Monday, February 15, 2010

Music Video Monday: Billy Joel



For this week's music video selection, I've selected one of my all-time favourite Billy Joel songs: "We Didn't Start the Fire." This song was a HUGE hit during my senior year, in the fall of 1989 when our world became virtually unrecognizeable by year's end (the collapse of communist governments in Eastern Europe and South Africa moving towards the dismantling of the apartheid system). For me, though, this song also reminds me of my favourite teacher, Thomas Malone, who taught U.S. Government and World History classes. I liked and admired him so much that I would hang out in classroom after school to talk about religion after I discovered that he was an atheist activist. His 51st birthday is today. I already wrote two tributes to him last year (for his 50th birthday and on 6 October for the 20th anniversary of my discovery of his "scandalous" atheism), so no need to repeat myself (you can click on those months in the archives to read them if you want).

Basically, for this song, Billy Joel started with the year 1949, which was when he was born (my dad was also born that year) and sings a litany of names and events (occasionally with some clever rhymes, such was pairing Pasternak with Kerouac) year by year until 1989 with the student uprising in Tiananman Square, Beijing. This song inspired me in how I wanted to write my first novel, Seasons of Silent War, as I used the backdrop of world events between 1989 and 1994 to anchor my story. If any literary agents are reading this blog post, please email me to indicate your interest, as I'd love to send you my novel for your consideration. I believe it will be the definitive "Generation X novel." I know literary types like to point out how our "slacker" generation hasn't produced a novel as worthy as Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises or Kerouac's On the Road or Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye...so take a chance on mine. Despite being set twenty years ago, its still quite current in the themes it explores.

Anyhow...enjoy the music video. And Happy Birthday, Malone!