Friday, November 04, 2005

The More Things Change...

The Merry Minuet

"They're rioting in Africa.
They're starving in Spain.
There's hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain.

"The whole world is festering with unhappy souls.
The French hate the Germans; the Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs; South Africans hate the Dutch
and I don't like anybody very much!

"But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud
For man's been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud.
And we know for certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off
And we will all be blown away.

"They're rioting in Africa.
There's strife in Iran.
What Nature doesn't do to us
Will be done by our fellow man."

lyrics by Unknown; sung by the Kingston Trio, ca. mid-1960's

I was actually looking for the French phrase that states "The more things change, the more they stay the same." I thought, considering what's been happening in the suburbs of Paris over the last eight days, that French would be most appropriate language for the title of this post.

It's been 40 years since The Merry Minuet had any air play time on the radio. Sadly, not much has changed since I first heard it.

"We have seen the enemy and he is us," Pogo proclaimed.

But we keep going--at least many of us do. For me, it's as simple as wanting to leave the world a better place, for my children and my grandchildren. I wage war against the popular culture, where "hella" and "fuck" are mere adjectives, where there is a difference between doing the right thing and doing the easy thing, where there is value in ideas of morality that have been with us for millenium because these ideas have stood the test of time.

I feel like The Sorcerer's Apprentice sometimes. The water is coming in faster than I can bail.

But then one of my children will say something that makes me stop in my tracks and realize that they have been listening after all. And that makes my work worth the effort.