OK, so you have to be a fan of ‘Dread Zeppelin’ to appreciate the subject of this post.
Invoking the spirit of the late, great Lester Bangs with the words he used in his piece on The Doors in ‘The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll’ where he contrasted The Doors and The Rolling Stones; “The Stones were dirty but the Doors were dread, and the difference is crucial, because dread is the great fact of our time.”
“Dread” is something I’ve experienced a few times. In hindsight the instances where this occurred were insignificant compared to what many others have gone thru but this isn’t about them, it’s all about “me” in this journal(but I do expect your comments). I remember “dreading” my first swimming test as a Boy Scout and also the first time I wanted to ask someone for a date. Both times I was in over my head in one way or another but I survived. The last time I felt dread or something like it was when the U.S. went to war most recently and people started dying. Previously with the first Gulf war and all the way back to when I became aware that such things were real and possible (Vietnam) I really didn’t feel much other than the occasional worry about the draft which ended by the time I graduated from high school. As a first grader living in Florida during the fall of 1962 when the “Cuban missile crisis” took place, I wonder how the then new knowledge (dread?) of nuclear attack reinforced by educational films showing what happens if a bomb explodes nearby plus duck-and-cover drills somehow desensitized our minds only to have the repressed concerns of what might happen reemerge later in life during times of stress. Do later generations carry similar burdens caused by AIDS or Enron?
Going back thru my paper journal from the past few years I found some entries where I document and explore stress in my life. Up until my mid-’40s I can’t recall that much to be concerned about. I was healthy, financially secure and had sufficient interests to fill most of my time, all of which is still true today. I don’t consciously dwell on death but as they say – I know I’m running out of runway. Is that making me feel uneasy? I don’t think so. Probably related more to being laid-off (though I rebounded well after just three months) after which I developed a jaundiced view toward the corporate world. Yes it pays the bills handsomely but you give up your soul in the process or at least it thinks it now owns your soul. Thinking I need to take a sharp career turn to protect what ever remains of my humanity and try to put it a better use, but dreading the possibility I might not be able to is the most likely source of my discomfort.
A major area of concern for me is conflict arising between what appears to me an ever increasing number and expanding range of personally held ideologies as broadcast to us by mainstream or underground media. I wonder if unchecked will it cause society to implode? Humans can live together in a working society while still holding widely diverging beliefs. It’s only when everyone feels the need to be on the winning side while pointing out why the other side are such losers that things get ugly. The thought doesn’t rest easy on my mind but I’m beginning to wonder if I’m turning toward social conservatism and becoming reactionary in my old(er) age. I know rewinding the clock several decades is totally unrealistic and I think Ted Kaczynski was a completely bankrupt coward, but sometimes…
(under certain circumstances full blown revolution in the streets – I believe – is a legitimate tool but killing anonymously via the mail, car bombs, etc. totally discredits any agenda you might have)
I chose my direction initially because I was “taught” it was the right one and later due to comfort and ease of following the well worn path. Now the curiosity about what can be found down the side roads is beginning to weigh on my mind. Regardless, the responsibility to change things or live with it is all mine.