Saturday, July 01, 2017

Easy To Be Hard

I have no idea why science fiction writers exert so much energy on fantasies about time machines when all it really takes to be launched into another age is a decades-old hit playing on the radio.  In this particular case, I was tootling down the highway when I was ambushed by a major hit from the sixties musical Hair entitled Easy to be Hard.

Although the show was a big hit on Broadway (and even a a movie), the big money was its soundtrack, and this version by Three Dog Night commanded American airwaves for months.  For those of you who never saw/heard about the show, it was the first major production to convey all the issues of the hippie counter-culture to mainstream America. It caused a big commotion, and was made even more popular by the fact that -- for the first time ever and as a challenge to censorship laws -- it featured one scene in which the actors on stage appeared completely naked.

Yeah. That was way before PornHub.

Back then, most people thought Hair was just about hippies, a 90 minute glimpse of the long-haired, free love mind set.  Today, however, the show -- and especially the song itself -- have taken on an eerie new significance. Keep in mind that the hippies of the sixties preached gospels of love, tolerance and universal acceptance, yet as the show points out, in practice, they could be just as capable of cruelty and intolerance as those against whom they protested. Hundreds of hippies could march together against the cold, oppressive, unfeeling Establishment while simultaneously ignoring the personal pain of the confused adolescents marching right there with them.  Easy to be Hard sums up the dissonance perfectly, with a melody just as haunting:
How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no

Especially people who care about strangers
Who care about evil and social injustice
Do you only care about the bleeding crowd
How about a needy friend
I need a friend

How can people be so heartless
You know I'm hung up on you
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no
Now, a new millennium reveals that the grandchildren of America's hippies are just as self-absorbed and unfeeling as their grandparents were. Every day, mainstream America is subjected to the whines and rants of professional victims, clamoring for the rights and privileges of ever-emerging minorities while viciously savaging their neighbors and just about anyone from whom they differ.

Gay, trans, lesbian, queer, black, brown, feminist, PETA and the rest -- you name 'em, they hate you and seem to have no problem spewing bile toward you while demanding unconditional acceptance for themselves. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with various groups' self-advancement. I do, however, have a big problem when they preach love while swinging a baseball bat at the heads of those who differ from them.

The last few years has allowed social and not-so-social media to rack up endless clips of social justice warriors' attacking anyone, anywhere -- and usually for no clear reason at all.  It can't be doing too much good, other than pointing out the very obvious:

The sixties may be gone, but human hypocrisy, apparently, is timeless.