A hard rain is going to fall: soundtrack for a changed world

A slightly tongue-in-check post today… one can’t angrily debunk denialist propoganda in every post.

I’ve been thinking about how popular entertainment can be used to help shape the debate and inform people at the same time. It did make me think what would happen if Hollywood ever got around to making a film dealing with climate change (not the faux climate change film that was the atrocious The Day After Tomorrow).

So of course I started plotting a “Hollywood” court drama/thriller in the mould of “The Informant”…

Former energy/oil executive becomes a “whistleblower” by leaking documents about industry attempts to stifle the debate. Threats are made against him, a legal battle ensures. Said executive is defended by a feisty broken down lawyer on the path to redemption. Or perhaps is an attractive and idealistic graduate taking on a case nobody else is prepared to take…

Still, for me the most important question is not the story but “What song would they chose to play over the films opening credits?”.  

Long time readers of this blog know I’m not afraid to tackle the big questions [/wink].

Thus after much deliberation, I’ve decided it had to be Bob Dylan’s “A hard rain is gonna fall”.

Apart from the obvious connotations of a changed climate to the metaphorical “hard rain” of the song, Dylan’s music strikes me as the epitome of the hardscrabble, no-nonsense approach approach to life those in a changed world will need.

Listening to the lyrics I can’t help but be struck by some of Dylan’s prescient imagery. He evokes images of dead seas, the echo thunder and a wave that “will drown the world”.

The song is a lament for the earth that once was, and a song for the children who will inherit a changed planet.

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’

Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded with hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

One thought on “A hard rain is going to fall: soundtrack for a changed world

  1. Very poignant… Obviously invoked by the environmental movements of the 70’s into the mid 80’s? Nothing’s changed really except that it’s no longer as fashionable to be so green. In fact last election there was a young bloke from Mt Gambier that took the “fashionable” stance of a climate sceptic – Nathan Ashby of the Climate Sceptics Party.
    The fundamental change we need to make as a species is first a frame of mind…
    Sustainable life styles are not just for the tree huggers (although the stigma remains). Even bison migration shows that (historically) they don’t revisit a grazing land within a decade unless they have to (which allows adequate regrowth). If bovine have it sussed, why are we so sure we’ve got a better plan?
    Tim

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