Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Kill the artist, kill the protest

The education system has been hijacked, for centuries it has been based around the industrial revolution focusing on the key subjects of maths, English and science.

Do not get me wrong, I believe there is a place for these in our education system, mathematics for example is the only true universal language we have as the schematics and designs by someone on one side of the planet could be replicated by someone on the other side of the planet and it does of course dovetail nicely with science. Aside from the obvious question of whether our schools are teaching our children what to think, rather than how to think, the issue arises where we have to sacrifice the creative elements of our education system in favour of the stuff that our peers deem to be "the important stuff."

Are you listening Michael Gove?

Naturally this means the arts get dropped to squeeze in another technology based course but this mode of thinking does not take in to account that we are a society made up of individuals and it is this very thing that gives us the varied life we have. I remember having to choose a subject I had no interest or intention of pursing in the future ahead of another that today I could have done with the background knowledge of.

This has not stopped me pursuing it later in life but how many children do we cast aside in their formative years, who may never get the time or money to pursue a dream later on?

Sir Ken Robinson, a champion of education in all its varieties, has made two speeches at the TED Talks, one in 2006 I believe and another in May 2013, where he explained how as a society we are stifling creativity in our children. This is not a problem just of the education system but unfortunately of us as parents too. How many times have any of us heard or been told that we will never be musicians, or to concentrate on school because being a successful artist is for the 'lucky' ones?

We should be embracing not only our children's creative endeavours but remembering our own, we are all born artists but we have it educated out of us.

There is a belief amongst some that the reasoning for creativity being educated out of us is that if you can kill the artist, you can kill the protest.

Bill Hicks came up with the notion first in 1989 during his Sane Man tour when he compared the Coca-Cola pop groups, such as Debbie Gibson and Rick Astley, to Jimi Hendrix. More recently the Artist Taxi Driver and I talked of the boy band explosion of the 1990's, with Take That versus The Prodigy at the time who were everything the establishment hated, epitomised by the release of firestarter in 1997 and then came Simon Cowell.

Since the turn of the millennium, Simon Cowell and his manufactured pop groups have dominated the music scene with real artists very far and few between, a protest campaign was launched in 2009 to get Rage Against the Machine to number one to stop the annual Cowell Christmas number one domination highlighted the issue quite starkly, with a song that has been out of the charts for a decade taking top spot just to say no, we won't do what you tell us.

Hendrix - Woodstock
Artists are out there such as Lowkey, Logic MC and Akala, but they are not allowed to make the mainstream impact the likes of John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Public Enemy and so on used to. The establishment will not allow it. One such advocate was Michael Franti but he fell foul of the Obama deception and has not been the same since.

Rap music has been hijacked, there was a time when it was about the system, violence and oppression, now it is all about money, girls and cars; sung by millionaires complaining they are from the ghetto, presumably because being a millionaire is not enough, they want to be billionaires. Even urban street art is being hijacked as the Germans look set to use graffiti artists as the reason for the deployment of drones on their streets.


The world has gone mad and the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Terence McKenna once said we are lead by the least amongst us, the least intelligent, the least noble and the least visionary, when asked how we fight back he said we make art. So that is the task we have, to remember the artist within us and go out and express ourselves however we do it best.

“The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind; and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. If artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.” ~ Terence McKenna

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