Obama -> Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Dave and I were listening to the Obama Inauguration, separated by some distance and I get the message: “It must be the Chicago style delivery, but it’s starting to sound like Gil Scott-Heron, and indeed part of the speak sounded like B-Movie:

As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation. And here’s a look at the closing numbers racism’s up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot – the House claims all ties. Jobs are down, money is scarce and common sense is at an all-time low on heavy trading.

So I responded with just “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

=http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=sV3Y6rInV7E

It doesn’t get much more powerful than this – this is 1971!!!

To which Dave found the full text of B-Movie from 1980 and the election of Reagan:

B-Movie

Well, the first thing I want to say is Mandate my ass!

Because it seems as though we’ve been convinced that 26% of the registered voters, not even 26% of the American people, but 26% of the registered voters form a mandate or a landslide. 21% voted for Skippy and 3, 4% voted for somebody else who might have been running.

But, oh yeah, I remember. In this year that we have now declared the year from Shogun to Reagan, I remember what I said about Reagan, meant it. Acted like an actor, Hollyweird. Acted like a liberal. Acted like General Franco when he acted like governor of California, then he acted like a republican. Then he acted like somebody was going to vote for him for president. And now we act like 26% of the registered voters is actually a mandate. We’re all actors in this I suppose.

What has happened is that in the last 20 years, America has changed from a producer to a consumer. And all consumers know that when the producer names the tune the consumer has got to dance. That’s the way it is. We used to be a producer very inflexible at that, and now we are consumers and, finding it difficult to understand. Natural resources and minerals will change your world. The Arabs used to be in the 3rd World. They have bought the 2nd World and put a firm down payment on the 1st one. Controlling your resources we’ll control your world. This country has been surprised by the way the world looks now. They don’t know if they want to be Matt Dillon or Bob Dylan. They don’t know if they want to be diplomats or continue the same policy – of nuclear nightmare diplomacy. John Foster Dulles ain’t nothing but the name of an airport now.

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia. They want to go back as far as they can even if it’s only as far as last week. Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards. And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment. The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse – or the man who always came to save America at the last moment someone always came to save America at the last moment especially in B movies. And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne. But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at like a B movie.

Come with us back to those inglorious days when heroes weren’t zeros. Before fair was square. When the cavalry came straight away and all-American men were like Hemingway to the days of the wondrous B movie. The producer underwritten by all the millionaires necessary will be Casper The Defensive Weinberger no more animated choice is available. The director will be Attila the Haig, running around frantically declaring himself in control and in charge. The ultimate realization of the inmates taking over at the asylum. The screenplay will be adapted from the book called Voodoo Economics by George Papa Doc Bush. Music by the Village People the very military “Macho Man.”

Company!!!
Macho, macho man!
Two-three-four.
He likes to be well, you get the point.
Huuut! Your left! Your left! Your left right, left, right, left, right!

A theme song for sabre-rallying and selling wars door-to-door. Remember, we’re looking for the closest thing we can find to John Wayne. Clichs abound like kangaroos courtesy of some spaced out Marlin Perkins, a Reagan contemporary. Clichés like, itchy trigger finger and tall in the saddle and riding off or on into the sunset. Clichs like, Get off of my planet by sundown! More so than clichés like, he died with his boots on. Marine tough the man is. Bogart tough the man is. Cagney tough the man is. Hollywood tough the man is. Cheap stick tough. And Bonzo’s substantial. The ultimate in synthetic selling: A Madison Avenue masterpiece a miracle a cotton-candy politician. Presto! Macho!

Macho, macho man!

Put your orders in America. And quick as Kodak your leaders duplicate with the accent being on the nukes – cause all of a sudden we have fallen prey to selective amnesia – remembering what we want to remember and forgetting what we choose to forget. All of a sudden, the man who called for a blood bath on our college campuses is supposed to be Dudley God-damn Do-Right?

You go give them liberals hell Ronnie. That was the mandate. To the new Captain Bligh on the new ship of fools. It was doubtlessly based on his chameleon performance of the past – as a liberal democrat as the head of the Studio Actor’s Guild. When other celluloid saviours were cringing in terror from McCarthy Ron stood tall. It goes all the way back from Hollywood to hillbilly. From liberal to libellous, from Bonzo to Birch idol born again. Civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, it’s all wrong. Call in the cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild. God damn it first one wants freedom, then the whole damn world wants freedom.

Nostalgia, that’s what we want the good ol’ days when we gave ’em hell. When the buck stopped somewhere and you could still buy something with it. To a time when movies were in black and white and so was everything else. Even if we go back to the campaign trail, before six-gun Ron shot off his face and developed hoof-in-mouth. Before the free press went down before full-court press. And were reluctant to review the menu because they knew the only thing available was Crow.

Lon Chaney, our man of a thousand faces – no match for Ron. Doug Henning does the make-up – special effects from Grecian Formula 16 and Crazy Glue. Transportation furnished by the David Rockefeller of Remote Control Company. Their slogan is, Why wait for 1984? You can panic now…and avoid the rush.

So much for the good news

As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation. And here’s a look at the closing numbers racism’s up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot – the House claims all ties. Jobs are down, money is scarce and common sense is at an all-time low on heavy trading. Movies were looking better than ever and now no one is looking because, we’re starring in a B movie. And we would rather had John Wayne, we would rather had John Wayne.

“You don’t need to be in no hurry.
You ain’t never really got to worry.
And you don’t need to check on how you feel.
Just keep repeating that none of this is real.
And if you’re sensing, that something’s wrong,
Well just remember, that it won’t be too long
Before the director cuts the scene, yea.”

This ain’t really your life,
Ain’t really your life,
Ain’t really ain’t nothing but a movie.

[Refrain repeated about 25 times or more in an apocalyptic crescendo with a military cadence.

This ain’t really your life,
Ain’t really your life,
Ain’t really ain’t nothing but a movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc4LvadyXCc

We used to be able to quote “The Revolution…”, “B-Movie” and stuff like this verbatim. He was a true prophet.

The last great audio I had of him saying it like it was was this:

=http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=f3hCQcrfg28

and of course, the Bottle. It was the Bottle that started it all for us…

=http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_b2F-XX0Ol0

which was a key favourite at an u18’s Disco which used to be each Friday Night at the Bournemouth Winter Gardens. This must have been around 1982. Nothing else sounded like this, and it transformed our already pricked political consciousness with a newer radicalism and confirmed my commitment to radical politics. Music often provides us with a soundtrack to our politics, and I have been no different.

Dave and I have seen Gil Scott-Heron twice, once at the Town & Country club at Kentish Town and once at the Jazz Cafe in Camden. Both times both he and the Amnesia Express were fabulous. I have a couple of signed Albums from him. Despite some seminal anti-drugs work in the 1970’s and 1980’s, GSH has succumbed to Cocaine and has been in and out of gaol. He is out now, sadly HIV+ and I pray that he stays clean and starts creating again.

Now is the time when prophetic black voices should be prepared to monitor, to proclaim and to admonish if necessary, the most powerful man in the world.

The revolution will not be televised.

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

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,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
bbout 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.

ah yes, in the end…

The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.