KFOG is my favorite music station. In the morning it has a program called “Ten@Ten”. What they do is to mix 10 top-of-the-chart rock songs of a particular year (from the 60’s till now) with certain famous or period sound-bite from that year. This one hour program in itself is almost a mini-documentary. For example, if the songs were from the 80’s, they will mix in some famous speech quotes from Ronald Reagan; if they were from the 70’s, Nixon; etc. They did a wonderful job in mixing various clips to express something without interjecting their own voice. For the Nixon era, they mixed Nixon’s two statements, one from his public statement to the country, one from the Watergate tape. The affect was so crystal clear. It was more vivid and to the point than the three hour long movie.
Today the year was 1992. They used some sound-bites from ordinary people. They sounded like from local TV-news clips, where reporter surveyed people off the streets and asking their opinions of current affair. One guy was saying, “man! Economy sucks! Man! You know why? Cuz we buy VCRs, TV’s and shit, but we arent buying missles, Man! The US don’t make VCRs no TVs, we make missles! That’s why our economy is going down the pipe, Man!” Immediately we know what was happening in 1992. The US was in a pretty bad recession after the bloated economy of the 80’s during the Reagan years. People were blaming the Japanese for taking over the world economy. Doom’s day was a popular expression. Everyone believed the US was done for good. The Japanese had won.
Sounds familiar? I’ve been curious about people’s attitude in the early 90’s for a while, because I think our current situation strongly resembles that period. Economy, US foreign policy, and the Gulf War aftermath, etc. etc.. Even the names of our President! 🙂
Then a woman’s voice came in. “I was really upset when I first saw homeless people on the street when I moved here a year ago. Shocked and upset.” The reporter asked, “..and now?” “Now I simply stop thinking about them. I’m complete desensitized.”
It must be from a San Francisco local news piece. This reminded me then the homeless was a big deal. Newspaper and TV were constantly reporting them. Police was out chasing them around. Social workers started to setup shelters, and were asking everyone to help. Everyone thought it was un-natural, it wasn’t right to have people live on the streets. It had to be FIXED. So they must started appear then. Wow! I totally forgot. Now homeless people became a fixture in San Francisco. It seemed they had existed since the day when the city was born. Imagine there was a time when everyone had a piece of roof above his head, and everyone was fed…
The last piece I heard before finally pulling into my office parking lot was a young man interviewed by a reporter, who asked the young man, “So who do you think should be our next President?” “A black lesbian mother!” The young man yelled it out with a loud laughter. “Why is that?” the reporter asked. “Cuz that’s the best kind of people to take care a family. My mother used to tell us don’t go on feeding other people if your own family is starving. There are people in this country are not fed!”
There you have it: my favorite music station. 🙂 What this morning’s show made me think was that when the time is hard, people need to find someone to blame, and they withdraw into their own world. They become more practical, less idealistic. And they want to change things. But economy is a moody beast, isn’t it? It is as natural as a forest, it thrives then there will be a forest fire. At the bottom of things, there is really no scapegoat. We have no choice but to ride the waves, don’t we? No one will be rich forever, and there will be no eternal Empires. We go up and we go down. Isn’t it? But then again, maybe the search for scapegoat is also part of the wave…