Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Does our popular culture lacks a vision for war and peace?

Just heard Vera Lynn's famous WWII song, "There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover." It always makes me teary-eyed. The lyrics are so simple, but when you imagine them being sung in the midst of the worst, most all-encompassing war in human history, I find them very powerful:

There’ll be bluebirds over The white cliffs of Dover Tomorrow, just you wait and see There’ll be love and laughter And peace ever after Tomorrow, when the world is free The shepherd will tend his sheep The valley will bloom again And Jimmy will go to sleep In his own little room again There’ll be bluebirds over The white cliffs of Dover Tomorrow, just you wait and see...!
Interestingly enough, there's a famous Israeli song that has exactly the same concept woven into it. It's called, in Hebrew, "Bashana Haba ah." The English lyrics roughly translate as follows:
In a year from today, We'll sit on our verandahs, And we'll count every bird in the sky. Boys and girls, playing catch, In the meadows over yonder, While the long summer days drift on by. Wait and see, wait and see, Just how good it will be, In a year, just one year from today. Wait and see, wait and see, Just how good it will be, In a year, just one year from today
These are songs that envision a common cause and a common goal: peace for children. They're not anti-war peace songs. They're wartime peace songs. They support the war effort as the best and only way to defeat a hostile force and reestablish a peacetime millieu for the next generation. I never listen to modern pop/rock music, but I do keep aware of trends -- and I'm totally unaware of any song that expresses the same thoughts. Can anyone enlighten me on this subject. UPDATE: Here we go. Once again, someone makes the point so much better than I did. Of course, since the someone was Mark Steyn, I stand in awe, as always, of his incredible acumen and wonderful writing. Here's the first part of his Sun Times column today about winning the war on the field, but losing it in the pop culture at home and abroad:
Here are three small news items from around the world you might have missed: 1) An unemployed waitress in Berlin faces the loss of her welfare benefits after refusing a job as a prostitute in a legalized brothel. 2) A British court has ruled that a suspected terrorist from Algeria cannot be detained in custody because jail causes him to suffer a ''depressive illness.'' 3) Seventeen-year-old Jeffrey Eden of Charlestown, R.I., has been awarded an A by his teacher and the ''Silver Key'' in the Rhode Island Scholastic Art Awards for a diorama titled ''Bush/Hitler and How History Repeats Itself.'' A trio of itsy-bitsy little stories from the foot of page 27 of your daily paper, if they made it at all. But they're as revealing about the course of the war as anything going on in Iraq. The Germans, in the bad old days when their preferred field of combat was France rather than Fraulein Helga's government-regulated bondage dungeon, used to talk about ''wehrwille'' -- war will. America, Britain, Australia and a select few other countries have demonstrated they can just about muster the ''war will'' on the battlefield. On the broader cultural front, where this war in the end will be won, there's little evidence of any kind of will.