Too many New Year’s Eves will come and go before humanity drinks from that Cup of Kindness Robert Burns spoke of in his classic poem, “Auld Lang Syne”. Tragically, that moment may never come to pass, but if it does someday, it will be because people in this troubled world finally listened to poets, writers, singers and songwriters, and heeded the words of truth and wisdom they’ve been offering ever since the first warrior of the first king died for nothing on the first battlefield.
In Artists of Resistance, Howard Zinn emphasizes the social and political importance of modern poets and painters, singers, songwriters, novelists and playwrights, for they can speak to the world with an artistic eloquence that transcends standard political discourse. Their ability to communicate universal truths on a deeply personal level through compelling poetry, prose and music is not only inspiring, it insulates them against reactionary assault as they defend the oppressed and condemn their oppressors.
As our world descends into chaos, artists are struggling to reclaim the influence they once had on society, but their voices can rarely be heard above the din of distracting noise blaring day and night from several billion tv’s, radios, CD players, iPods, computer games, cell phones, and other electronic wonders purchased with such compulsion and “paid for” with plastic. Artists will always strive to be the conscience of the human race, but hundreds of millions of
human beings corporate propaganda targets have been psychologically conditioned with such pervasive intensity by Madison Avenue marketers that reactionary economic and political elites from Washington to Beijing no longer have to oppress them, they’re oppressing themselves.
Eddie Vedder has some thoughts to share with us regarding this dehumanizing self-oppression that’s been spreading like a viral infection through the bloodstream of humanity . . .