Randomly Rambling: Music & Social Movements

R.I.P Cilla Black.  She passed on August 1, at age 72.

I first heard her sing in 1964, on the radio (AM, of course), a song called “You’re My World.”  I loved it, and I made my mom buy the 45.

I was 8.  I still can sing the whole song by memory.  I don’t know what it was with her, I think maybe I just loved the very few independent “modern” singers at that time (which also included Dusty Springfield).

This was way, WAY before women played instruments in rock bands – they were all almost universally lead singers.  Or solo acts, like Cilla and Dusty.  It was still very much a man’s world back then, on the very edge of the sexual revolution and feminism.

There were very few role models for little girls.  When we were expected to grow up, marry, have kids. When we were not expected to be good at math or science.  We didn’t talk back, we still had dress codes in school, and we screamed at Beatles’ concerts.

It’s hard to imagine a world like that now.  Even that song I loved, “You’re My World”, ended with the lines


Darn it!  I was going to quote the last 2 lines, but my fear of being made to pony-up any amount of money for the priviledge to do so, stopped me.  Here’s a link to a video of Ms. Black singing it, live.

Suffice to say, the last two lines basically stated that if the relationship ended, so did the singer’s world.

Aside #1: Ms. Black did not write the song.  It was originally written – in Italian – by two guys named Gino Paoli and Umberto Bindi (“Il Mio Mondo”, 1963), then Carl Sigman wrote a loose translation in English for producer George Martin.  That’s the song Ms. Black made famous – it was recorded at Abbey Road Studios (“You’re My World”, Wikipedia).

Men defined women back then.  That is the world I grew up in.   Men were supposed to take care of women, protect us, defend us, charge in on a white horse, come by the house with the glass slipper, and so on.

My observation of adults did not reflect that, but I bought into it anyway.  I knew my family was different, I just assumed everyone else’s was of the “knight/princess” variety.

TV reflected that idea, too.  Moms wore dresses and stayed home, dads wore hats/suits and went to work.  My family looked like that from the outside, when I was a little girl.

Here are pictures of how adults dressed back then.

But on TV, Mom and Dad didn’t get drunk and have screaming arguments in the street in front of their house, ending with a dramatic storming out at 3 AM, swearing never to return (over and over again – for years I never got a decent night’s sleep).

Today, that would have been all over the internet and possibly the news.

Back then, people just acted as if nothing had happened.  It was kind of like the popular TV show, “The Twilight Zone”.

But I digress.

My point is, back in the 1960s, women and girls still often took back seats to men.

If you want a really good indication of what that world was like, listen to or read the lyrics to 1963’s hit “Wives and Lovers” (Burt Bacharach, what in hell were you thinking?).  Yes, people really did think like that.  It’s a song that has stuck in my head because I really, really hated it – even as a little girl, it gave me a creepy feeling.

Writing about women’s husbands leaving them because they didn’t take the curlers out of their hair!  Or because they didn’t put on makeup and a dress before their husbands came home from work!

Even later in the 1960s, during social upheaval, It was common back then for women to make the signs for demonstrations, and make the coffee for the meetings, but not be in on the planning.  Even in many leftist circles, we were still 2nd-class citizens.  There were exceptions but we won’t address that today.

It was so ingrained in society, that even when I left home in 1973 to go out into the big, bad world, my mom’s parting shot to me was

“You better find a man to marry you, because God knows you are too stupid to take care of yourself.”

Aside #2: This relationship with my mother was probably one huge reason I have never liked people who drink.  I think she might have been a decent person had she not been an alcoholic – but I never knew her when she wasn’t.

My point is, even the “progressives” at that time – which included my parents – were not really all that progressive.

And later, when Ms Magazine became popular, and a former Playboy bunny became the public mainstream voice of feminism, it was still very exclusionary – but on a different level.

I remember complaining to my history teacher – who wore a woman’s symbol necklace and who encouraged me to join the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.) – that even the fees for high-school students were more than most people could afford, and that I didn’t see anybody but middle- and upper-class white women joining.

I didn’t join.  I wouldn’t even read the magazine.  I have never been a fan of exclusionary so-called progressive movements.

This is not, in any way, to bash feminists.  I consider myself a feminist, too.  This is bashing classism within the feminist movement.   The leadership sees gender as the primary contradiction in society.

I see class as the primary contradiction in society.  I did at 16, and I still do today.

Men are not the enemy.  “Men’s Rights Advocates” probably are, but not men in general.

Anti-women sentiment/misogeny/gender inequality/violence against women are huge problems, yes they are.   Those problems would be ones I would address first, myself, if someone would just give me a damn ride so I could volunteer grrrr.

And so are racism, bigotry against people who love differently, and discrimination against people who have disabilities.  To name just a few of the major categories.

But at the end of the day, if you answer this one, tiny question, it all comes under this one umbrella:  Who profits from oppressing these folks?

Aside #3: It’s not a very large percentage of the population.  The young peoples’ movements on Wall St and in Seattle (and elsewhere) got that right, it’s about 1% or so.  Some of us must have taught our kids well.  

