Friday, May 04, 2007



The recent Rolling Stone magazine celebrated its 40th year in publication. It’s crammed with interviews. Nicholson is hilarious. The piece below is part of an interview with Mick Jagger by Gerri Hirshey, photo of Jagger by Anton Corbijn. Jagger's comment gets at something I’ve thought about often, though Jagger doesn’t draw the lesson out as clearly as I would. War is what causes civilizations to go out of kilter. War causes disjointing of society. Fathers and mothers gone, children parentless, fear everywhere. George Bush and his cronies, and the warhawks of previous generations, have disjointed society and, then, they have nerve to blame others for their messes. Recall “Dances With Wolves”? Recall what the Lieutenant realized about war, how it was so much different when you were clearly defending home and family, rather than some abstract cause? Why do some old farts never get the message? If there were a case for capital punishment, it ought to be meted out to those who propose to send others off to war. That’d be the end of war. And so many more mental and social ills.

Would you agree that baby boom children after the war precipitated a significant generational

I don't completely agree. The first cultural break probably started as far back as the Twenties—after the First World War, when girls started wearing short dresses and didn't wear bras. The jazz thing was quite wild, and people who had money took quite a lot of drugs. If they didn't, they got drunk. So I think there was a huge break after the First World War—culturally, musically with the Jazz Age. My mother knew
 those Twenties dances, which were quite wild. She used to teach me how to do 
them—the Charleston and the Black Bottom.

That's quite a visual, you and Mum in the Jagger front parlor.

I loved jumping about, and my mother knew them all, the generational new dances. My mother also used to jitterbug. We called it jiving. When the girls jumped around there was
 much more freedom in those movements than there had been. The previous dancing, which I tried to learn as a child and was terrible at—ballroom—was the only other dancing you were 
taught. So jitterbugging was part of another youthful 
break. I think that was a tremendous cultural break, 
this kind of behavior.

Around the time of the Second World War, you had the big rebellion with the clothes, with the [swing era] zoot suits. In England, that became Edwardian, which was the teddy boys in the early Fifties. You had all these rebellious-youth things. I think they were all sequential. As far as clothes and fashion are concerned, making a statement vis-a-vis your parents, cultural tastes, that was certainly going on in the Forties, after the war.

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