war? what is it good for?

a woman called jessica esposito is writing a paper on the influence of music.
“hey everyone im trying to do a research paper on war themes in music… is there anyone out there who really believes that music influenced their views on war? if so or if anyone has a comment on this let me hear it !! thanks!” to email her you know what to do with the [at] and the [dot], don’t ya?

here’s my response to her:
your question is almost byist, i think.
“is there anyone out there who really believes that music influenced their views on war?”
move the “really” a bit forward in the phrasing of that question and its almost a statement that nobody in their right mind will answer with a “yes”.
“is there really anyone out there who believes that music influenced their views on war?”

i do think that music did influence me. not in the sense that it changed my views. but that it confirmed them.

but then again the influence of music is so hard to isolate, is it not?
often music works in subliminal ways, like when in certain situations i find myself humming a line from a song and only after awhile it sinks in how totally appropriate that line is for my current situation. that has a very consoling influence then.

back to your question: did music influence my views on war?
i cant remember when i first heard the 60’s or 70’s song that goes “war? what is it good for? absolutely nothing!” by – who wrote that again? but i must have been a teenager back then. so maybe it did stick and later influenced my anti-war stance.
who is to know? if it did influence me, only because it made sense to me, right? so again:

i think the main influence of music lays in confirmation or sometimes consolation. the positive feeling when you realise that someone else out there is having the same thoughts and feelings as you do (and even goes to the trouble of writing and producing a song about it… he he). its like it confirms that someone else is going through the same thing. takes me out of my bubble.

but there’s more: some lines of some songs deliver arguments. like recently during the iraq war “hey bobby” by sage francis delivered so much food for thought.

talking of which: “hey bobby” and other songs that were made by american rap artists in reaction to that war were highly influential to lots of europeans. they were first strong signals, that not all americans are supporting this war.
i for one went ahead and did a mixtape with all these anti-war songs and spread that around to friends and so forth.

i cant remember a song that had such a strong influence on me that it actually changed my views on something, but i believe it possible. often views change subtly, and the influence of music is also subtle. so this may work “in mysterious ways…”

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.