Rebelling through joy against the neo-Puritans
Currently, despite rumblings of discontent, the left is having its way across America when it comes to masks. Even as people get vaccinated, as case numbers and mortality decline, and as we learn that almost everything the CDC and medical establishment insisted on during the Trump presidency was flat-out wrong or just not very right, the neo-Puritanical Biden administration is shilling masks and despair, while businesses are too afraid of litigation to let go. What’s needed is some enormous cultural pressure to break the dam, and the French might have an idea.
In the first years of the 21st century, flash mobs burst upon the world. Wikipedia defines a flash mob as “a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression,” and they had a specific point of origin: The United States. Bill Wasik, the man who came up with the idea, did it to be deep. Again, from Wikipedia (hyperlinks and footnotes omitted):
Wasik claimed that he created flash mobs as a social experiment designed to poke fun at hipsters and to highlight the cultural atmosphere of conformity and of wanting to be an insider or part of “the next big thing.”
Thankfully, flash mobs didn’t remain deep. Eventually, the best ones revolved around music and they always went viral. People were mesmerized as a lone singer or musician appeared in a public place, only to be joined by more and more people until the venue rang with jubilant music and dancing. Here are a few that you might remember:
And here’s my personal favorite. Why? Because Russians in 2012 were having a flash mob to a song that Irving Berlin – whose family escaped from Russia in 1893 -- wrote during the 1920s about a night out on the town in New York. It’s the perfect reminder that the American melting pot (not the salad bowl or neo-Puritanical place that whines about “cultural appropriation”) conquered with its vibrant culture, not with force of arms.
Despite COVID, the French just came out with a brand new flash mob that they performed at the Gare de l’Est in Paris, practically on the one-year anniversary of the madness of lockdowns. The song they chose isn’t just any song. “Danser Encore” (“To Keep on Dancing”) is a song about resisting tyranny:
We are birds of passage
Never docile nor really wise
We do not pledge allegiance
At dawn in all circumstances
We come to break the silence
And when in the evening on TV
The good king has spoken
Come to announce the sentence
We show irreverence
But always with elegance
Every measure of authority
Every whiff of security
Sees our confidence vanish
They show so much insistence
To confine our conscience
Let's not be impressed
By all these unreasonable people
Sellers of fear in abundance
Harrowing to the point of indecency
Let's keep them at bay
For our mental health
Our social and environmental well-being
Our smiles, our intelligence
Let's not be without resistance
The instruments of their insanity.
In 2016, although some may have forgotten, Trump was swept into office, in part, on a tide of music. When Hillary Clinton referred to his supporters as a “basket of deplorables,” Trump and his supporters instantly embraced the term and the rousing song of resistance against tyranny that went with it.
We who are patriotic Americans need to regain that ebullience and passion. Anti-lockdown sing-a-longs were a nice idea, but they lack the fun and fire of a flash mob. Also, because they were announced in advance, the local Stasi always showed up.
For maximum impact, a new wave of flash mobs should come as a surprise. The songs should be about freedom and fun. I recommend, too, that they should also be studiously apolitical and familiar to most people. We want everyone, not just conservatives, to remember what it was like to be free in America. And honestly, it would just be wrong if the French were pushing harder for liberty than we Americans are.
It’s time that we push back against the neo-Puritans who are draining America’s vitality like hungry vampires at a blood bank. Instead, we can rebel with joy and music against lockdowns and masks. People gravitate to the fun person in the room, and it’s time for us to be that person.
IMAGE: Rebelling through joy. YouTube screengrab.
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