On a thin line

I was thinking tonight about how much I measure things based in popular music. I think part of my allergy to Jamaica Kincaid’s “On Seeing England for the First Time” was based on my presumption that the topic had been dealt with so much better by a few white males who will never be the part of any curriculum.

As I went to the store, one of those songs came on my stereo: Living on a Thin Line

All the stories we’ve been told of kings and days of old
But there’s no England now (there’s no England now)
All the wars that were won and lost
Somehow don’t seem to matter very much anymore
All the lies we were told (all the lies we were told)
All the lives of the people running round and castles that burned
Now I see change but inside we’re the same as we ever were

Living on a thin line, Oh tell me now what are we supposed to do?

If they listened to Jamaica Kincaid, all the people of England would just die. However, most people really don’t find this an acceptable option. Like poetry, songs don’t present answers, only questions. If they attempt to present answers, they generally fall flat. We don’t have Milton’s faith anymore; it’s one of those castles that burned. Humanity became displaced, though as Davies says, inside we’re all the same as we ever were.

A much deeper treatment of the problem is One of These Days in England by Roy Harper. But they’re white males, immediately judged exempt for consideration both for their gender and their existence outside the academy as musicians. I don’t like exclusion, whatever the reason. Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?