I got a number of reactions to my post on the Roger Waters concert. Some wondered what I expected. My point was not that I did not know Waters is an unreflective lefty or that I did not expect some politics. I'm not sure that I was even surprised that the politics on display was as infantile as it was. Rock stars tend to make their best music when they and their audience are wrapped up in sentiments and wrestling with issues that they will soon grow out of or, more fairly, come to view in very different ways. Some people in the genre manage to explore the same and different themes from a more mature perspective, but, if you haven't done that, reprising the old hits can be something of an exercise in regression. If you haven't (or don't want to admit that you have) grown up since then, you run the risk of seeming a bit silly.
My point was that regression doesn't edify and that Pink Floyd has a lot of great old music than can be enjoyed on some level other than that of a 17 year old boy smoking and drinking in his room and wondering why adults are so dumb anyway. (If you were there, you know what I'm talking about; that was very clever)
(Before we get all indignant, I am not suggesting that opposing the war in Iraq or being critical of George Bush is immature. Thoughtful and mature people obviously can do both.)
More interesting was the idea - hinted at by one commenter - that music is necessarily a rough way of expressing ideas. It evokes emotions and perspectives, not talking points. But that was sort of my point. You can sing about the absurdity of war (it is absurd, if sometimes tragically unavoidable) or of feelings of alienation. The latter may be most salient at 17, but they can occur at least until some age that I haven't reached yet. But when you get too didactic about interpreting these feelings, it is not unlike an overly literal reading of the bible. You stretch the medium beyond what it was made for.
Most interesting was this. I appreciate poking some fun(and don't mind doing it myself), but let's take it at face value for a moment. Since when did the ideas that - no George Bush is not Joe Stalin and religion is not a force for evil - come to constitute right wing ideology? If some country & western singer that I would never go see tried to equate Nancy Pelosi with Osama bin Laden, I don't think you'd need to be a left winger to see that's crazy.
On the other hand, I still have this stuff on my iPod so, you know, have a cigar, Roger. You're still riding the gravy train.