Thursday, July 12, 2007


Over at CrunchyCon, Rod Dreher writes of
this fantastic Quebecois song called "Degeneration," by a band called Mes Aieux (My Ancestors), articulating a traditionalist/crunchy-con protest against modern emptiness and anomie. It's subtitled in English, so non-Francophones can follow it... I'm told that this song is now one of the most popular in Quebec.
I'd say this song captures some of the liabilities of late modernity to a tee. And over at YouTube, I see one of the commenters has hit an associated nail square on the head:
Suggest to a modernist that his beloved modernity may be in the slightest way unworkable or even less-than-ideal, and he will react with the fury of the most hidebound reactionary, reiterating his tired mantra that "we must look forward, not backward". He doesn't want us to question his plans to fully and completely impose his vision upon the world.
Spot on target. The myrmidons of modernity, the technocrats, and the bureaucrats will tell us to just shut the hell up, get with the program, and enjoy living in the empty, hollowed-out, deracinated modern world their efforts have produced. But some of us refuse to submit. That's one of a number of reasons why I live on a gravel road, far out into the countryside, surrounded by cornfields, and amongst people who still have their heads screwed on straight. I've seen the alternative: I lived amidst it in academia most of my young adult years. Now in my middle age my aim is to do what little I can to help one small and still relatively sane corner of the world stay on an even keel.

From the Cartesian cogito ergo sum onward, modernity has been very, very much a mixed bag. Lots of pluses, lots and lots of minuses. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty about the modern world that I like and appreciate. But at the same time, I've always thought that modern culture is at its core deeply, radically dysfunctional: conducing strongly to the emptiness so aptly expressed in that song. That, however, is a rant for another time.

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Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Further thought: Another notion strikes me just now, perhaps seeing as the song is in French... I could almost imagine Jack Kerouac writing those lyrics, they sound a lot like a nostalgic lament for the life he was often seeking but never found...

Add a Kerouackesque mention of everyone sitting around the table eating boiled cabbage for supper, that's about all that's lacking...

Thursday, July 12, 2007 7:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haunting song

5 generations and by the 5th generation... hate to admit it but i resemble that

Friday, July 13, 2007 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger urthshu said...

Nice. :-) I could sort of follow the french in it [sung is odd to me, sometimes]. Have to send it to about 3 zillion folks now....

Friday, July 13, 2007 8:04:00 PM  

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