Tuesday, August 15, 2006


As I was browsing through iTunes the other day, I noticed a recently released Paula Cole greatest hits CD. For those of you who don't recognize the name, she is the artist behind the unforgettable song "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone." Those of you who are unfamiliar with that song should consider yourselves fortunate. You probably also know her from the song "I Don't Want to Wait," which was the theme song from Dawson's Creek that they played incessantly in the background during every commercial for the now defunct series.

As hard as I tried, I couldn't remember hearing any of her other songs, so I was assuming that the album was an EP, perhaps consisting of those two songs, two remixes of the songs, and maybe a new song designed to get her die-hard fans (all three of them) to buy the damn thing. You can imagine my surprise when I saw they they'd dug deep into her voluminous body of work (3 CD's, the most recent of which was released in 1999) to cobble together the sixteen (!) songs that comprise the album.

For those of you that are tempted to buy the CD, I'd advise you not to. Instead, you should search the bargain bin of your local music store, where I'm guessing that you be able to buy all three of her CD's for significantly less than the $10 that "Paula Cole Greatest Hits - Postcard from East Oceanside" will run you.

Which brings me to the real point of this pointless post.

In the late 1960s a combination of corporate greed, a stagnant economy, an unpopular war being waged in a far away country, and the perception of a corrupt - or at least unfeeling and out of touch - government combined to spur the hippie movement. Among other things, some of the greatest protest songs ever written sprung from that movement.

Forty years later we seem to have come full circle -and ironically enough, this is happening while those who grew up in the late 60s - and vowed to change the world -are in power - and John Mayer's recently released single "Waiting On the World to Change" is poised to be the seminal protest song of the era. Let's break it down, shall we?

Me and all my friends
We're all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing
There's no way we ever could
Now we see everything is going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don't have the means
To rise above and beat it

Wait a second....I'm not sure I like the looks of this. Then again, I'm sure he's just lulling them to sleep before he hits the powerful chorus.

So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
Its hard to be persistent
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change

I guess I was wrong. So if I'm reading this right, I guess that the plan is to sit back and wait for things to change. Well, that ought to shake up the people in power. I can almost hear the protest chants now. "No more corporate greed! / And time to end the war! / You either do what we say! / Or we'll have to wait some more!"

At least I'm guessing that's what they'd say. However, it seems that John and his friends lack the energy and outrage to protest at all.

Now if we had the power
To bring our neighbors home from war
They would've never missed a Christmas
No more ribbons on the door
When you trust your television
What you get is what you got
Cuz when they own the information
They can bend it all they want

Good point, John. You shouldn't trust what you see on television. If only there were some sort of world-wide web of information out there that we could use it to research issues, read arguments from all sides, and make our own informed decisions we wouldn't have to rely on those damn TV news reports to tell us what to think!

I won't bore you with the rest of the lyrics (those interested can read them here), but I'll close with a couplet that he sneaks into the chorus that he repeats ad nauseum at the end.

One day our generation
Is gonna rule the population

I guess that's true, but with apologies to Okami, I'm not sure I really want to be around when apathy takes over.
It turns out that there is, indeed, a world wide web that you can use to find information. For some reason, they've named it "The Internet." Anyway, I used it to uncover some statistics about 9/11 and the war in Iraq:

  • Nearly 3,000 people died during the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The loss of American lives - particularly the lives of innocent civilians - spurred the war on terror, which was used as the original justification for the invasion of Iraq.
  • To date, there have been in excess of 2,600 American military deaths in Iraq since the war began.
  • There have been more than 40,000 reported civilian deaths resulting from the military intervention in Iraq