it; she had been a proud participant in this so-called revolution. Of course, I don’t know… I wasn’t born until after it was all over.
But seems like it never happened. Looking around, the world that Morrison complained of is still here, only to a greater degree, more polished, more powerful than ever. The people who stood chanting and screaming in those music houses all grew up. Some of them overdosed on drugs, or went to prison, but the vast majority of them just went on with their lives. They went to college, got degrees, became lawyers, teachers, doctors, plumbers, or President of the United States. They became “the system” that they had supposedly rebelled against. Oh, some of them are still around, and believe they made a difference. And maybe they did. But no one that was born later, who reads history, can tell that there was a difference. Because so many of those so-called “revolutionaries” are now “The Man” for whom they held so much hatred. And generation after generation of idealist young people tries to restart that revolution.
Not mine, though. Most of us just (Gen X) just screwed around. Now, we’re part of the system too. And the teens today are finding their own paths toward joining the system, whether they like it or not.
But all of this is moot, if you listen to the entire seven-minute song. At the end, Morrison explains himself:
I’m not talkin’ about no revolution,
I’m not talkin’ about no demonstration,
I’m not talking about gettin’ out in the streets.
I’m talkin’ about having some fun
I’m talkin’ about dancing
I’m talkin’ about “love your neighbor,” till it hurts
I’m talkin’ about grab your friend.
I’m talkin’ about love
I’m talkin’ about some love.
Sounds like a good idea.