Friday, September 18, 2009
Mary Travers, an icon of the protest-with-flowers-and-guitars movement, died two days ago. And there is one song I put on repeat all day yesterday, and you can guess: it's not about white doves sailing and times a-changing:
"Puff the Magic Dragon" is about--besides the obvious--nostalgia. More specifically, the death of childhood, growing up and remembering playing on Cherry Lane. This is exactly what America is about.
America is nostalgic. Everyone these days is having parties themed by decade, writing books about small towns and small-town politicians, and referencing old toy commercials. They even just released a video game about The Beatles.
Why is such a young country stuck in a fleeting past? Britain has been the same empire for a thousand years with only a few minor coups, civil wars, and political beheadings, so they have a right to be nostalgic. Us? We're barely over 200, and we're already calling the new democracies "whippersnappers," even though they, just like us, only like a good roadside fireworks show.
After the Soviets gave up and the walls tumbled nearly two decades ago, weren't we supposed to bring about a New World Order, sans Hulk Hogan? America, why are we so stuck in the past?
It's because they don't make cartoons like this anymore: