Howl for Zelda, Howl for Missouri
Allen Ginsberg had to howl because too many of his pals were taking speed and suffering Blake-inspired hallucinations and I just watched a bunch of goons bully Robin Williams’ daughter off the internet because all some people see when you open your heart is a place to dump the garbage in theirs. Allen, baby, c’mon.
I saw the best minds of my generation slave to the notion it’s us versus them, angelheaded white dudes posting Neil Young lyrics in response to the horror in Ferguson, MO—”We’re finally on our own,” like who the hell is this “we,” like it’s one side against the other and the enemy isn’t economics and institutionalized racism. You can’t fight that with rocks, fighting that with rocks means being fought back against with tear gas and things get worse and worse while what we really need is new ideas, new hearts, new minds, and yes you can feel solidarity with the people on the streets and yes fuck the cops and yes fuck the state and no one wants to watch it all burn as much as me, but you, Neil Young fan, you are not on the street. You’ve never felt a cop’s boot on your throat or been followed in a store, and neither have I.
This is enough of a tragedy and a travesty for every single one of us without co-opting it with an old, lame song sung by a millionaire who took a five minute break from playing with his toy trains to get bummed about the news, so fuck Neil Young and fuck you, too, sitting there at home mashing your heavy heart through your laptop screen singing “we we we” for your pals while reporters get shoved against the wall and protestors get strafed with rubber bullets and stores burn and next week this fizzles and the week after happens again somewhere else and everyone says “we” and “them” and nothing ever changes or gets better because you’re not feeling the enormity of this, and you’re no use to anyone, until you project your feet into sneakers treading broken glass looting as much as you do the shoes of the store owner watching his livelihood burn, until you feel the tag on your toe in the morgue as fully as the tight boot-laces of the cop on the street with no clue how to get things under control. There are no good guys, no bad guys; just shitty ideas and systems and flawed responses and the terrible truth that it’s “us,” that the only “we” is everyone, that the real fight of your life has to be the fight to accept that we’re all in this together and the only way to win is letting a little of the other side in and letting a little of yourself go and rejecting how we feel right now in favor of how we’d like to feel one year from now, one month, one week, one second.
And maybe these aren’t the best minds of my generation. Maybe the best minds of my generation don’t hang out the places I do, maybe they’re out there saving the world with their mouths shut and their shoulders to the wheel. If you’re reading this push harder, if you’re reading this come find me, if you’re out there baby I’m howling for you.
3 Responses to “Howl for Zelda, Howl for Missouri”
Um, how did Neil HYoung become part of the problem just because some asshole is a fan of his. I agree with all your points, but one. Please leave Neil out of it.
Otherwise right on, though.
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