Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire? I was listening to the fantastic Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! a band I have loved for years. She was on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF with Marc Maron and she spoke to an existential anger. Not necessarily an anger toward something in general; but a more general discontent with the way that things are, like that we were promised something else.
Immediately after finishing this podcast, as I was still driving; I turned on some of my favorite Against Me! songs and the songs re-resonated with me based upon her comment. I’ll link to the youtube’s of these songs below:
I recognize that I opened this piece with a line from Against Me!’s song I Was a Teenage Anarchist; which itself is a song speaking to the hypocrisy of youth movements (in part) but why do we lose that fire? How are we supporting youth movements? Are we resting on the laurels of past deeds done well? If you missed the situation with Bernie Sander’s and his speech in Seattle which was ultimately shut down by #BlackLivesMatter activists; people came to his defense by saying that he marched with Dr. King. A jealously inducing event I am sure; but what has he done since then? It seems like quite a bit, but we keep accrediting people in the movement by their relationship to history.
Laura Jane spoke to her involvement with a Gainesville activist center, called the Civic Media Center which I found intriguing. Where are the local, regional centers to support the growth of our youth who have existential anger? I didn’t have anything growing up but punk rock. This un-guided anger led to a half-assed understanding of the world; which under the right guidance could have been more productive, as anger can be. Audre Lorde taught us this.
In the end, my undirected rage at the utter bullshit helped guide my life; my research, my work to help create a vision that my hope is that the next generation won’t have as much anger; as much dread at taking on the inheritance of misguided ancestors.
And while I take critical hope that I can do better than those before me; I keep Laura Jane’s words from Baby, I’m an Anarchist in my mind:
“You have faith in the elephant and jackass,
And to you, solidarity’s a four-letter word.
We’re all hypocrites”