We Will NEVAH Forget!...Until We Forget**

In the deep dark recesses of my wife's vast collection of bootlegged Cure concert cassettes, there lies one of the most extraordinary rock performances I have ever heard, from 20 years ago this week. In what was almost certainly the first show that the Goth-mopesters played after the Tiananmen Square massacre, lead vocalist Robert Smith went on a long improvised monologue/sketch in the middle of "A Forest," acting out a sadistic torture scene between a Chinese interrogator and a student protester. "And then he puts his gun in your mouth," Smith cries, voice cracking with sobs "and then he says I LOVE YOU!" (This is based on my memory, not a transcript, etc.) It goes on like that for a long while, just disturbing and disturbed and anguished and angry, until Smith's distinctive, high-ranged wail keeps repeating: "We will never forget! We will NEVAH forget! We will NE-VAH forget! WE WILL NE-VAH FORGET!!"

Well, we've forgotten. Though I suppose I shouldn't speak for good ol' Fat Bob.

If I can briefly indulge in some generational nostalgia (wait! come back!), for many of us at or around age 40 there have been exactly two eras: before Tiananmen, and after. Before, our entire horizon was consumed by the Cold War–it would last forever, Kremlin reformer-of-the-week notwithstanding, and history would continue being something we'd only read about, or experienced in crappy Bob Zemeckis movies. Half the world or thereabouts would always be plunged in undifferentiated darkness, and Sting would always sing terrible songs about Oppenheimer's deadly toy.

Afterward, the ground just never felt the same under your feet. Revolutions, it turned out, were no longer just proxy skirmishes in the bloody third world. Also, they would be televised. Life went from dull certainty to vertigo-inducing flux. It was a pretty good time to be 20...unless you were Chinese.

This anniversary, which Nick Gillespie and Steve Chapman write about below, leaves me feeling more than a bit ambivalent. In many ways, the greatest two stories of the past 20 years have been the hundreds of millions worldwide freed from the shackles of Communist slavery–a process that was partly catalyzed even by the setback in China–and the lifting of hundreds of millions from poverty within China itself through a variety of economic reforms.

But even the happy existence of the latter fact can't remove from my Robert Smith-sized gut a feeling of utter revulsion that not only has the same political party that perpetrated such horrific violence 20 years ago today maintained its monopoly on power, but that we have, almost all of us, and for whatever reason, forgotten.

** Well, so much for my memory.

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  • ||

    You are like me. We forgive nothing!

  • robc||

    It still pisses me off that not a single gold winning America athlete held up a picture of tank man, or like, on the podium last year.

  • ||

    Considering the sheer amount of media coverage and number of FB Status Updates I've seen today mourning the massacre (including one making much the same point Matt did by a guy who was not born when the event took place), I don't think we can be said to have forgotten. The question now is the same question we faced in 1989: what do we do about it? I haven't the faintest clue.

  • robc||

    So, the sting song wasnt pro-MAD? Because it explains why MAD worked.

  • robc||

    BOB,

    what do we do about it?

    At the very least, our leaders should publicly bring it up every time they are meeting Chinese leaders in front of a camera.

  • ||

    I made a motivational poster of the Tank Man image today and posted it at Urkobold. And no, I didn't go for the laugh this time.

  • ||

    Not only have they held onto power at home, they're about to pull even with and will probably usurp the US on the world stage. And we've sold ourselves out to them in one of the most craven slides ever witnessed. Free markets, we've been told, will by definition liberalize even the most entrenched authoritarians. Get on board!

    And they pulled all this off without even paying any real lip service to freedom or democracy. All of this sung to the familiar refrain of unbridled nationalism.

  • ||

    Matt,

    Out generation is split in half, the glorious time before we had to hear this 2,134 times and the dark days afterward:

    I was alive and I waited, waited
    I was alive and I waited for this
    Right here, right now
    There is no other place I want to be
    Right here, right now
    Watching the world wake up from history

  • SpongePaul||

    I forgot because i did not care, big deal to me i was 12. still dont care, not my country not my problem, i could care less if china killed a billion of its own, its up to the chinese people to fight the goverment, and iff they don't then its noones fault but theres and no one elese responsabiltiy

  • Civil Discourse||

    I find it galling that MSNBC and others are referring to the 20-year anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. It should be called -- as Matt Welch did -- the Tiananmen Square massacre.

