Lefsetz: The Eve of Destruction

I couldn’t watch…

People have been sending me notes all day, about Trump’s speech, about the few people in attendance.

I lived through the election of Nixon. The ’60s had brought so much positive change, we thought it was impossible to retreat. And the truth is, we didn’t.

We’ve got gay marriage.

For now, you can get an abortion.

And believe it or not, in many states marijuana is legal.  Amazing that we had a black president before that, but both were unthinkable back then.

The truth is, socially we live in a very liberal country.

Democratic principles win in the end.

It’s just that the ’60s ended and greed became good and there was a tear in the fabric of our nation far exceeding the gap between hippies and rednecks. It’s between the rich and the poor, and I don’t know how we find our way out of this.

The funny thing is you can be educated and poor – elite in thinking but empty of wallet.

What drove the revolution, what drove change back in the 1960s, was art.

Art is our only savior.

And if you noticed, very few artists wanted to show up at the inauguration.

That’s a start.

Because a true artist has a backbone and will not do what’s expedient, but knows that character is everything. And what you choose not to do is oftentimes just as important as that which you do.

However art has become about money.

My inbox is filled with musicians bitching. I’ll argue all day long that no one should go to bed hungry, or without a roof over their head, but I’ll also say that not everybody is entitled to make a living as an artist. I will also say that living is worthless without art.

Everybody’s looking over their shoulder, at what the other person’s got.

And they want theirs. Whereas artists are singular, they march to the beat of their own drummer. And the power of the individual…can never be overstated.

I’m not saying all corporations are evil, but most are.

People love Apple, but it doesn’t pay taxes, not many anyway.

And when confronted with this fact, the Cupertino majordomos just point their fingers at the other guy, and say he’s doing it too. Kinda like the “artists” who make me-too music.

We’ve had enough of that.

They rolled up radio and added a ton of commercials, yet it’s a dead format for music anyway – kinda like MTV. However once upon a time it had power – they both had power – I believe that young people’s minds were opened by the music television service. They saw people of different colors, different sexual orientations, and they came to the conclusion…that we’re all the same under the skin.

But when things are going badly, you need a scapegoat.

In Germany, it was the Jews.

In America, it’s the capitalists who stole the jobs. Then again, these same finger-pointers venerate the capitalists. And if that doesn’t make your head spin, you know which newspaper to trust, but suddenly it’s every man for himself.

That’s what America has turned into, a nation where it’s every man for himself. Safety nets are for losers and need to be eviscerated. And you’d better not take my job, not if you’re an immigrant, not if you’re an environmentalist…

Once upon a time we were all in it together, or at least it felt that way.

Now you wonder if anybody’s on your team – if anybody will be there when you need a helping hand.

And if you think protest and news pieces will bring down Trump…they would have brought him down already.

But art?

Art can topple him. Not overnight, but in time.

People don’t have time to watch the news, but they go to the movies.

Hip-hop kills on streaming services, the right anti-Trump song could be…

But we’ve been hearing for years that bands are brands. You’re a mini-empire.

No, that’s completely untrue. You’re an artist, that’s it, the rest is trappings.

Artists lent their hand to the Dakota Pipeline protests…

Artists voiced their concerns about transgender rights in North Carolina…

And they made a difference. Hell, at least most people know what “transgender” means now, and that’s a start.

We could be on the eve of destruction. But when one heard Barry McGuire’s voice come out of the transistor, you felt like someone was speaking for you, someone had your back. And for others…they could finally see the truth of the situation.

Believe me, most people were for the Vietnam War before they were against it. It’s fine to change your mind. It’s the mark of an educated person.


The public does not believe in Washington.

Most don’t believe in Fox.

But they do believe in Beyonce and Jay Z and the more stories you read about artists speaking truth to power, the more blowback there is – the more you know they’re doing it right.

Hell, Toby Keith showed up in D.C., but none of the rest of the supposedly right wing Nashville acts did.

