Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

An Anthem for the Rest of Us

In college, men could be divided into three camps. One camp featured fellows who joined fraternities, bought kegs of cheap beer, played sports which did not involve sand, vacant lots or frisbees, and dated women who believed in the healing power of really blonde hair, really black mascara, really rose' blush, and really red lipstick. These fellows went on to own real estate agencies, drive luxury SUVs, join the Republican Party and suburban country clubs, and bankrupt financial institutions before 40. The women often became successful business-women in their own rights, making the most of degrees in fashion marketing, never ceasing to attribute their prosperity to Providence and a good surgeon. One never worried about such men, because one understood that living that life was its own punishment.

Another type of man, far more troubling, included the fellows who were always writing (but never completing) novels, using Yeats poem sections as pick-up lines, and listen to a lot of Smiths songs. This second class of hero was by far the most dangerous, because all the women worth their salt enjoyed these fellows' percipient (if morose) observations about life, sardonic discussions of Ken Kesey novels (always delivered while wearing mountain man flannel shirts) and single-minded ability to attract women by treating them as badly as humanly possible, with devilish smiles. These are the sort of men who "got the girl", usually not really wanting her,
and whose indecisive indiscretions were held up as living as the "soul of poetry". This type of man either became an English professor or a psychologist, leaving a trail of tears in his wake. Their sons now attend modern universities, quoting Bob Dylan and Dylan Thomas.

Then there were the rest of us--muddling through our lives as if we lived each day as it came. We tended to pursue our own odd muses, treat people more or less as we wished to be treated, and wear the treble-hook anvils of being "too nice", "too weird" and "too focused". We had more hearts broken than we broke hearts, we listened to Harry Partch rather than chatting up women with tales of Miles Davis, and we marched to our different drummers with a poignant unease.

It might be entirely true that bands which we of that third type loved were likely to do odd things, like play mellotrons, invent their own musical instruments, re-do "Satisfaction" as a "third reich n roll" song, or repeat the same melody line over/and/over/and/over/and/over/and/over/and.

Yet one of those bands, kindred spirits a decade our senior who had the misfortune to have their "hit" songs appeal only to 12 year olds, has written, in 2008, a song for the rest of us. Nearly thirty years later, like a truth commission investigating past crimes of love and war, they've written the song to help express the ignored voice of a marginal generation.

In three words they've captured the zeitgeist of a generation of men.

It's a complete expression of our anguish, and you can watch it here:

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