Monday, August 23, 2010
Day 235: John Denver's Glasses...
Hot today in the Napa Valley. A walk in downtown St. Helena to do some errands.
I've been thinking about John Denver lately. Mainly because I've been listening to too much pop music. Kylie has reached the age where listening to my old John Denver CD's is no longer cool. So now we listen to the pop music radio stations...much of it techno/rapp Crap. The same six or seven songs played ad nauseum, with lyrics like: "I want to be a billionaire, so frickin' bad."
What strikes me about pop music nowadays is just how urban and materialistic it has become. I grew up in the happy 70's when songs about wilderness and campfires dominated the airwaves. We all had those hiking boots and those John Denver vests. And those double John granny glasses: John Denver and John Lennon. Wilderness was a theme. John Denver sang about it; James Taylor; Seals and Crofts sung about hummingbirds. Those of us at the half century mark in age can remember more.
And the 70's were a great time for environmentalism. Alaska became mostly wilderness then. National Parks expanded. People were camping. Hiking. Getting outside. Walking across America. Earth Day was invented! The Endangered Species Act! Clean water! Clean air! Where did it go wrong?
Wilderness is no longer a theme in pop music. Now its mostly about sex (that never dies) and materialism: but there isn't any outdoor sex. It's mostly done inside. On the dance floor. The only thing tribal left in music is the beat. It has become an urban, materialistic puke fest.
I think it all went wrong when John Denver gave up his granny glasses. That was the moment when the Baby Boomers gave up the wilderness commune and moved to the Burbs and the Board Room. JD led us again; led us into vanity. The Baby Boomers launched into a materialism way beyond what they were rebelling against. They became their parents squared. Closets became rooms. SUV's in every driveway. Alternative energy was given up. Houses became monstrous McMansions with itsy, bitsy yards. AC went from being a curiosity to being mandatory. Egalitarianism died. We all wanted our children to be superior. And we talked about having reincarnated "indigo" children with special powers.
We should have seen the dark ages ahead. When John Denver gave up those glasses, he led the way to a vain materialism the world has never known.
What would have happened had he kept those granny glasses? I think he would have started hanging out with Ed Abbey and the Earth Firsters! and would have become much more dangerous. Robert Redford would have become his buddy. Maybe he would have pushed back against the obnoxious materialism of the day. He certainly wouldn't have purchased a really weird plane and plunged to his death in Monterey Bay. He wouldn't have wrecked his Porche (getting his second DUI).
An opportunity lost. And it has a date: November 15, 1983. John Denver's first album cover without glasses. That's the day the Baby Boomers sold out.