May 15, 2016

"There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock news and no pictures of hairy armed women liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose."

"The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb or Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash or Englebert Humperdink. The revolution will not be televised. The revolution will not be right back after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people. You will not have to worry about a dove in your bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl. The revolution will not go better with Coke. The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath. The revolution will put you in the driver's seat. The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised. The revolution will be no re-run, brothers. The revolution will be live."



Goodbye to Gil Scott-Heron, who died on Friday at the age of 62. [UPDATE: I misread a Facebook post. He died 5 years ago. Sorry. Sorry, I'd forgotten seeing that he'd died before.]
[A]long with the work of the Last Poets, a group of black nationalist performance poets who emerged alongside him in the late 1960s and early ’70s, Mr. Scott-Heron established much of the attitude and the stylistic vocabulary that would characterize the socially conscious work of early rap groups like Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions. And he has remained part of the DNA of hip-hop by being sampled by stars like Kanye West.

“You can go into Ginsberg and the Beat poets and Dylan, but Gil Scott-Heron is the manifestation of the modern word,” Chuck D, the leader of Public Enemy, told The New Yorker in 2010. “He and the Last Poets set the stage for everyone else.”
Here's that New Yorker article: "New York Is Killing Me/The unlikely survival of Gil Scott-Heron."
Scott-Heron calls himself a bluesologist. He is sixty-one, tall and scrawny, and he lives in Harlem, in a ground-floor apartment that he doesn’t often leave. It is long and narrow, and there’s a bedspread covering a sliding glass door to a patio, so no light enters, making the place seem like a monk’s cell or a cave. Once, when I thought he was away, I called to convey a message, and he answered and said, “I’m here. Where else would a caveman be but in his cave?” 
ADDED: As noted above, I misread something that made me think he'd just died. I can see that I blogged his death at the time, quoting him:
"'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,' that was about the fact that the first change that takes place is in your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and the way you move. So when we said that 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,' we were saying that the thing that’s gonna change people is something that no one will ever be able to capture on film. It will just be something that you see, and all of a sudden you realize I’m on the wrong page, or I’m on the right page but I’m on the wrong note, and I’ve got to get in sync with everyone else to understand what’s happening in this country."

26 comments:

traditionalguy said...

That makes sense. The Revolution had no friends, no family, and nothing to live for.

madAsHell said...

??? Wikipedia says he died 5 years ago. ???

"Scott-Heron died on the afternoon of May 27, 2011"

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, you are right. I misread a Facebook post. He did die in 2011.

Chuck said...

I begged a UW Business School prof to play that video for her marketing class. I'm not sure if she did. I've often thought that "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" was my favorite poem of the 1970's.

It sure would have made for a different ending to Mad Men if they chosen it instead of "I'd like to teach the world to sing."

madAsHell said...

Sorry, I'm sure that kills the thread.
For some odd reason, I think you might have said goodbye to him in 2011 in this blog.

Phil 3:14 said...

The obituary will not be televised.

rhhardin said...

Hairy-armed women pick up fewer undiscovered ticks.

Ann Althouse said...

"Sorry, I'm sure that kills the thread."

Yeah, help it live.

Maybe if we clapped.

chickelit said...

Yeah, help it live.

Someone please rewrite/update the lyrics for our times.

chickelit said...

I really don't like the idea of lauding/noticing people only on the occasion of their death because it's mostly just a race to be "first," much like those annoying commenters who demarcate their primacy. It's also akin to honoring or noting the anniversaries of their deaths instead of their births. I like it when a blogger picks a person--living or dead--who never got recognition and causes people to notice them.

Oso Negro said...

Heh. WAKE up Meadehouse, or you're all through!

Ron said...