  • ||

    People always talk about how if we just engage China and trade with them they will open up and their government will become less brutal. Well, we trade with them to the tune of billions. We let them have the Olympics in the name of letting them be part of the civilized world in hopes they would reform. Our leaders never say a word to them about all of the horrible things that they do. We are told doing so would just make things worse. If we just work with them and be nice, they will change.

    Well, we have been doing this for 20 years now since the massacre. I think it is fair to ask how all that is working out. Has kissing their ass for the last 20 years made China any less brutal or anymore free?

  • ||

    "I find it galling that MSNBC and others are referring to the 20-year anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. It should be called -- as Matt Welch did -- the Tiananmen Square massacre."


    Yes it should be. Somehow I am not surprised that MSNObama would call it a protest rather than a massacre.

  • ||

    Fuck you NutraSweet for getting Jesus Jones stuck in my head, you fucking bastard!

  • Chad||

    Civil Discourse | June 4, 2009, 4:22pm | #

    I find it galling that MSNBC and others are referring to the 20-year anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. It should be called -- as Matt Welch did -- the Tiananmen Square massacre.


    Exactly. A remembrance of the protests should have happened in May, when most of the protests occured. June 4th was the day the protesters died, and should be remembered as such.

  • Brandon||

    Pro Lib,

    Pretty sweet. It's now my desktop at work.

  • ||

    Surely, it's our fault...somehow.

  • ||

    It is interesting how people seem to think that trade and engagement is the way to open up China. Yet, no one thought that about South Africa. There everyone of good conscience said we shouldn't trade with them or let their athletes in the Olympics or generally play any part in the civilizaed world. Why is China so different than South Africa?

  • Seward||

    Pro Libertate,

    Does anyone else realize that you are ever going for the laugh? ;)

    Matt Welch,

    Well, what happened in China had some significant effects elsewhere; it was partly what was behind the final collapse of the Iron Curtain (though that had been a process underway - in the background, unseen in many ways - since the crackdown on Poland in the early 1980s). Also, at the very least this incident, unlike many other massacres of protesters, it got the sort of attention it deserved at the time that it happened, and I am sure it continues to tweak the noses of those in political power in China in a way that probably wasn't the case in other countries where similar incidents occurred. Plus, this stuff always comes out and is open to public attention, no matter what happens otherwise; just like the airing that the Tlatelolco Massacre eventually received.

  • Rhywun||

    Actually for me it's before and after the Berlin Wall fell; same era--if a much more happy event.

  • EJM||

    FWIW, here's some related linkage that I couldn't get to earlier...

    Rebecca MacKinnon covers the blocking of Twitter, et al., in a bit more detail.

    In addition to Nicholas Kristof (mentioned in an earlier H&R post), David Rothkopf, Claudia Rosett, and Wang Dan recount their own Tiananmen experiences.

    James Fallows has been in Beijing over the past few days.

    (Full disclosure: The Rothkopf and Fallows links are thanks to FP's "Passport"; the ones for Rosett and Wang are thanks to the World Politics Review media roundup.)

  • Seward||

    Rhywun,

    What I remember is the deeply rich irony of people buying chunks of the Berlin wall here in the U.S. The only way communism was "successful" was as a commodity in capitalist countries.

  • Solanum||

    Some of the most godawful music ever came out in the early 90s, e.g., Jesus Jones, EMF, Gerardo. It was a no man's land between the 80s & 90s.

  • ||

    Well, we have been doing this for 20 years now since the massacre. I think it is fair to ask how all that is working out. Has kissing their ass for the last 20 years made China any less brutal or anymore free?

    Try $266 billion in trade deficit last year. The money you saved on those shoes you're wearing, which were made by companies often run by the Red Army, went into that trade deficit and were then loaned back to you by the Chinese Communist Party, who hold the Treasuries and dollars to plunge us into chaos if we try to rejigger the deal.

    You don't have to be all that paranoid to get that's why it's called "Tianenmen Protest", and not "Tianenmen Massacre". Your concerns are about as important as Robert Smith's.

    It's worked out badly. It's also worked out well, depending on how you look at it. Do you like cheap shoes? Who doesn't? And there's the benefit to the Chinese people, who seem quite happy with growing affluence and the quiet assurances that unlike other aspirants, the Chinese government isn't going to settle for buying a few buildings in New York or a golf course or two, but have bigger plans.

    It's not always true that the desire for freedom is the only thing set loose by affluence. It can also fuel nationalism.

