Street Song, Street Songs, and Collapse

I’ve been making  noise about addressing at length what I see going on given the results of the 2016 election—what I’ve been calling “The Sun Sets in the West.” It’s not some new insight, but something I’ve been watching and studying all my life. I think what we’re seeing is the collapse of the old system—not just in America, but in Europe as well. When I say “system,” I mean the elaborate environment that has been created since the so-called Western Enlightenment of the 18th Century and has taken over the world—capitalism, democracy, the nation state, progress, science, and so on. It has gone as far as it can go and is contracting. To a lot of people, that sounds outrageous and demands further explanation—which is my intention. But I can’t do it right now. There are two reasons. One is that my understanding keeps changing—not in the sense of “shifting.” It’s more like, “yes, that’s all true, but that’s not half of it.” The other reason is that, quite unexpectedly, the recordings I’ve been making to supplement my book Street Song have grown far beyond my original idea. They’re demanding all my time, and I don’t like to split my attention. I will get around to detailing my ideas about the collapse of the system—I think they are quite valid, I see evidence of their truth every day—but that’s going to have to wait a little while yet. I foresee the music being finished this summer.

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4 Responses to “Street Song, Street Songs, and Collapse”

  1. stiegem Says:

    Many of us see what is happening, but (like yourself) find we must attend to what we have been doing and complete that. It is all occurring so quickly due to technological advances and many other things. What to do! What to do! “Tear Down the Turnip House! Chase off the old man! Chase off the old woman! Put the little girl in the Hobyah bag!” (quote from the children’s book “THE HOBYAHS” by Simon Stern copyright 1977 – love it!) Sometimes I like to think the solution might come from nothing we ever expected. But it really is way more complicated than that. So I will go with Hawkin: “Where there is LIFE there is HOPE; where there is HOPE there is LIFE.”
    Ideas are important, especially your’s, Mark!

    • markbittner Says:

      There’s something to “the solution might come from nothing we ever expected.” That shouldn’t be passed over lightly.

  2. TZ Says:

    Imagining the desks of those in our marbled halls, all I see is stacks upon stacks upon piles upon mounds of unfinished problems that will never be addressed. Events and time are accelerating at such a pace, are we even meant to keep up at this point? What will be will be. Maybe that’s the big lesson. I’m weary of stressing over this mess. Your book would provide a nice distraction. I think I will re-read The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill to remind myself that you truly are a writer well worth waiting for. I think at this stage of the game, your loyal readers would purchase manuscript copies. Patience has never been one of my virtues, but you are helping me in that lesson.

    • markbittner Says:

      My agent has the manuscript and is making the rounds. But it’s not the kind of book that publishers are going to fight over. But I believe that someone will get it, that is, understand what it is and want it. I’m going to post something here soon about the music I’m recording. I’ve come to see it as an integral part of the project. It’s turning out much better than I dreamed possible.

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