Sunday, November 11, 2007

In praise of provocative artists

In Redford's Lions for Lambs, Senator Tom Cruise presents a pro-military governmental approach to the War on Terror in articulate, global terms while Professor Robert Redford tries to convince a lazy and disillusioned but bright and gifted student to use his talents for the greater good. It's a talky movie, but it's good talk. Why does it seem that it's always the young people who enjoy the best of what this country has to offer who skip military service for advanced degrees and big paydays, while defending the American Way often falls to those kids our society ignores? What is our responsibility to one another? How can we each use our individual talents for the greater good? If you want fun, buy a ticket to Seinfeld's bee movie. If you want to examine your heart and conscience, go see Lions for Lambs.

On his new CD, Magic, Bruce Springsteen sings lyrics that are seared into my soul:

"You know that flag flying over the courthouse
Means certain things are set in stone
Who we are, what we'll do and what we won't"

Who are we? I don't know anymore. It feels like our standards are no longer set in stone. Abu Gharib. Water boarding. Lying about WMDs. Demonizing gays. "Swiftboating" veterans. It's all so, so very ugly and I don't LIKE thinking about any of these painful topics. But when "Long Walk Home" comes through my headphones, The Boss forces me to confront them. As we approach another election, we must confront them. It's irresponsible and immoral not to. Thank God Bruce is there to remind me.

Springsteen and Redford have released deeply patriotic, thoughtful art that celebrates who we have been and who we can be again. I am better for it.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard really bad reviews of this film (too much *thinking* maybe?) but I canNOT wait to see it! Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    Unfortunately, I haven't heard any of the new Boss tunes....hell, I didn't even realize he had a new one out...