During my drive to work the other day, John Mayer's song "Waiting on the World to Change" came on the radio. I guess I never really paid that much attention to the lyrics before, but listening to his words, I came to a sudden realization: this is the most whiny, aimless social justice song I've ever heard. Let me break down the lyrics for you so you can feel me. Me and all my friends We're all misunderstood They say we stand for nothing and There's no way we ever could Okay, so far, so good. Typical whiny lyrics about disenfranchisement and powerless young adults and teenagers. Now we see everything that's going wrong With the world and those who lead it We just feel like we don't have the means To rise above and beat it Our first sign of trouble. Okay, we're still just complaining at this point. All of the classic protest songs usually start this way. But Mayer doesn't seem particularly angry yet. Where's the call for violent overthrow? Where’s the demand for money to be taken from the rich and given to the poor? The Clash this certainly is not. If Joe Strummer was still alive, he'd be very bored. That is if he wasn’t flipping off the Queen or something. So we keep waiting Waiting on the world to change We keep on waiting Waiting on the world to change Our chorus, ladies and gentleman. Are you serious? I mean really, is that your message? You don't feel like your part of the system, so you're just going to wait for it to change all by itself. That, sir, is insanity. It's hard to beat the system When we're standing at a distance So we keep waiting Waiting on the world to change Hold on: you said it's hard to beat the system, when you're standing at a distance? Wow man, just wow. I tell you people, the entitlement generation has arrived. But it's worse then that. Now, let's get this straight. You don't want to be part of the system, hence your standing at a distance from it. Yet at the same time, you want to beat it. I'm sorry, you don't *beat* the system. You change the system or maintain it, you don't beat it. The system is what keeps everything working. The sad part is that it isn't always a fair system, hence the need to make changes. But you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and expect for things to be better. Now if we had the power To bring our neighbors home from war They would have never missed a Christmas No more ribbons on their door And when you trust your television What you get is what you got Cause when they own the information, oh They can bend it all they want Okay, let's get this straight. Somehow, within eight straight lines, we jump from having the power to end wars to complaining about access to information. Well let's deal with the first part first. I'm not sure what sort of squishy world Mayer lives in, but singing about bringing neighbors home from war is a loaded argument at best. Yes, I know war is an awful thing, but just how exactly does he propose doing all these altruistic things without some authority behind it? Or was he instead wishing for Godlike powers to end war altogether? If that's the case, I would love to have one of those food replicators from "Star Trek," but I know that isn’t going to happen. As for the second part about information, boo on that. What is this, the 1960s? It's like every paranoid conspiracy about one central group owning information. I have two issues with this. One, we live in one the most information-saturated ages imaginable. There is no "they" holding onto all the information; you have multiple news sources on multiple different mediums, all competing for your attention. They don't get it by regurgitating the same stuff everyone else is saying. And second, even if *they* did own the information, you've been singing about your apathy for the system and how nothing you can do will change it. It's that sort of attitude that allows people to be manipulated. It's not that we don't care, We just know that the fight ain't fair So we keep on waiting Waiting on the world to change Cry me a river. What you really want to say is, "The world is so unfair. Why doesn't somebody fix it! I can't do it, I'm too busy Twittering!" Gee Mr. Mayer, maybe the reason why the current generation feels so helpless is because they're so self-absorbed with instant gratification and pop culture that they're not capable of making any changes that require more than 10 minutes of their time. You know, say what you want about the hippies, at least they went out and did stuff. They set out and tried to change the world. Now, the world they wanted was weird and freaky to anyone who wasn't dropping five microdots of blotter, but at least it was something. They didn't do their activism in front of a computer, in between watching YouTube videos. And we're still waiting Waiting on the world to change We keep on waiting, waiting on the world to change One day our generation Is gonna rule the population So we keep on waiting Waiting on the world to change I hope you and your slacktivist ilk never rule anything more then some "World of Warcraft" dungeon, sir. So that's it, really. It's the perfect song for people who like to complain about things but somehow just don't have that motivation to get out and fix the world's problems. Don't ask me to make the world change, I'm too busy playing video games, MySpacing and other disinterested behavior that lead to my being shut out of the system to begin with. –Stephen Payne, Editor, Oil and Gas Investor This Week; www.OilandGasInvestor.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
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