  • ||

    Fuck you NutraSweet for getting Jesus Jones stuck in my head, you fucking bastard!

    Just as long as you don't start wearing one of those retarded hats...

  • Brandon||

    The NYT today published for the first time a photo of Tank man taken from street level, standing still in the street while the tanks were still hundreds of feet away. In the foreground other men are fleeing. It's a chilling photo.

  • ||

    Actually for me it's before and after the Berlin Wall fell; same era--if a much more happy event.

    It was so sudden, I couldn't even process it at first. It seemed impossible.

  • Paul||

    In the deep dark recesses of my wife's vast collection of bootlegged Cure concert cassettes,



    If husbands don't talk to their wives about The Cure, who will?

  • ||

    We forget about Tinnemann, and "Reason" forgets about David Carradine(pretend half chinnese) and with a big, tearing stick in my colon, I call it even.

  • Warty||

    Fuck you NutraSweet for getting Jesus Jones stuck in my head, you fucking bastard!

    Would you like some Sun Ra?

  • Seward||

    Brandon,

    Amazing. Thanks.

  • ||

    Seward,

    Probably not, but this time, they would think I was kidding. You know how it works.

    Brandon,

    Cool--thanks. I think maybe a few people on this side of the Pacific need the reminder, too.

  • ||

    Certainly the most optimistic time in my life. No more Cold War, the succeeding economic boom, the seeming liberalization of the world, the apparent beginning of the end for socialism and communism.

    At least the Cold War is still over.

  • ||

    But even the happy existence of the latter fact can't remove from my Robert Smith-sized gut a feeling of utter revulsion that not only has the same political party that perpetrated such horrific violence 20 years ago today maintained its monopoly on power, but that we have, almost all of us, and for whatever reason, forgotten.

    We forgot because quite unexpectedly economic freedom in China did greater good then democracy did in Russia.

    Plus when Tiananmen happened i was not paying attention at all and at the time could have given a shit one way or the other.

    Plus China 20 years ago no one gave a crap about....it was before they stocked the shelves of our stores with goods and owned all our debt and produced the most CO2.

    And it was before they yanked 100 million or so poeple out of bone crushing poverty.

  • Civil Discourse||

    "What I remember is the deeply rich irony of people buying chunks of the Berlin wall here in the U.S. The only way communism was "successful" was as a commodity in capitalist countries."

    As Norm McDonald* said, "Who would have thought that communism's fatal flaw would be that there just wasn't any money in it."

    * I think it was him.

  • ||

    It still pisses me off that not a single gold winning America athlete held up a picture of tank man, or like, on the podium last year.

    That might not have helped:

    In 2006, the American PBS program "Frontline" broadcast a segment filmed at Peking University, many of whose students participated in the 1989 protests. Four students were shown a picture of the Tank Man, but none of them could identify what was happening in the photo. Some responded that it was a military parade, or an artwork.

  • ||

    "It was so sudden, I couldn't even process it at first. It seemed impossible."

    I like you grew up in the 70s and 80s when it seemed that the cold war would go on forever. That is what everyone thought. Everyone except my father that is. He had telling me for years that the Soviet Union would eventually break apart, Germany would reunite, and Eastern Europe would no longer be Soviet Satlilites before the end of the century. He said no one beleived in the communist system in those countries and at some point the whole wretched edifice would fall in. No shit. He wasn't a crank. His is to this day incredibly well read. But even me his teenage son kind of rolled my eyes when he said these things.

    I remember being in college at a bar the night the wall fell. I was drinking a beer thinking "I will be God Damned the old man was right."

  • Seward||

    Pro Libertate,

    It is still a good time to be optimistic I think. As much as current government's in West think that they can spend and regulate their way to utopia there continues to be push back when their plans go to holy hell. Maybe I am just buying into the notion that this is the "libertarian moment." Anyway, any institution can only ignore reality for so long. That's what the Soviet Union taught us if anything.

  • Civil Discourse||

    Tulpa

    That's just fucked up.

  • ||

    Some of the most godawful music ever came out in the early 90s, e.g., Jesus Jones, EMF, Gerardo. It was a no man's land between the 80s & 90s.

    Spin Doctors?

    Would you like some Sun Ra?

    Fuck you Warty.

  • ||

    It's not always true that the desire for freedom is the only thing set loose by affluence. It can also fuel nationalism.

