This is utterly fantastic.
Solters has been bugging me for weeks to watch this, but I’ve been too caught up in my life, and my streaming queue…there’s “Mrs. Maisel” and “Roma” and the Boss on Broadway, but I don’t think any of those can capture the zeitgeist, can focus my attention as much as this documentary on Bob Marley.
We’re getting to the age where there’s footage of everything. And for a while, those who were there are still alive.
Marley has become the lord of the Trustafarians more than the Rastafarians. You can have a neck tattoo, but if you’re wearing dreads you’re labeled an outcast. Maybe a harmless outcast… Probably somebody with too much money into reggae and…
That’s so far from the origin.
Marley truly came from Trenchtown. And when you see the footage of the neighborhood you’ll be horrified, it’s full of shacks. But somehow, Bob found his musical path and became a legend. But what many don’t know is embedded in those famous songs is a diary of what happened when, with Bob’s attitudes about it. After being shot, after moving to London, Bob cut “Exodus,” possibly his most famous album, and when they match the lyrics to the events, your hair stands on end.
You see there was a political tug of war in Jamaica. Between the establishment, ultimately connected to Cuba, and the insurgents.
The insurgents were supported by the CIA.
Jimmy Cliff talks about being questioned by the CIA…HE’S A MUSICIAN!
But this was the Reagan era. Maybe that’s what killed music, Reagan, who legitimized greed and put music in the back seat. Given a choice of riches and truth, many baby boomers chose riches, and the United States has never been the same. Back then, the story in D.C. was how the government was interfering all over the world, now in the Trump era, it’s about the pulling back. And the irony is a new cold war is beginning. Putin takes countries and we don’t say a word. Angering China is against our interests, they’ve got more people. As does India, where the best and the brightest used to come work in Silicon Valley, but now since immigrants are the enemy and visas are restricted, they stay home and innovate.
History is prologue and it’s usually ignored. We are sliding backwards, we are a divided country, but unlike in Jamaica, we do not have a Bob Marley to unite us.
That’s what Bob tried to do, then he was shot. That’s what this documentary is ostensibly about, who shot Bob Marley?
And there’s a bit of an answer at the end, but the journey is more important. Marley refuses to be criticized for moving uptown where the rich are, he says he’s bringing Trenchtown to the respected area, he’s not selling out.
And not only are there the two political parties, there are the Dons, that’s right, just like in the Mafia.
And the U.S. government is afraid of musicians, like Ivan played by Jimmy Cliff in “The Harder They Come.” That film played in Boston for years, today college students are infatuated with “The Avengers.”
It’s the culture I tell you. America has become cutthroat. With the haves and the have-nots. And the truth is the haves want to protect what they’ve got. Used to be only the rich Republicans, now it’s the rich Democrats, they worked hard to get where they are and they don’t want to sacrifice.
But being a musician is different. You live on your talent, you live by your wits. You need no degree, in fact a degree won’t help. You wander the world experiencing, thinking, and then you make your statement.
Bob certainly made his.
You think the Marley legend cannot get any bigger.
But then you see this “ReMastered” documentary and you see what a giant he was, how much there was behind the music.
And this is not a VH1 program to set up a tour. Marley’s been dead for decades.
But it is a visitation to what once was, when musicians were kingpins and the establishment didn’t like it. Hell, every election has some right-winger employing a classic rock song until they’re sued. You see those who wrote those songs don’t want to be ripped-off, whereas today’s artists would love to be ripped-off, as long as you pay them. They’re the children of Reagan, even if they don’t know it.
And Ronald Reagan has been portrayed as a genius saint, they don’t stop naming buildings and highways after him, if you didn’t live through that era you’d think he was Lincoln. But it’s all part of the plan, with the Federalist Society, and the negative portrayal of taxes, which are needed to pave our roads, school our kids and update our infrastructure, they say it’s all about freedom, but really it’s about chaos and bondage. And no one can rise above, the only person with total mindshare is Trump. And the news outlets adore him, they’ve never been this profitable. And challengers are not only negatively portrayed by the right, but the left too, to show the right they’re not biased, what a country!
Kinda like Jamaica.
Used to be art came from unrest.
But that was before tax cuts eviscerated school music programs, before intellectuals pooh-poohed the popular and the poor did whatever their handlers told them to. We’re all in our own silos, believing we’re right.
What we need is a leader, someone not in it for personal gain, just an arbiter speaking the truth.
Like Bob Marley.
P.S. You might want to watch this with the subtitles on.