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Start your fire
Previous | Next by ben 27 February, 2008 - 4:06 AM

thanks to Clarissa for the link (i don't care what you say, sometimes you DO find things before I do!)

video of we didn't start the fire by a guy who took the time to hunt down pictures of everything Mr. Joel mentions.

This is, in my opinion, a great song, and says a lot of things to a lot of people... what's it say to you?

2/27/2008 >> jmcd303

What this song says to me is that, despite possible accusations of arson, we did not start the fire. Also, as proof of our innocence, we assert that the aforementioned fire has, in fact, been burning for approximately 4.5 billion years.

2/27/2008 >> alana

It says to me that Baby Boomers are going to whine and cry about how the world was already fucked up when they got here, and that they will take absolutely no responsibility for anything that 'just happened' to occur during their lifetimes to make things worse.

Ben, since you've argued to me that capitalism is a natural progression of evolution and is therefore inevitable, I can see why you like the song. It's very fatalistic and defeatist.

2/27/2008 >> ben

so we have a cynic and a joker... the rest of the peanut gallery?

when did i say that capitalism is due to evolution? i don't remember this, and can't think of a reason they'd be related...

and i also don't think it's defeatist, but more of a thought that "while these things happened, and we (the singers of the song, i.e. a percentage of the population) are trying to do what's good, to make things better. i think it's actually more hopeful than defeatist....

2/28/2008 >> swordplay101

What this says to me is that people who share the fruits of their excessive time spent on Google can occasionally be TEH AWESOME.

Coming from a psychological viewpoint (and lacking, as y'all know, a lot of background in sociology and politics), I'm struck by the juxtaposition of horrifying events and achievements in the arts. It speaks to me of that fundamental psychological concept of positivity vs negativity, "good" vs "evil" or whatever you want to call it (the concept behind, what makes someone a Mother Theresa and someone else an Adolf Hitler). The song seems like a snapshot of our time - I don't really see Billy Joel taking any sort of stance toward the events other than their relative impact on society. There's no overt mention of cause or solution, so it's whatever you make of it.

I tend to lean more toward the hopeful position. Some of the artistic achievements he chose - Woodstock, Stranger in a Strange Land, Lawrence of Arabia, Psycho, etc - all contain some theme of connection with others (or lack thereof - which serves to bring it into focus as an area that deserves some attention and consideration). Lots of positives are generated from that feeling of community and interdependence, and from understanding the distorted perceptions that alienate us from one another and cause us to wittingly or unwittingly do harm to ourselves, others, and the world.

2/28/2008 >> ben

that's the second time in a day i've heard a juxtaposition between Mother Theresa and Hitler - the other being a british game reviewer who goes by Yahtzee complaining about the ending of Bioshock, for what that's worth.

I agree that he doesn't present a solution, just that "we're trying to fight it", which is why I think he's hopeful, or at least struggling despite anything else.

I would have loved to have had someone cover this song in my Writing & Society class as a kid. I chose PF's "Mother", so there's that...

2/28/2008 >> alana

Wait, am I the cynic or the joker? I definitely wasn't joking, and the whole reason I don't like the song is because I'm NOT a cynic. I think throwing up your hands and saying "well, it's not MY fault" is a cynical position. Also, he doesn't say "we're fighting back," he says "we tried" . . . which just reminds me of all the cynical ex-hippies who tell young activists now not to bother because if they couldn't change the world back in the 60's, nobody ever can.

As for your "capitalism is a product of evolution" argument -- it had to do with us being naturally competitive . . . "survival of the fittest" and all that.

2/28/2008 >> Pie

I think the song is about people & events that have impacted us as a species & have become a huge part of our history. I don't feel there's any cop-out or accusations being made by the song. I think "the fire" is human impact, some good some bad. I don't think there's anything cynical about a statement that suggests a generation tried to fight back - which in many of those events it's obvious that they did. The good things, the positive impacts often, unfortunately, came out of negative ones - be it war or negative societal views.

I've always loved that song, the montage was a great idea & I really enjoyed watching it.

2/28/2008 >> jmcd303

For the record, I think I'm the joker.

I am also a smoker. And have been know, at certain times in my life, to have a toke around 12AM.

Also, I get my lovin' on the run.

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