    Sorry to break this to you but you only get one child in china....no one is going to send their only child to die in a war....so unless they get some warbots to fight it for them I fail to see what the difference between what they are now and what a state slowly liberalizing away from nationalism looks like.

  • ||

    Seward,

    We do have the weight of actual success on our side. Obamarama and the Voracity of Hope could have the end effect of killing socialism and other varieties of anti-liberal thought as a legitimate movement for a good long while in the U.S. If we're lucky.

  • Warty||

    Bananarama, Epi? I wasn't even old enough to get a boner when that came out.

  • ||

    Civil D.,

    I thought so, too. But if you look at the picture divorced from context it does look a lot like a parade, with some guy in a white shirt directing the tanks to where the parade route goes.

  • ||

    What I think is really pathetic is that the liberal and capitalistic people of Taiwan and Hong Kong get screwed by the desire of the West to kowtow to the oppressive Chinese. We should've never allowed Taiwan to be delisted from the U.N. and otherwise made into an un-nation.

  • ||

    Bananarama, Epi? I wasn't even old enough to get a boner when that came out.

    Just trying to put an awful song in your head like you tried to do to me, dude.

    Here, this should make up for it.

  • ||

    Perhaps it's because I'm not around 40, but I'm surprised Welch doesn't divide the time after the Cold War into a pre-9/11 era and a post- era. The giddy optimism of the 90s, the era of big government being over, and the "end of history" surely doesn't belong in the same era as this funk we're in now.

  • Rhywun||

    It was so sudden, I couldn't even process it at first. It seemed impossible.

    Totally. And I spent 86/87 in West Germany. The notion of the wall coming down a couple years later was not on anyone's radar.

  • kinnath||

    Iconic photos from my lifetime:

    1) Young vietnamese girl running down the street, naked and burned from napalm

    2) Execution of vietnamese solder by gunshot to the head

    3) The moon landing '69

    4) Tank man at Tiananmen

    5) Ron Reagan and Michael Gorbachev pointing at their watches as the two first ladies return "late" from a shopping extravaganza

    Not all bad, but the ones that really stick in the mind tend to revolve about war in some way or other.

  • ||

    Sorry to break this to you but you only get one child in china....no one is going to send their only child to die in a war so unless they get some warbots to fight it...

    The one child policy is now your big idea of a restraint. Who gets asked what they want to do in that country? Did you watch the fallout after the quake last year when all those children died? And that was with the cameras on them. A warbot is more expensive, by far. Not that they need to go to war with us necessarily.

    ...for them I fail to see what the difference between what they are now and what a state slowly liberalizing away from nationalism looks like.

    Oh, I don't know, how about: complete Communist Party control of the media and all meaningful aspects of political control; army control of much of the most important commercial and manufacturing sectors of the economy.

    There are others, but those are probably the main distinguishing characteristics.

    I'm sure we'll jawbone them into releasing their grip anyday now. We have them right where we want them, right?

  • ||

    Kinneth,

    You forgot Elvis and Nixon. :-)

  • kinnath||

    You forgot Elvis and Nixon. :-)

    Nixon was a TV thing . . . watching Nixon depart by helicopter in '74 isn't quite the same as a single defining moment captured in black and white.

    Same for 9/11 and watching the second tower come down in real time.

    Elvis wasn't a big impact in my life, but I remember the Beatles live on Ed Sullivan . . . .

  • Richard ||

    I was getting ready for college in the Summer of 89. I --and pretty much everyone I knew--thought that China was going to be the next domino to fall, now that the Berlin Wall was down. I had it all maped out: North Korea would collapse without Chinese support, and be reunified with South Korea; Taiwan would be reunified with the mainland; no USSR, so nobody propping up dictatorships in Africa or the Middle East; free trade, disarmament, peace and prosperity for all...

    20 FUCKING YEARS!!

    By the way, I've read that the Chinese governement doesn't bother suppressing that photo of Tank Man. They promote it, to show the sensitivity of the People's Liberation Army in not just running the guy over. Seriously. The average person in China doesn't know that in the West, it's a symbol of courage or resistence to tyranny.

    20 fucking years...

  • kinnath||

    9/11 is a collage of images that I still can't sort out . . . .

  • ev||

    I was two when the this happened, ditto for the Berlin Wall.

    For me the two halves of history is most certainly 9/11; I was a freshman in high school when that occurred. I still argue that the fall of the wall/communism is the most important thing that's happened in my lifetime even if I have no recollection of it, but the split between pre and post 9/11 was obviously so drastic. I can't really imagine being congnizant while watching the hammers break down the wall chunk by chunk.

