Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Come Back to the Five-and-Dime, Johnny Rotten, Johnny Rotten

By the post title I’m not suggesting we get together every year at a five-and-dime to reminisce about Johnny Rotten and divulge personal secrets to one another. My point is if there ever was a time to revive the spirit of punk music among youths it would be now. Seriously, when has there been a more bleak time in recent memory than now, especially for youths? Johnny Rotten snarl-sang, “There’s no future, no future, no future for you!” back in 1977. Sure, the 70s sucked, with the US and most of the developed world facing high unemployment and high inflation. Young adults had a hard time making a decent living. The future looked bleak. But that period turned out to be a cakewalk compared to what’s happening now. Eventually we emerged from the stagflation of the 70s. Times got good enough that the punks of yore, such as Johnny Rotten/Lydon and the Clash, turned their anger and energy into dance music. I’ve got no problem with that.

I do have a problem with the silence I hear from the generation that’s truly getting shafted. When I think about the hardships young adults face today, (1) I feel so fortunate not to be a part of this generation and (2) I think if I were part of this generation I’d be blowing shit up. Think about how expensive a college education is these days, about the amount of student loans the average college graduate is saddled with, about the jobs that aren’t there to pay off the student loans, about the social security that won't be there for retirement, and about the politicians and corporations that really don’t give a shit. And if you don’t go to college or don’t finish college, you’re even worse off. You’re job, if you can find one, will suck even more than the sucky job the college grad gets. “There’s no future, no future, no future for you!” It actually sounds true this time around.

Yet, yet, I hear no songs of protest (except perhaps from oldsters like Springsteen and Neil Young). Where is the voice of this generation howling at the injustice? Where have you gone, Johnny Rotten? This nation turns its weary eyes to you.

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