"The theme song will not be written by Kayne or Bono, nor sung by Lady Gaga, Keisha, Beyonce, or Fiona Apple. The revolution will be livestreamed. The revolution will be right back after a Tweet, a Selfie, and a Like. You will have to worry about a Criminal or a Con Man in the White House, a Giant Debt That Never Shrinks, and Nukes in The Hands of Crazy People Who Hate Us. The revolution will go better with Coke, the bigger the size of the cup the better. The revolution will fight the barnacles that slow every one of our ships of Joy, of Commerce, and Positivity. The revolution will put in the passengers seat and let the car do the damn boring work of getting you where you tell it to go. The revolution will be livestreamed, will be livestreamed, will be livestreamed, will be livestreamed. The revolution will be on when we want to watch it. The revolution will be livestreamed."

chickelit said...

Bravo, Ron!

Ron said...

Thnx Chickelit!

madAsHell said...

Maybe if we clapped.

OK, Tinkerbell!!!

Bill Peschel said...

Ron, that was great. I wanna set it to music.

Howard said...

Hey Chuck: I agree 100% with your comment. There is hope for you yet.

The reality is: The Revolution Will Not Be. It will not be Bernie buried beneath Hillary's super delegates...It will not be Trump selling out in a yuuuge deal with bank speculators, corporate offshore sweatshoppers and the drone weapon retailers. Stay tuned to be disappointed because Huxley defeats Orwell. The Revolution Will Not Be unless teabaggers get together with black lives matter with the unions with the small business owners with the homophobic dirtballs and the socialist parasites... The Revolution Will Not Be.

D. said...

So in this "multicultural" society, can i now trash black "culture"?

EDH said...

Whitey On the Moon

A rat done bit my sister Nell
With Whitey on the moon
Her face and arms began to swell
And Whitey's on the moon

I can't pay no doctor bills
But Whitey's on the moon
Ten years from now I'll be paying still
While whitey's on the moon

You know, the man just upped my rent last night
Cause whitey's on the moon
No hot water, no toilets, no lights
But whitey's on the moon

I wonder why he's uppin' me?
Cause whitey's on the moon?
Well i was already given him fifty a week
And now whitey's on the moon

Taxes takin' my whole damn check
The junkies make me a nervous wreck
The price of food is goin up
And if all that crap wasn't enough
A rat done bit my sister nell
With whitey on the moon

Her face and arm began to swell
And whitey's on the moon

With all that money i made last year
For whitey on the moon
How come I ain't got no money here?
Hmm, whitey's on the moon

You know I just about had my fill
Of whitey on the moon
I think I'll send these doctor bills
airmail special
(To whitey on the moon)

D. said...

>The theme song will not be written by "prince" or "stevie wonder", nor sung by "beyounce, michael jackson, aretha franklin or snope doggey dog. The revolution will not be televised. The revolution will not be right back after a message about a black ice, black marks, or black people. You will not have to worry about a dove in your bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl. The revolution will not go better with Coke. The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath. The revolution will put you in the driver's seat. The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised. The revolution will be no re-run, brothers. The revolution will be live."<

low level communist jive

D. said...

>You know I just about had my fill
Of whitey on the moon
I think I'll send these doctor bills<


if you work you might make the money to pay your bills? also why didn't the great black culture of al sharpton make it to the moon? too buzy shaking down corps.?

Real American said...

on facebook, i see random RIP posts linking an obit from years ago, but my friends who post it are acting like it just happened. is this some weird FB phenomenon or related to the feeling I get when someone famous does, in fact, die and my reaction is "I'm shocked! I thought he/she died years ago."

William said...

I have a vague memory of hearing this poem during its moment. Apparently it had more impact on others than on me. My observation is that the poet catalogues the white noise in the background of our lives without realizing that he himself is a trifle ripple of dissonance in the general hum. The revolution was not televised because it did not happen.

Wilbur said...

GSH was also known for: "What's the word? Johannesberg."

David said...

The revolution will be completely forgotten 5 years later.

Bill Peschel said...

RealAmerican, I get some FB post alerts by email. I click on them, and see family photos from a few years ago. I think FB generates "memory" posts not sent by the owner. Hence this.