    Berlin does as a really good job in that regard. All through the city they have a line that shows where the wall ran.

    I think that this is one of the more iconic images that I can think of:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Conrad_Schumann.jpg

  • ||

    I was just kidding Kinneth. Your list is pretty good.

  • Civil Discourse||

    Ruby shooting Oswald. We were stunned when it happened.

  • Civil Discourse||

    "9/11 is a collage of images that I still can't sort out . . . ."

    What images? There are none. They've been locked in the PC vault since September 14, 2001.

  • ||

    None of this shit compares to Sammy Hagar replacing David Lee Roth as Van Halen singer. The Van Halen/Van Hagar halves of history are indelibly etched in my mind.

  • Civil Discourse||

    kinnath

    This:

    http://rigurosaetiqueta.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/elvis-nixon-01-crop.jpg

  • ||

    9/11 is a collage of images that I still can't sort out . . . .

    I suspect the de facto boycott of 9/11 images in Our Media has prevented any of them from becoming iconic.

  • ||

    I suppose 9-11 haunts me in the same way the Kennedy assasination haunts people of that generation. 9-11 showed me that the unthinkable could really happen. Before 9-11 I would never have beleived that what happened could ever happen. I would have called you a crank and a nut case to suggest it. But it did happen. That makes me think that maybe some of the other things I think are unthinkable aren't quite so unthinkable. I would imagine before the Kennedy assasination most people wouldn't have beleived you if you told them the President was going to be gunned down in broad daylight and his assasin would be murdered before we knew what really happened.

  • kinnath||

    CD, I have no memory of that photo ;-)

  • ||

    "I suspect the de facto boycott of 9/11 images in Our Media has prevented any of them from becoming iconic."


    But they will show the S&M pictures from Abu Garib won't they? But our delicate sensibilities can't take any pictures from 9-11. I hate those motherfuckers. I really do. David Gregory lives somewhere near me. I see him out and about occasionally. I dislike the MSM so much, I swear my blood runs cold when I see him.

  • kinnath||

    Ruby shooting Oswald.

    Stunning photo, but I was 6ish when that happened. I probably didn't see the photo until many years afterwards.

    The vietnam photos came every week in Time and Life -- they were a big part of my life right up until the fall of Saigon. I was in the last group of 18 year olds to register for the draft in 75; so vietnam was an ever present meme in my life.

  • Civil Discourse||

    "CD, I have no memory of that photo ;-)"

    I sleep with my copy.

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    I liked the Red Rocker. I liked Van Halen. Yet together, they sucked.

    I went to Sammy's Cabo Wabo when I was in Cabo. Whatever his musical legacy, the man likes to party. I liked El Squid Roe (another Cabo bar) better, but it was all fun.

    Reagan getting shot was a big one for me. I was 15 or so, I think. And, of course, that was closely followed by the equally shocking Buckwheat shooting.

  • Civil Discourse||

    "But they will show the S&M pictures from Abu Garib won't they? But our delicate sensibilities can't take any pictures from 9-11. I hate those motherfuckers. I really do."

    So we're differnt fron China, how exactly?

  • ||

    "And, of course, that was closely followed by the equally shocking Buckwheat shooting."

    For some of us, that defined a generation.

  • ||

    I find it galling that MSNBC and others are referring to the 20-year anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. It should be called -- as Matt Welch did -- the Tiananmen Square massacre.

    That really is pathetic. The BBC have been pretty good on this, from my brief browsing:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8080437.stm

    Chinese police have ringed Tiananmen Square, to prevent people marking the 20th anniversary of the massacre.

    The clampdown came as China angrily rejected calls for a review of the 1989 crackdown in which hundreds, possibly thousands, of people were killed.

  • kinnath||

    adios

  • Civil Discourse||

    "that was closely followed by the equally shocking Buckwheat shooting."

    That really happened?

  • ||

    Sure did.

  • ||

    Oh, the Iran hostage crisis is another one. That's how Nightline got started, incidentally.

  • ev||

    Ooooh I forgot about Ruby/Oswald. I love photography...it's just unthinkable that the shutter opened in that split-second and perfectly recorded that slice of history. Oswald's reaction....mostly pain but obviously some shock...I don't know. It hits home, eh?

