Are we actually, already living the dystopia?
Mother do you think they’ll drop the bomb?
Mother do you think they’ll like this song?
Mother do you think they’ll try to break my balls?
Mother should I build a wall?
Mother should I run for President?
Mother should I trust the government?
Mother will they put me in the firing line?
Is it just a waste of time?
Hush now baby, baby, don’t you cry
Momma’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true
Momma’s gonna put all of her fears into you
Momma’s gonna keep you right here under her wing
She won’t let you fly but she might let you sing
Momma will keep Baby cozy and warm
Oooo Babe Oooo Babe Ooo Babe
Of course Momma’s gonna help build the wall
Mother do you think she’s good enough
Mother do you think she’s dangerous
Mother will she tear your little boy apart?
Mother will she break my heart?
Hush now baby, baby, don’t you cry
Momma’s gonna check out all your girlfriends for you
Momma won’t let anyone dirty get through
Momma’s gonna wait up until you get in
Momma will always find out where you’ve been
Momma’s gonna keep Baby healthy and clean
Oooo Babe Oooo Babe Ooo Babe
You’ll always be Baby to me
Mother did it need to be so high?
One particular way in which we differ from the rest of the animal kingdom is that we can’t get over the idea of mother, nor dependance on her. So far as I know, that’s completely foreign to all other animals that must learn to kill for and thrive themselves and not count on mommy to do it.
Yea; I know. You left home. You got an education and a job, started your own family…and mother for most well adjusted folks is that special person to whom you give a card & flowers once a year, speak with on the phone often…and, oh yea: now she’s your Facebook friend. If you have a blog, perhaps she reads it and learns way more about you than you’re comfortable with.
I’m not sure how much of those lyrics were literal for Roger Waters, but no matter. In the context of The Wall, they’re clearly metaphorical to me, as is the whole of the opera. Add to that the video play and illustrative imagery of the film, and it’s a cornucopia of integrated meaning in intersecting contexts far & wide.
So while the well adjusted and mature among us pat ourselves on the back for our independence from the umbilical cord writ over 18 years (well, mid-20s, nowadays; if that), the reality is that we’ve taken “social animal” to heights of absurdity in an evolutionary context, where we could brave an ice age on the figurative backs of a few dozen others.
Now, survival requires guaranteed prosperity, a “living” wage, equal opportunity, affirmative discrimination, occupational health, safety and pacifiers, equal pay for equal work, making damn sure every last wage earner rises past their own level of incompetence, and never having to suffer being dissed.
But absurdity reaches new heights, sometimes. I suppose it’s healthy to push boundaries, but even if those boundaries constitute an almost literal return to dependent infancy?
Yea, I’m having a hard time reconciling the Occupy Wall Street spectacle, and derivatives (now there’s a clever reference). And yea, no doubt inadvertent exposure to this morass of mostly incoherent, ignorant and whinny balderdash is base motivation for this post. But really, it’s truly a life-is-stranger-than-fiction moment for me and no, you certainly couldn’t make this stuff up. Here’s an LA School District employee who wants to round up all the “Zionists.” Reason TV was at OWS and when they could even get a question answered in a passably coherent manner, it was still bullshit most of the time. This little mommy’s boy wants you to “throw him a bone” and pay for his tuition (I guess his real mommy has had enough). For those who like Howard Stern, his treatment is brutal, typical, deliciously devastating. And to really wrap it up: Michael Coren & Charles Cook: Most Occupy Wall St. Protesters Are Morons.
I think there’s a root problem here that goes beyond a simple lazy, incompetent, moron paradigm. Unreasonable Expectations. And I think mass social media feeds it. There’s no such thing as isolation, anymore; and moreover, everybody wants to know everybody’s business and everybody wants everyone to know there’s. Tired of seeing your Facebook friends and Tweeps doing things in a constant stream you can only hope for? Occupy Wall Street. Or maybe not. I would expect to be told that this train left the station a long time ago. The New Deal? Well, OK, but the premises for the notion that everyone really could live at the expense of everyone else had to have been set in place long before.
So let’s hear the song, then I’ll have a bit more to say. This is from 1980, live; and as an aside, I was surprised to see how pudgy David Gilmour was already, given his Brad Pitt-esque looks in the Echoes and other recordings for the Pompeii video (which I own and it’s fantastic).
I’m going to do another version just because I can’t get enough of it. This is Sinead O’Conner with Roger Waters a few years back. Get a load of it, with an accordion, even, and some unusual backup singers. Pure gold. I’ve always loved Sinead. Have owned her first two albums from day one. And I love her buzz cut. She has what I might describe as a “meta-vissage” for a human white woman. Simply no need to hide or detract from that pure, natural, simple beauty with a head of hair.
There’s an element, at least, to the Morons on Wall Street that’s transcendent, which is simply that they’ll individually, in myriad ways, transcend. More than a few will face financial and social costs for their time away from productive living that overshadows any sense of beef or even consequences they have with “the system” right now.
Young, dumb, and idealistic. That’s not all bad. People learn, they change, they educate. And so in the end, the Wall Street crowd is harmless. They might even become endearing. What they don’t understand is that the source of their perceived ills is not really the government or its mega-corporate bedfellows, but their neighbors who live in fear and trepidation of potentially not having the everyone-pays-my-way option, and that everyone’s desire to live at the expense of everyone else if it should come to that is at the root of everything they’re complaining about.
Misguided, but hold onto that sense of idealism, moron and ignorant as it is. It can be channeled elsewhere, eventually. Hopefully.
Making pains to not be misunderstood, I agree the system is corrupt beyond repair. Difference is, I think reform is rather hopeless, at least in my lifetime. And so rather than agitate on some basis of collective action, I choose to motivate and hopefully inspire: one mind at a time. Every single person has the ability to begin the process of curtailing and eventually eliminating their dependence on a mass collective of mutual servitude today. And I know that hundreds, if not thousands, of my readers are already on track for that.
In the end, the message of The Wall is: No! “Mother did it need to be so high?” The Wall is a metaphor for isolation, alienation, separation, self-protection. It didn’t need to be so high: alienation and isolation breed more of the same.
No, you needn’t and shouldn’t “build a wall.” What you can do is build a micro community where you live and with the people most important to you. If you work at it, you just may discover that you have a “safety net” after all.
It’s nothing like Mother.