When we arrived to film Walter Sickert & The Army [...]
Occupy Boston: Music and Protest
Something is wrong. If we cannot agree on everything, at least we can agree on that. For far too long people have been out of work. For far too long people have been losing hope, and all so quickly after we seemed to have that driving us forward. Say what you will about the elections three years ago, what you cannot say is that they did not foster discussion and a willingness to participate in a way we have not seen in a long time. For months, conversations about government were on every corner and at every dinner table. How quickly things change.
The momentum of an excited mass of people was handed over to a few dozen petulant children, who have spent the last few years blaming each other for everything, calling each other anti-American, and failing to compromise. Any wise parent called in to break up such playground behavior would have sent them all to their rooms a long time ago. Instead, things have gotten worse, and while the few prosper, the many suffer.
The people are not pleased. Over the last few years we have seen a rising tide of discontent and the formation of major groups of protest across the country. What binds these groups together is their ability to get people together in a way that seemed lost. What ties them together is anger, frustration, and maybe, just maybe, a little hope. Unified in protest, they are separated by the solutions they offer. So far, it has proven far easier to yell at each other and blame each other. It is more difficult to discuss, and to compromise. It seems that is what is needed at this point.
From the very beginning, musicians have shown up to the protests. The internet lit up when it was rumored Radiohead might show up on Wall Street. Thousands have watched fuzzy videos of Jeff Mangum leading a sing along. Tom Morello called for Guantanamo’s use as a prison for bankers. And Boston’s very own Amanda Palmer played her uke for both Dewey Square and Zuccotti Park. There just seems to be something inherent in protest that draws artists in like a magnet. And so we went down to Occupy Boston to take a listen.
We asked Hallelujah the Hills and members of the Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library to lend us their voices. This is not a video providing answers; we did not ask the bands to offer any, and stressed that we merely wanted to examine why music always follows the chants of discontent. We hope we’ve captured a part of the overall picture down there. We welcome your thoughts, as well as a spirited, respectful discussion.