It’s interesting – but predictable – how quickly the Occupy Movement quieted down.  As with most class-based movements, this is always the case.  Co-opting people (i.e., paying people off) is probably the single most successful way to destroy a social movement  – just look at people who were supposed activists in the 1960s who are quite wealthy today and/or connected to the Democratic Party.

If that doesn’t work, though (you know, when someone with principles can’t be bought off), there’s always driving them nuts (the CIA used LSD for this, amongst other things), making sure they’re poor, jailing them, or killing them (MOVE in Philadelphia).

It’s always necessary to silence class analysis, always.

That doesn’t mean people stop trying.  Someone always sees.  Someone always speaks out. Though usually it’s not someone from the class actually being oppressed.  Ironically, there is still a class bias within social movements, even as they present a fairly accurate class position on things.

“Don’t lead, just support” seems to be lost on them.  Intellectualism has greatly reduced the effectiveness of every social movement in this country, post-labor movement heyday (Google it, young ‘uns).

Every time a progressive uses the word “sheeple”, I want to strangle them.  This is the attitude I am writing about.  I expect it from the right-wing, but it infuriates me from the left.

They don’t know what it’s like to be poor, which in itself isn’t worthy of condemnation – it’s the lack of empathy, the smugness that they know it all and don’t have to really try to understand what it’s like to be poor, the “we know what’s best for the masses” bs – that’s what depresses and enrages me.

Which brings me full-circle to one of the reasons I write this blog.

It started out as mourning the death of a brilliant singer, and then ended up, as everything inevitably does…with class contradiction.

Y’all see why I am a hopeless case?  I can’t be any other way and most of the time I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about it.   I desperately hate being poor, but I hate it that anyone else is poor, too, and I guess this is my purpose in life – to let y’all know what it’s really like.

Until I win the lottery.  Or get a good-paying job.  Either one, at this point, seems highly unlikely. But money, aside from making one’s life bearable, is also necessary to fund social movements, and I would love to be in a position to do so.

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”  – Warren Buffett

Like I said, laugh or cry…

Today’s weirdness comes from the site “Malcom’s Musings”, via “The Anomalist” website, and it’s an article about a gnome abduction.

No, not the stealing of garden gnomes by pranksters – though I find those stories highly amusing – but the attempted abduction of a human being by a gnome or something similar.  It’s quite a long post, and some will chalk up the person’s experience to a possible bad reaction to a prescription drug, a sleep disorder, or a combination of the two.

Except her kids apparently had similar “sightings” as children, and never told her about the until she started relating her experience, years later.   So, that struck me as, while not exactly lending credibility to this woman’s story, certainly head-scratching material.  I don’t know what to make of it.

However, I prefer my “whatever it is” that throws things, to invading gnomes.  I find gnomes much scarier.

By the way, the ghost/spirit/whothehellknows is active again, usually making very loud crashing noises in the kitchen. When kitties and I go to check it out – because the activity doesn’t scare my cats at all, oddly enough – nothing is amiss.

It also swept some items off a table, as I was standing right in front of it.  That was weird, watching things move when you are not touching them.

There is also very faint cello music, on occasion. When I asked out loud if it played cello when it was alive, the music abruptly stopped.  I still have no idea what he/she/it wants.  Nancy thinks I should get a tape recorder and see if I can get any EVPs.

I agree.  I can’t afford one, but I agree.

Today’s recommendation is for a website by “The Association of Independent Information Professionals”.  They help people start their own businesses as, basically, information gatherers.  Because for every person who hates researching when they have a particular need for information, there is at least one other person who loves to look things up.

I think that kind of job would be right up my alley.  I did tons of it in grad school, and do tons of it for my blog or just out of curiosity.  I think, though, that like everything else, it requires money.  But maybe one of y’all might find the site helpful.

The other recommendation I had, I stumbled across while searching for a legitimate article about the CIA’s project MKULTRA (to back up my assertion about people being driven crazy by being unknowingly dosed with LSD).  It’s a film from 1955, financed by Sandoz, which shows a (willing) test subject tripping.

It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the CIA – though the person who posted the video states this particular experiment was funded by the CIA.  I can’t find evidence of that but who knows?

It’s called “Schizophrenic Model Psychosis Induced by LSD 25”.

Be good.  Be kind.  And if you see something move in your garden, out of the corner of your eye…



4 thoughts on “Randomly Rambling: Music & Social Movements

  1. charlies5169

    I was in Edinburgh when the news of Cilla Black’s passing was announced. Big, big news here. But I suppose a suitable amount of time has passed because I saw the tabloids today screaming about Cilla’s Black Days. The accompanying photo looked like a promo for “The Living Dead”.


  2. Victoria Post author

    I thought you probably would hear a lot about it when over there. She was a much-loved celebrity, and didn’t get nearly the exposure she should have in the US (here she was mostly known for being a friend of the Beatles’).

    I saw what purportedly was the last picture taken of her (with a fan) and, at 72, she was still as lovely as ever. I’m glad whatever pictures you are referring to, I haven’t seen. The tabloids can be so cruel, even to a “national treasure”.

    She will be missed.



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