Maybe you’ve got to be 75 not to give a fuck.
That’s right, Paul Simon was 34 back when SNL launched, when he made fun of himself, when he was still a soft rock superstar as opposed to a world musician, before he infected a younger generation via MTV and Chevy Chase in the eighties.
The seventies were a weird era, we had sixties hangover, we knew we’d been though something that would never return, we were looking inward instead of outward, testing our own personal limits, and that’s what SNL was about, not an institution without impact, but a clubhouse for a generation, whose sensibility said we’re not part of the mainstream and we can make fun of not only them, but ourselves and our culture.
Not that Mr. Simon has been able to have an impact recently, times have changed too much, his records get reviewed but his audience only wants to hear the oldies and the younger generation is impenetrable so it’s like he’s in the rearview mirror, he’s even toyed with retirement, and then he goes on Colbert and blows away all the youngsters a third his age.
You see a baby boomer has a viewpoint. Scratch under the surface, get rid of the BMW and the fancy meals, all the lifestyle stuff, and a boomer remembers what once was, when we were all on the same page, against the war, when if you weren’t questioning everything, you weren’t conscious.
Very different from today’s generation. First and foremost it’s split. Many are left and many are right. And a whole bunch of them feel unheard, like they don’t even matter, as their parents and the press keep shitting on them, deploring the ethos of the millennials. And their best and the brightest are mercenary fucks like Zuckerberg and Spiegel, if you think Facebook and Snapchat are equivalent to the Fillmore East, the gigs of yore, you never went. There were no cameras, no selfies, it was about the music, like-minded people coming together to celebrate the elixir of life.
But it hasn’t been that way for a very long time.
And then Paul Simon goes on Colbert and captures the zeitgeist.
This is not Chris Stapleton and Kevin Bacon imitating ZZ Top on Fallon, that’s just supposed to be funny, this clip has a VIEWPOINT!
First and foremost you’re stunned that Simon can actually play, he starts picking and your heart melts, this is the sound that had you addicted to the radio, going to the show way back when.
And when Paul starts crapping on “59th Street Bridge Song”…it’s the antithesis of today, where everybody’s boasting, trumpeting their accomplishments, worried if they don’t claim every bit of their CV and more they’ll be left out in the scrum of life. Hell, ever read anybody’s bio today? You’d think they’re President! Oops! A blowhard self-promoter IS President!
And now my inbox is gonna go wild. That’s what you don’t realize if you’re not in the game, the gotcha people who breathe down your throat anytime you take a left wing position. Hell, the media missed it, because the reporters are faceless and don’t engage, but play on the internet and you see the real America.
But you cannot be afraid.
And Stephen Colbert is not afraid. Which is why his show just won the season war, beat Fallon. Because it’s not about appealing to everybody, but SOMEBODY! Just by playing you’re gonna alienate so many people, by having a viewpoint, ignore them, those aligned with you will be titillated and will double-down.
Hello lamppost, nice to see ya
We might get bombed by North Korea
We’re gettin’ close to World War III
So run for the shelters
This is the sixties ethos, this is the essence of the SNL of yore, you take something innocuous and with a bit of creativity and insight you turn it into something cutting and poignant, it resonates with the audience, your intelligence shines through, and in the internet era nothing is more powerful, take that fashion and makeup!
The Arctic’s meltin’
The seas are boilin’
These aren’t the first pants that I’m soilin’
We won’t survive the century
We’re all doomed
I’m feelin’ groovy
Simon is not afraid to participate, he doesn’t put all the weight on Colbert, he’s willing to do the heavy lifting, unlike today’s wankers. Furthermore, who doesn’t like some toilet humor, especially boomers who were scared shitless the first time around, who hid under their desks to prevent the carnage of a nuclear war.
Kellyanne Conway makes no sense
And even if Trump goes we’re stuck with Mike Pence
But he might win the big one in 2020
Nevertheless, all is groovy
Name names, take your shot, don’t play nice, have a viewpoint, how come Colbert and Simon know this and the younger generation does not?
But comedians are more powerful than musicians today, not only do they sell tickets they speak truth, about our society, Netflix is all over them, the specials are abundant, from edgy people like Chappelle and Norm Macdonald and soon Chris Rock. TV is willing to take a risk, musicians?
And whether consciously or unconsciously, Paul Simon is acting positively in the now. It’s not about sitting at home concocting perfect albums for three years that are ultimately ignored, but being in the game, taking chances, creating all the time, taking a shot at going viral.
And so far, this clip has not.
But the truth is it’s not like the old days, there’s a delay, the word doesn’t spread so fast, it takes time to percolate.
This clip made me smile and feel good, made me feel that I am not alone and I’m a member of a team which may be losing today but could win tomorrow.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU ASK FOR?