A Dog Who's Lost Its Bite

November 19, 2017

I ran into Paul Simon - Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard this weekend and I have been thinking about it non-stop. Paul Simon and Big Daddy Kane (and to a lesser extent, Biz Markie) are musical icons for me, people who were Very Important at different times in my life and people who I hold dear, to the point I spent the bulk of that video's runtime this weekend arguing Paul Simon is an artist on a par with Yeats. YMMV.

I had no idea it existed. No idea a Paul Simon song from the '70s had been gifted a video in the '90s, no idea why it opens with two future hip hop icons but it's so Paul Simon to be miles ahead; game recognizing game and all that.

But. (Man, I wish I could write that "Oh" that Wordsworth wrote except maybe on the other hand no I don't) But what if Paul Simon and Biz and Big Daddy isn't a thing that will ever happen again? What if that meeting of old New York Jewish guy superstar and up-and-coming rappers represents the high point of racial harmony in the US? Do the Right Thing was on TV last night and between the two I've been thinking what if the freedom to be ok with each other enough in the horrible, Zubaz-clad '90s represents the best America will ever be at talking about race? Because much as I grouse about the fake brave and phony tough "patriots" in this country, I think humanity is something we do better than most. Feel free to take a quick survey of the state of Europe and then argue. What if everything is downhill from here and we just take the easy way out and blame foreigners, gays, gypsies, Jews and every other false boogeyman from before WWII?

I know things weren't great in the '90s and I know Big Daddy Kane breaking bread with Paul Simon isn't some miracle. But what would it look like today? We don't really have musical icons or even icons . . . Paul Simon would be, Eddie Vedder or someone. And we don't really have a burgeoning new musical genre (or maybe we do, I am old now and wouldn't know), but even if there is one, the two stars would either be political opposites who wouldn't be interested in trying or they'd be so similar to be totally boring or (most likely by far) they'd be brought together by whichever brand they both endorse and pretend to find each other totally fascinating. Man, all that dystopian sci-fi got real so fast.

I guess what I am trying to say, if you will pardon me and lean in for a second so I can whisper real close, is Fuck This and Fuck That and Fuck Anyone Who Thinks Like That.

Previously: Bananas: A Play in One Act | All Posts
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