By Hans Ebert
Some of you might remember listening to “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Yes, it was back in the day, but those sentiments probably apply more to today than before. And that’s because everything points to us having done a pretty crappy job of teaching our children. Either that or we’ve done a bloody terrible job of teaching ourselves right from wrong and which horses to back and which ones are non-starters.
It’s pointless to list the daily horrors that are taking place. It would be too convenient to blame these senseless acts of violence on terrorists. The more terrifying thing might be to look inwards and over the garden wall and see that it’s not all white picket fences and Father Knows Best, but the secret and silent enemy within and in our midst. We’re on a constant rerun of “Criminal Minds”. What was too distressing and violent a series to watch on television has now become part of the daily news. It’s all become part of daily life- brother against brother, hashtags as to what lives matter most, and a morbid circus and commentary of violence.
Growing up and reading Victor Bugliosi’s fascinating, but deeply disturbing “Helter Skelter” about the Manson family, their links to the doomed Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, and the revenge Charles Manson wished to wreak upon the group’s producer Terry Melcher for broken promises, showed drug fuelled weak minds being controlled and manipulated by the devil incarnate.
But what was then a horrific one-off act of revenge and terror has spread into global terrorism, and an America- and world- under siege and out of control. What happened to “Teach Your Children”? During all that peace and love, and Woodstock, did the bogey man join the choir and fool us all? Are we seeing The Omen become the nightmare that was once only a movie along with “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Exorcist”?
Those films were about good versus evil and The Devil In Miss Jones and Giorgina Spelvin. But while Lennon sang about “Imagine no religion” and how “it’s easy if you try”, religion, give Peace a chance and Power To The People have become everything none of any of this was ever meant to be. We were all dreamers. And every one of these dreams have been shattered. The feeling of being letdown, duped is everywhere.
What’s gone wrong? Why’s everything so suddenly so horribly off-kilter? If reduced to the basics, it’s probably everything to do with losing sight of one’s priorities, which means a cracked moral compass. What leads us today? Social media? A warped sense of entitlement? Wanting everything without putting any effort into anything?
Recently, I have come across different types of musicians- some extremely talented, others just hitching a ride and hoping for the best. What’s becoming more and more clear is that these people have no drive. The lack of ambition is appalling. There’s absolutely no interest in being better at their craft. They feel they know better and think they know it all. They know nothing. It’s all about disingenuous interest in what’s being said. It’s false friendships and selective memory recall. It’s about using and abusing until the con is exposed and serial vindictiveness rises to the top again. Drop kick these losers. Many are slugs slithering through life by conning themselves that they’re going places. Where are these places?
One can use this rule of thumb to so many in every other industry and business. Thunderclap Newman once sang about there being something in the air. Positivity. Change for the better as opposed to chump change.
Today, this positivity has been replaced by lethargy and expecting things to just happen. And when they don’t, all hell breaks loose along with madness and a combination of anger, frustration and isolation.
No, we have done a lousy job of teaching our children- and ourselves. We have picked up strays and losers and bad habits. We have forgotten that we’re not only judged by the company we keep, but also how this company can often be bad for the soul. As MC5 once sang, Kick Out The Jams and realise that we need to get back to the garden and re-learn everything we have forgotten to remember and respect. Starting with ourselves.