They don’t want a stain on their image, ain’t that a switch.

So I don’t know exactly where it goes from here, but there’s got to be some way out of this place, said the joker to the thief.

And Bob Dylan was the product of a long history of folk music, of protest music. And if you listen to his old records you’ll see they’re closer to hip-hop than they are to the Beatles. He’s almost talking the words, at a mile a minute. And Ice-T and the rest of the rappers were right about the police and…

We’ve still got a tradition of speaking the truth. It might be buried under a bit of detritus, but…

If we can inspire artists to create something undeniable…

The business people will fall in line.

And then the public will rally.

And when you unite the people behind a message, nothing can stop them, nothing.

We are in charge, we, the people. And we pay fealty to artists. We spread the word online.

We’re just waiting for instruction.

Help us out, speak the truth. Illuminate the situation, tell us what to believe and what to do.

Because we’re hungry to know.

And we’re depending upon you.

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6 Responses to Lefsetz: The Eve of Destruction

  1. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    Jesus Christ, what an entire load of octogenarian bullshit. The 60’s are over and they aren’t coming back. The arts aren’t toppling ANYONE. Hollywood and the entertainment industry have been exposed for the intolerant hateful bunch of hypocrites that they truly are. Madonna and the rest of the celebrity morons at the Women’s March are glaring proof of that. A weekly slew of SNL skits aren’t going to bring down Trump either. Hell, the schmucks on SNL should be sending him thank you letters weekly. They’ve squeezed more publicity for their show out of skewering Trump than they have in 20 years. I generally find something to like in most of your entries, Bob but this one was total shit. Keep in mind that this is coming from a dyed in the wool Libertarian that didn’t vote for Trump.

  2. Stomper says:

    Don’t usually comment on Lefsetz offerings since he is music industry oriented and although music was very much at the center of my universe in the 60’s and early 70’s , not so much once I had to get a job and earn a living. Fortunate for Lefsetz that he was able to make a living in a field he loved. When he gets political he usually ties in the music industry angle and that often taints his argument.

    However he made a statement here that cuts to the core of political divisions and actually hurts his argument in my opinion. As I have written here before, a person’s political preference should not be based on personality but ideology. Answer the question “What is the role of government?” and that should dictate whether you generally lean right or left.

    He wrote “I’m not saying all corporations are evil, but most are.”

    That is both unfair and inaccurate and promotes unnecessary conflict between the private sector and the public sector. Private corporations have one goal and that is to maximize profits for owners/shareholders. Clearly they should not break the law but just because Apple “doesn’t pay taxes, not many anyway” shouldn’t mean they are evil. Yeah, I’d love it if all private corporations worked to make the country and it’s citizens happy and healthy. Give all employees great health benefits, salaries well over the minimum wage, generous retirement and leave policies, the safest workplace possible; give their customers products and services without built in obsolescence, promote clean air and water, yada, yada, yada. To do so, however would put them at a disadvantage versus their competition. IT IS NOT THE JOB OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO SOLVE THE NATION’S PROBLEMS. It is the job of the private sector to maximize profits (again, within the law). It is the job of the public sector (Government) to solve the nation’s problems. It is the job of the voters to prioritize those problems and vote accordingly. The private sector and the public sector need to work together, not at odds. Government is not the enemy of the private sector, they should be the partner.

    • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

      I tend to lean Libertarian. By that I mean, the government sucks at most everything it does. So the less government involvement the better. Get the federal government out of same sex marriage. In fact, just get out of marriage altogether. Leave it up to the states to determine. Get out of marijuana. Leave it to the states. Get out of the abortion issue. Leave it up to the individual states to vote on it.

      • Stomper says:

        Yep, plenty of places the federal government should not be.

        However, there are some places where they must be.

  3. Bad Hombre says:

    The Resistance this time is going to be driven by scientists.

    Science does not allow for the convenience of alternative facts.

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