Cultureshock: "Say You Want A Revolution", OR How The Beatles Ruined Christmas

As part of their final coursework at The Uj, this year’s 3rd-year journos were charged with creating a blog on the university’s unstable student server. Entries amounted to little more than senseless, naval-gazing forum postings. Here’s mine…

Cultureshock
Society’s Downfall At The Hands of Popular Culture

“Say You Want A Revolution”, OR How The Beatles Ruined Christmas

People running through the streets.
Women shrieking.
The authorities doing their best to calm immense crowds.
The church’s role being questioned.
Mass hysteria.
Picture the chaos and gaze not upon the blood soaked streets of Paris in the 1790s but instead New York City during the swinging 1960s, in a world enveloped by Beatlemania.

The Beatles were where it started to go wrong for my generation.

The Unusual Suspects: The cover to Abbey Road is practically a police lineup.

Even in the face of the crooning, hip-swaying talents of the King himself, no pop act had quite captured the hearts, minds and loins of the populace like The Beatles had. With constant live television performances and their approachable demeanor, we would gladly accept anything they did. This explains our complete devotion to them even after their transition from a bunch of suit-wearing Liverpool lads into LSD-dropping saints of rock & roll.

From musos to gods?: The Beatles by Andy Warhol

The Beatles did not spark up a bloody revolt like the aforementioned French one, but they did invent a whole new cultural zeitgeist that transformed fans into devoted hordes that trailed behind them like extras out of a George Romero picture.

They reinvented the concept of Fame, and subsequently helped destroy our social identities.

After their rise, society could not cope without some form of fame-fueled revolution; rebellion sold to us by suit-wearing execs who managed major record and film companies. Why on Earth else would “punk” have started in New York City – a commercial hub of note?

The Beatles embodied the everyman musicians who could ascend to complete pop godhood in under a decade, an idea which has been presented to us over and over again throughout our lives. The flaw in the system is that we have bought into this concept – on however minor a level – and we celebrate our personalized celebrity status with ourFacebook profiles, Twitter updates and Blogger entries.

All that we present to one another, however, is an incredibly one-sided view of “self”, parading around our fictionalized identities like severed heads on spikes. And though we feel what we are experiencing through “social media” is communication, we are really just promoting numero uno and failing to even attempt to understand or truly share discourse with one another.

So, yes, I’m accusing “celebrity” for our downfall. I’m blaming “celebrity” for my fear that we’re growing incredibly unquestioning in the way we live and interact with the world around us. I’m pointing my finger at The Beatles for my generation’s complacent whimper instead of its triumphant roar.

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  1. […] The Beatles Anthology where Sir Paul points out that one of the very early things that drove those forerunners of pop idolatry to rework their lyrics writing was the fact that many of their early tracks kept referencing an […]



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