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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Neil Young was never the “counterculture.”

Brendan O’Neil writes in “Spiked” 

Hippies are the most disappointing subculture, aren’t they? They always let you down. They cut their hair, become therapists or corporate sustainability advisers, and before you know it these people who wanged on about Woodstock for 50 years are being paid a fortune by The Man to badger me and you. Just look at Neil Young. The one-time cocaine-stained hero of LA’s alternative scene, singer of angry songs about Vietnam and the Kent State massacre, participant with Crosby, Stills and Nash in the Freedom of Speech Tour of 2006, is now basically pleading with a huge corporation to silence people he doesn’t like. From protest singer to agitator for capitalist censorship? What a fall…..

But …because it confirms, perfectly and horribly, that to be countercultural today is to be on the side of fear, on the side of censure, on the side of madly believing that vast, unaccountable corporate machines have the right and the responsibility to determine what the rest of us may hear and see.

The problem with this formulation is that the so-called “counterculture” of the’50s and ‘60s was “the culture” by the 70s.  The people were seduced.  Sex, drugs, and rock & roll was the culture to which everyone aspired.  Everyone wanted to be Neil Young.  If you were male, you wanted the sex that Young got.  If you were female, you wanted sex with Neil young.  “Just do it” was the national motto.  Sex became the official cultural sport.  The culture’s airways were saturated with "the culture's" songs.  Sobriety was out.  Pot, coke LSD were everywhere.   Neil Young – all the Neil Youngs – defined the culture to this day.  They got rich preaching it.  

That’s power. 

There were stretches of the country where people voted for squares like Richard Nixon, but they were not the “culture.”  The “culture” despised and destroyed Nixon and made sure no one ever admitted voting for him.  

That’s power. 

The culture redefined sex.  The culture redefined marriage. The culture redefined race.  The culture redefined good and evil.  The culture redefined freedom and slavery.  The culture redefined truth and lies.  The culture tells you who to hate and who to love.  The masters of the culture know who you are, what you say, what your see, what you think, what you like, where you are, and where you’re going.

That’s power.  

The “culture” had so much self-assurance that they never imagined that Donald Trump could beat them and be President.  Shocked to the core they attacked.  They loaded the election dice and showed their power by installing a mentally impaired man who campaigned from his basement.  

That’s amazing power.

They are using their power to outlaw anyone who voted for him.  To control the culture, they will make anyone who does not agree with them disappear.  Neil Young hasn’t changed.  He’s always been part of the “culture.”  The “counterculture” doesn’t pay you.  Appealing to the culture is where the money is.