Friday, March 10, 2006

Johnny Cash &The Zeitgeist

Can you imagine any of today's singing superstars giving a performance for the convicts of a maximum security prison? Back in the day, Johnny Cash did just that. He's pictured here singing before the inmates of San Quentin, where he turned in a legendary set which became the eponymously titled ' 'Johnny Cash at San Quentin' album.
Here in the UK, you'd never see Sinaed O'Conner or Sting doing anything like this.
UK stars will sing for the Army, if they're overseas invading somebody, and they'll croon for the favour of MPs; but they would run a mile if you suggested they put on a show at Broadmoor.
Something in society has changed; there's been a shift that I can't quite define.
That's the thing about prison. It gives you too much time to brood.


Anonymous Rastaman said...

Something has changed? A BUNCH of things have changed in the past 18 years. The world population has exploded. All the open spaces are pretty much gone. Many species have become extinct and many more will soon follow. Treasured wildernesses are overrun and cut down. Wages are lower compared to costs, homes are harder to buy, people are more packed together, war and unrest is steadily increasing. It's all going to hell in a handbasket. That's the shift you're talking about. There are more prisons with more people in them and a higher per capita in prison in most countries, than ever before. Violence in daily life is steadily rising. Against this backdrop, anyone who still has their freedom is far more concerned about keeping it and keeping safe than they are about the issue of punishment vs. rehabilitation. When someone goes to prison now, it's "Good, another threat removed" and not "What can we do to show this person a better way". The world believes in punishment and incarceration like never before. No one wants to go entertain the inmates. That would just get them abuse and jeopardize their careers.
Prisoners have no sympathy anymore from the world at large. They never had much to begin with, tho. Kind of hard to shed tears for the victimizer instead of the victim. Reality is that most victimizers were themselves victims and acted out what they were taught. Society doesn't take that as an excuse tho, and maybe it shouldn't. Responsibility, like charity, has to begin at home.

9:27 PM  

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