Gentle Fudge
religion, politics, current events, and other fashionable dinner conversation.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Neil Young's Epiphany
How many people does it take to change the world? Back in the 60's, it just took one. Just one guy (or gal), an acoustic guitar, and a dream. At least, that's what our parents generation wanted to believe. "All you gotta do is believe in yourself, man," I can hear them drone in that dusky, hazy voice that best sits behind oversized shades. "Just believe that you can do it... don't let anyone tell you that you can't do anything... you can do anything you set your mind to..."

I see this sermon preached again and again to over-indulged, tone-deaf GenY kids who exit the American Idol audition room, sobbing into a parent's arms. "There, there... you are a good singer... you will make it..." the lies ooze. "You will make a difference. You can do anything that you want. You just need to try harder."

But if you can't carry a tune in a bucket, how much practicing will it take?

Lie to me... go ahead and tell me everything is alright...
Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies...

Great songs. Now quit lying to your kids. a great little snippet of wisdom on this--"Incompetence: When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do."

Which brings me back to the original singer-songwriter, Mr. Young.

I'm not ragging on him. He is an excellent lyricist, a musical legend. Not my style of music. Still a great musician. But he just realized what GenXers have known most of our lives -- music can't change the world.


He made this statement to the Associated Press February 7, 2008: "I think that the time when music could change the world is past. I think it would be very naive to think that in this day and age... I think that the world today is a different place, and that it's time for science and physics and spirituality to make a difference in this world and try to save the planet."

The rest of the article, Mr. Young portrays himself as a cross-breed between an aging, crotchety hippie who wants the youngins to git off his lawn and a Nirvana burnout stuck in 1991, still angry and angst-ridden, beating it out in the garage.

From my limited and biased view of history, I remember the Me Generation boldly going forth into the 60's and 70's, proclaiming that they were going to "make a difference." And they did, don't get me wrong. The civil rights movement happened. But building blocks had been put into place before then by previous generations. Women's rights and women's lib happened. But again, a foundation had been laid thanks to womens suffrage and other progressive thinkers generations before. A spiritual awakening took place and freedom of thought began to flourish. But this again was not new. The turn-of-the-century previous brought new ideas in religion. Pentecostalism, the charismatic movement, revivalism, spiritualism, spiritism, and even a short rebirth of interest in the occult and mysticism. Many forms of religisiosity were laid down which brought the birth of fundamentalism and is now presently fighting underneath new emergent movements.

The quick fire of the Boomers died out when they discovered that the ideals were not easy coming and the fading youths found that money and fame did not come from this brave new world overnight. The Boomers soon were over 20 and 30, whom they had warned themselves not to trust, found that had children, and had to make money, so they settled into business and politics, and decided to make change that way.

The world was not the way they had envisioned. Music would not change the world as they said it would. People would not sit around in hippie drum circles, sharing everything they owned in one big happy commune, singing Kum-Ba-Yah. Instead, money becomes king, materialism becomes god because we must give our family everything we "never had", and layoffs becomes a way of life. The bottom line becomes more important than the worker bees, the little man becomes a number, children become a nuisance and the spouse becomes a roommate. Then, when the mid-life crisis hits, life suddenly becomes more than just an image that we stare at in a mirror, and we decide to sell it all, try to live simpler, and flirt with moving to Fiji because it's pretty there.

But is that really the answer? So Boomers get a life coach, a therapist, eat healthier. Maybe run twice a day.

There's a reason we GenXers are the way we are. We watch everything fall apart and feel we have to clean it all up because that's what we've done our whole lives.

And Mr. Neil Young suddenly has this epiphany a week ago that we need to change the world through other means.

Welcome to the real world.

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posted by Sara @ 7:44 PM  
  • At 10:11 AM, Anonymous mike rucker said…

    oh, quit being such a realist / pessimist / whateverist.

    lots of things can change the world - perhaps today's equivalent of the protest singer is the ...

    ... blogger.

    i was always a neil young fan. but i'm a bigger dylan fan, so to call neil "the original singer-songwriter" certainly rubs me the wrong way, but i'll forgive you since you were probably only doing what you do best - stir the pot.

    my favorite game, too, as you might have noticed over at out of ur. i play similar roles at,, and on TV...

    where does the name "gentle fudge" come from?

    mike rucker

  • At 10:38 AM, Blogger Sara said…

    mr. Mike, I'm not being a whiner, I'm just being me. I have yet to see how songs have "changed the world" other than gospel songs. most songs stick in your memory and bring back just that... memories. we can all hold hands and sing "give peace a chance" but until we actually ACT on giving peace a chance, the song won't do squat. I am an optimist, but I have to act on my optimism to make it a reality.

    as an artist/musician myself, I know how music can stir the soul and hit the innards deeper than mere words or rousing speeches can, which is probably why "protest" music developed its own genre and disciples.

    to answer the last question, "gentle fudge" was an odd name given to a random person in Americana. I immediately fell in love with it, did a little research, and found that it had never been used in any capacity, so I adopted it for my many creative projects.

    continue to inspire thought and questioning.

  • At 12:52 PM, Anonymous mike rucker said…

    sara, my sincere apologies - i didn't know that this was the neil young you were talking about. i thought you were talking about that hippie-looking guy in the flannel shirts. my bad...

  • At 1:12 PM, Blogger Sara said…

    ah, funny guy. everyone loves a royal canadian mountie.

  • At 5:40 PM, Blogger ron said…

    Nice blog page, very nice. As I read the Neil Young article, I thought of Garden State where Padme tells J.D to listen to the Shin's song 'cause "it will change your life." We (gen X) are interested in changing our own lives, not so much the rest of the world. That is what music is best at really. It moves me.

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Name: Sara
Home: gypsy wanderer, United States
About Me: Those who know me find me stubborn, opinionated, open-minded, strong-willed, of some intelligence, and yet they still hang around.
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Love God. Love all. Serve both.

There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor. -George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

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