Saturday, February 12, 2011

Marshall McLuhan Where Are You When We Need You?

As I watched the events unfold these past 18 days in Egypt, I kept hearing that social networking was the tool that was used for rallying the people, Without twitter and Facebook, this would not have occurred.

Wow,. What does this mean for the future? Once again, I think I need Marshall McLuhan to explain it to me.

Is this the beginning of the end of tyrannical dictators? Or, as I sadly suspect, a lesson learned by those tyrants. Stamp out social protest quick and with a heavy hand. I fear we are going to see a bit of each going forward. In the end, we shall see where the chips finally fall.

Still, Mr. Gandhi and Dr. King must be smiling to see another shining example of non-violent revolution.

When John Lennon wrote Revolution (1968), the song was inspired by a war protest that occurred in London which, like many anti-war protests had turned violent. His original lyrics were:

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We’d all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well you know
We'd all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be alright

During studio sessions for the White Album, Lennon changed the “count me out” to “count me out, in”, making the song ambiguous as was his feelings at the time. This was 1968, and while Lennon suggests that he was definitely anti-war by then, he was not so sure about being anti-establishment.

We all know that he later became very firm in his anti-establishment convictions, and probably wrote one of the greatest anti-establishment songs of all time, re-recorded by Green Day for the John Lennon tribute album, and a statement about the many places in the world where we are experiencing war and genocide.

Congratulations Egyptian people. Good luck in shaping your country to what you want it to be. Your ancient civilization gave the world many amazing achievements from construction to mathematics to medicine. Perhaps your new civilization will also make its mark on the world forever. You're certainly off to a good start.

In the meantime, here’s Steve Martin, or should I say King Tut..