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Godfathers of Soul

By Nick Fracaro at 6:53 pm on Sunday, December 31, 2006

James Brown, President Gerald Ford, President Saddam Hussein. Individual legacies added/subtracted becoming collective history.

Or Motown. Legacy of a city, but also legacy of a certain time in America that is no more.

Cars and music. Once defining our individuality and freedom. Teenagers at lover’s lane. Get on up, like a sex machine.

But now the SUV, especially the Hummer (No mere metaphor. Here it’s an SUV; over there it’s a war vehicle). Cars as emblem of our conspicuous consumption to the rest of the world. Vampires of blood and oil. In the ’90’s Janis Joplin’s anti-consumer ditty sold by her estate to the company that once manufactured Hitler’s war machines with forced labor. “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?” Unchanged, complete with her ending giggle, appropriated into an advertisement to sell cars for the multinational. So no RIP yet for the American Dream; no need to even alter the voice or lyrics for the undead shopper.

History not just forgotten, but usurped by the winners. Hiroshima. Nagasaki. No death by hanging for those crimes against humanity.

Get up, (get on up). The undead sex machine just like the war machine.

james brown in state
James Brown body lies in state at the Apollo Theater
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