Are we really the world?

For New Years eve, Laura, a few freinds and I all went to hear Band of Horses at The Tabernacle in Atlanta. On the whole it was a great night and great show!

What got me though was the closing song the band chose for NYE: We are the world. Why you might ask would this song, one which was on the radio during much of my childhood and which we were told was about us and which many decry as the hopeful mantra of all future world peace bother me? Well, because I actually think that this song is part of what is now wrong with the world.

Yes, I believe that this song, along with the technological advancements of the Internet, the creation and popularity of mass social networking sites are chief among the reasons for much of the unhealthy forms of narcissim so prevelant in culture. You know, the kind which having been told we are the world actually believed it only to now be faced with a world that is neither ours nor the way we want it to be.

In a sense, as the first generation of adults that studies now show will undergo two midlife crisis, we are in the words of John Mayer, still waiting on the world to change; that is, waiting on the world to change into the world that we are.

And this is why the song bugged me so much: because standing in a room full of people like you, wearing t-shirts like yours, and feeling good about being the world has proven to do very little to actually change the world. In a sense, when one believes that the world should be like them, their greatest efforts are put to letting it become that way. But what if the real truth is that the world isn’t supposed to be anything like us, or anything like what we believe with our greatest ideals it should reflect? What if harmony and conformity and unity (to being us) really are just part of an opiate that somehow keeps us from truly engaging to make the world something completely different than us, or that it has ever been.

Maybe for me, that’s why I think Please (by U2) would have been a more dangerous way to close the show. But then again, maybe that’s just wanting the world to be like me.

Joshua

3 thoughts on “Are we really the world?

  1. Wow… If you truly want to change the world or are that deeply concerned with how the narcissism of technology is changing our ever growing global social network then please stop blogging! There is nothing more narcissistic than a ridiculous person harping a band or its fans for enjoying a song that brings them back to their childhood or simply makes them smile. As being one of the pieces of the family on stage I can tell you that a band that has traveled all over the world (almost every continent in just the last year) is doing a far better job of uniting and impressing upon the world a sense of unity. I think you should view your blog as simply a reflection of yourself. If you would like to surround yourself in other cultures try traveling not going to a New Years Eve show at the Tabernacle. I urge you to volunteer and stop wasting your time writing deprecating, ridiculous blogs about music shows and actually do some good.

  2. Even though, I would not put it in the overtly, yet eloquently stated, cranky terms of Stacey, I, who was with you at the show, gave you the same shit for not just relaxing and enjoying a good song, and a beautiful moment. Unlike Stacey, I know you’ve traveled the world, and I know you’ve done a lot of good with your life, so I appreciated you being around for New Years to share in this great show – however, I do feel like sometimes, we should all relax and just love one another. And leave our criticisms for other times. And I don’t know if anyone else was there – but Band of Horses was INCREDIBLE!!! If you didn’t see them, you definitely need to go to the next show. Absolutely beautiful music and a real family vibe of connection in the crowd

  3. C- Thanks for your comments. I agree, it was a beautiful show, and the family vibe was definitely there. And yes, you did ell me, and I quote, “no, no, don’t bring that stuff in here, not now.”

    Stacey, I also wanted to make sure that you knew my commentary was not really about the show, or the band but rather about the broader context of inaction which we all are at some point a part of.

    Rest assured, my blog is the least of my activism and for what it’s worth, I recognize blogging and social media in general as holding the greatest potential for empowering and disempowering social change.

    At the end of the day, I guess I just deeply hope that those of us who really want the world to be a different place than it is, would do whatever we can to get others to join us.

    Band of Horses is doing that. For that I’m thankful.

    Joshua

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