    Yeah and what's with this Buckwheat shooting? Some reference that I'm not getting? Or did Buckwheat fuck Spanky's woman one too many times?

  • ||

    "That's how Nightline got started, incidentally."

    Yes. Started out as "America Held Hostage Day ___"

  • ||

    Also, please, if you're gonna quote Robert Smith from circa Tiananmen, could you use a contemporaneous photo?

    Have a heart, it takes awhile to forget things, you know?

  • ||

    ev,

    I posted the video above, but I'll ruin the joke: It was an SNL skit. Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat, produced as a parody of the news coverage of the Reagan shooting. As anyone who remembers the latter can attest, the networks must've run the footage of Reagan getting shot fifty times an hour. . .in slow motion.

  • ||

    "Yeah and what's with this Buckwheat shooting? Some reference that I'm not getting? Or did Buckwheat fuck Spanky's woman one too many times?"

    Oh God Ev you are making me feel old. Shortly after the Reagan shooting Saturday Night Live did a spoof of it. In the spoof Buckwheat, played by Eddie Murphy, is shot by John David Stutts (also played by Murphy) while getting into his car in New York.

    They staged it as like almost an entire episode with Joe Piscapo playing the roll of the nightline's Ted Kopple. It was about as good as SNL ever got.

  • ||

    What was great about that sketch is that the slo-mo tape of the shooting got funnier and funnier with each repetition.

  • GILMORE||

    Good post Matt.

  • GILMORE||

    Episiarch | June 4, 2009, 4:25pm | #
    Fuck you NutraSweet for getting Jesus Jones stuck in my head, you fucking bastard!


    I also want to add that this was very funny.

  • PFJ||

    I agree with Morrissey, that Cure dude sucks.

  • Seward||

    Pro Libertate,

    If we are really unlucky Yellowstone will blow. :)

  • ||

    Yes, just how much of North America would be left if it did? Good thing I'm in Florida.

  • Seward||

    Pro Libertate,

    Well, I think most of North America would have to move to Europe or Africa.

  • ||

    Yes, let's move back to Europe. Sorry, excuse me, coming through. We'd be one heck of a voting block.

  • Brett Stevens||

    Let the Chinese manage their own affairs.

    The world hates Americans for having presumptive superiority and coming in to criticize their nations with our liberal ideals which, in practice, produce a neurotic, ugly society.

    Why should we make this mistake again with the Chinese? Let them view this anniversary however they want, including censoring it.

    Take that mote out of your own eyes first.

  • ||

    Brett, are you a troll, or just a boot licking, self hating american apologist for tyranny?

  • Rhywun||

    Strangely, 9/11 hasn't "gelled" into a before/after event for me. Maybe because I was standing a block away and watching it happen? And watching the activity (or lack thereof) taking place at the site ever since. Hell, I'm still working the same job I was then.

  • ||

    Something that I find difficult to wrap my brain around, when talking to my younger co-workers about geopolitics:

    They don't remember waking up every day wondering if today was 'it' -- the day of the apocalyptic nuclear war between the US and the Soviets.

    It was a defining element of my childhood in the 80s. I wondered how it would feel; I wondered if I'd see anything first; I wondered if I'd die before or after my parents.

    What I never questioned was that it was going to happen. The inevitability of our mutual death to nuclear holocaust was a constant.

    The Berlin Wall going down was not just a momentous event... it was like a great pressure had been taken off me. Everyone around my age that I've talked to felt the same way: the fall of the wall was a moment to think, 'Wait -- does this mean we're not going to die in a nuclear fireball?'

    I sometimes wonder how growing up with a constant expectation of death has altered my generation.

  • ||

    For those who don't care, I can only say that seeing a group of people stand up and fight for their rights gives me great satisfaction, as someone who believes in the ideals represented by this blog. Seeing the Berlin Wall come down was electrifying.. so was seeing the crowds during the Velvet Revolution and during the fall of Communist Romania, flying their flag with the socialist coat of arms cut out. Even though there's little I can do here wrt Tiananmen, I stand in solidarity with those who continue to push for the truth about what happened.

    Also, I love the Cure, but Fat Bob needs to retire..

  • ||

    Also, I love the Cure, but Fat Bob needs to retire..

    Why bother retiring now?

    Everybody knows it's all been downhill since "Jumping Someone Else's Train" anyway.

  • Rhywun||

    Meh, the Cure haven't done anything good since 'Wish', and even that's a stretch. It's been downhill ever since 'Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me'.

