Not Cynical? What, like this?

David Bowie at Victoria Station — Chalkie Davies

Bob Dylan warned us about following leaders. I have no heroes beyond Noam Chomsky and the late Edward Said, though profs Sridhar and Bauld are getting there, for their young age.

We’ve been here before with the beatification of wholly undeserving rock stars. Bowie was a deeply cynical man, happy to play with the darkest of ideas in pursuit of his art. I don’t entirely blame him for that but he was no hero and certainly no model for the rest of us.

Playing above with Nazi imagery is, you might say, just a bit of fun or even irony but there are limits for me. Auschwitz wasn’t a metaphor.

In the Guardian today:

That’s the thing: life, for Bowie, was a series of encounters with people and things that made change possible, not a series of transactions designed to get one over on other people. I’ve missed him more than ever since he died because, seen in the whole, his life stands in rebuke to the philistinism, cynicism and bad faith that’s come to dominate public life.

Like all, most (?) artists he was always trying to get one over the rest of us. We got something back so fair enough?

16 thoughts on “Not Cynical? What, like this?

  1. Real heroes put the life and freedom at risk for a principle and for the good of others. Ghandi, Catalonia leaders, Mandela, front line emergency personnel for example.

    Some put their careers at risk or their family life and privacy which is also to be admired.

    Compare this to the adulation of Boris, Farage, Trump etc…I need to say no more!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I fail to understand how Bowie escaped criticism and contempt for his flirtation with the far right. He may have mumbled something about drug-taking being to blame but I’m not aware of any well-publicised apologies. Same is true of another supposed hero: Eric Clapton.
    Anyway, it was their behaviour that gave rise to Rock against Racism and I’d like to think it helped to galvanise a generation. Meanwhile I don’t forget or forgive.


  3. Bowie, maybe he was just kidding with his WW2 Germanic salute. . . . He was a Viz reader, (seen the photo)

    Just after 1pm BBC radio based in Scotland interviewed a Travelindustry rep. duscussing Scot. Gov’s requirement for test plus quarrantine. . . . Of course there remain travel corridors where there is no requirement to quarrantine”


  4. Saw Bowie in London about 1968/69. Expected a kind of folk-rockMajor Tom show. Bowie was in a dress at one point. Enjoyed the show; I was more into “underground” rock, but added Hunky Dory to my growing LP collection. Bowie was a chameleon, trying desperately to be “famous”, and who the real David Bowie was/is, I have no idea.
    Our heroes turn out to have feet of clay as we age.
    I still like Dylan, John Martyn, Neil Young, Miles Davis.
    There are dozens of bands I dig out now and again for a listen. Just a song on a CD sometimes. What LPs I have left are in the loft.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “And who the real David Bowie was/is, I have no idea.”

      He was from Iain M. Banks “the Culture” same as Mr. Nikola Tesla (the original), Elon Musk, Bezos. . . . . . . .


      1. Stand up guy, to Bush, Trump etc. Great song writer. Environmentalist.
        Lived a life through 60 years of crazy, anything goes, times. What did YOU do then?
        Personal life? Who are we to judge?
        In any decade he was never the best, but–in EVERY decade he was up with the best —- for over 50 years.
        Rust never sleeps.


  5. Want to be effective in resisting fascism? I appreciate I’m a newbie and haven’t earned any privileges to tell folks what’s what. Though hopefully this platform will be open to, and appreciative of, post-modern critical social theory and a relational approach to law, a.k.a. the Methodology of the Oppressed and the Art of Law.

    Introduction to the special
    issue on ‘Social Theory
    and Natural Law’


  6. Bowie is much overrated. He produced mediocre pop music, with one or two goods songs, not really universal though, they hardly stand the test if time.
    Far far more talented and interesting musicians as have been pointed out.
    The Graun writer misses him? Weird. ‘ Seen in the whole, his life (he’s dead) stands in rebuke to cynicism, and bad faith in public life’. Pap. He interfered in Scotland’s independence referendum, like some other jumped up overrated celebs. That was very much in bad faith in my book. The writer’s article is a good example of the philistine attitude in the arts, nothing ch ch ch changes much lol.!


  7. Liked some of Bowie’s music but couldn’t stand him as a person after hearing him refer to his fan base as the “little people” during one interview. Probably much the same opinion of us plebs as has the clown PM.


  8. David Bowie ? a few songs that people will remember but he’s nothing more than an entertainer , did he help other people less fortunate than himself ? I doubt it , he was addicted to drug taking perhaps that’s what contributed to his demise I don’t know but he’s irrelevant to all but a few people’s lives.
    Nearly all famous singers do not write their own songs .
    The song writers are not so well known perhaps that needs to change although there sure are a lot of songs with drivel words about nothing .
    When the words are put to music the music isn’t always written by the person who wrote the words perhaps more needs to be made of who wrote the words and who wrote the music.


    1. We were musically unfulfilled,
      Then, in the ’60’s, we got thrilled,
      Now, sadly, we’re too old and chilled.
      To give a toss, what Bowie trilled.

      “Stay with us” said the tosser living in New York!


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