Sunday, April 20, 2008

Where Are the Young Ones?

A great friend sent me some CD mixes recently -- rained them on me, actually. This morning I woke determined not to listen to the offal spewing from the mouths of Russert and Kurtz and the rest, and instead popped in one from my heyday.

Damn if it didn't start with Nina Simone's "Strange Fruit," bald, galling, rage. Soon it rolled into Baez's powerful "All the Weary Mothers of the Earth," and on through Sweet Honey's "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," into Grace Slick's weirdly activist, brilliantly surreal "Dream," letting up a little for Carole King's lyrical "Way Over Yonder," and Laura Nyro's magnificent "Eli." Bizarrely athematic, thematic selections. Or maybe it's just me.

I realized by the second pass that part of why we're starving here, ossified by fear and overwhelmed by the complexities and sheer weight of it all is that we ain't got great women protest artists.

We need them so badly now, even more now than then.

Every generation has them, right? Where are they? Where are the young ones? Somebody tell me who's calling us up and out now, who's feeding our spirits with liquid fire, who's showing us which way to go? Somebody tell me they're out there and I'm just listening to the wrong station.