  • Rhywun||

    Haha, nice, SugarFree -- love that song.

  • ||

    Funny thing for me is, I don't recall the Berlin Wall coming down as being a complete surprise, a chasm in history. The USSR had agreed to massive nuclear cuts a few years before, and indeed East Germany was one of the last, not the first, Eastern Bloc countries to "declare their independence" from the Soviets in 1989.

    So while the images are iconic, and the symbolism is quite strong, it really wasn't that big of a deal as far as geopolitics was concerned. The writing was already on the wall, so to speak.

    ...also note that there was a great deal of fear that the old days were on their way back during the hardliners' coup in the USSR of 1991...an event that is pretty much forgotten today, as it complicates the Straight Line of Progress narrative.

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...the Cure haven't done anything good since 'Wish', and even that's a stretch.



    That is a stretch, although I thought Disintegration was their best album.

  • ||

    I agree with Morrissey, that Cure dude sucks.

    I agree with the Warlock Pinchers...

    Morrissey rides a cock horse

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z20UYhP8vIQ

  • JB||

    Um, remember that thing called slavery and Jim Crow? Oh, yeah the same party that today is still called the Democrats had a huge part to play in both.

  • ||

    I agree with Morrissey, that Cure dude sucks.

    I like Morrissey, but Robert Smith rocks like all 12 Disciples on Korgs and John The Baptist on lead vocals.

    Um, remember that thing called slavery and Jim Crow? Oh, yeah the same party that today is still called the Democrats had a huge part to play in both.

    Good point, JB. Keep in mind, I'm not condemning today's Dem party (except for being, like the Republicans, by and large a bunch of sell-outs).

  • ||

    Oh, and because I forgot to say so in my earlier post, and this thread is actually about The Cure...

    There is a portion of my brain that is occupied by the lyrics of every Cure song from Three Imaginary Boys through Wish, inclusive. I know them all by heart. I am not necessarily proud of this, and when I find myself bemoaning my inability to learn foreign languages, I think of those brain cells and their lyrical occupants.

  • ||

    I have not forgotten, pal. In fact, it inspired in me a lifetime of human rights activism. People here are asking you what to do about it as if you were Ghandi. Here's what you can do: support Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for starters.

    www.amnestyusa.org www.hrw.org

  • booya||

    For me, it's pre-Achtung Baby/post-Achtung Baby. Recorded in Berlin just as the Wall went down. Plus, the album was so much better than Rattle n Hum.

  • robc||

    For turning points of 80s bands still around today, I would have gone with:

    Joshua Tree
    Document
    Dogman

    although, unlike U2 and REM, Im a fan of the modern stuff from King's X. Was listening to XV in my car yesterday.

  • ||

    robc,

    Are you claiming the "Document" turning point was for good or ill?

  • robc||

    SugarFree,

    Im not claiming either. Im just saying I stopped buying REM once I could understand the lyrics. :)

    Actually, Green was the last CD I bought.

  • robc||

    last REM CD, not all music.

  • robc||

    Of course, after Swan Swan H, it could only be downhill for REM, they had already done the best song they were ever going to do.

    What noisy cats are we.

  • ||

    last REM CD, not all music.

    I was worried there for a moment...

    Document was a dividing line, but a minor one in retrospect considering the band's bold statement of suck that was Out Of Time. A very ironic title.

  • Rhywun||

    it really wasn't that big of a deal as far as geopolitics was concerned



    Well, I started college in 1988 so by 1989 I was deep into schoolwork, getting drunk and getting stoned. I was completely obvious to the outside world so it came as quite a shock to me.

  • Rhywun||

    If you thought Out of Time (which was the last album I bought) was bad... take a listen to some of the crap they did later. Unlistenable. I hear the new one is good though, so... huh.

  • JB||

    Good point, JB. Keep in mind, I'm not condemning today's Dem party (except for being, like the Republicans, by and large a bunch of sell-outs).

    That was mainly a knock against Welch. If he is going to be really pissed at the Chicom party (which he probably should), then he should probably be more pissed at the Democrat party.

    Things have changed in China and it's a bit of willful ignorance to ignore that fact. Is there more room for improvement? Yes, but honestly I'm more worried about the US's moves to become more communist. Political freedoms will come as economic freedom grows (there may be more lag than we would like of course).

    Whereas in the US as economic freedom shrinks, we are likely to see political freedom shrink as well.

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