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It’s been almost 10 years since Garbage released beautiful garbage, in 2001. One of the bands that never seem irrelevant no matter which decade it is, Garbage’s ‘Parade’ is one of those songs that celebrate individuality, non-conformity and not misunderstand concepts of freedom and liberty. While it certainly takes a pronounced stand against mass marketing and packaged ‘art’, it also speaks a lot about how hollow ‘culture’ can be.
‘Nihilism!’, one might accuse but Parade encourages the listener to believe in something that is worth fighting for, as the lyrics of the song puts it “it doesn’t matter who you are’. Unfortunately, human culture has always insisted that it truly matters how you live, what you believe in, what you drink, what you eat, what you do not eat, which position you like it the best, whether you are circumcised or not, whether you are born with a penis or a vagina, and so on and so forth.
While ‘human values’ teach us that all these qualities and more are important and create the ‘essence’ of a person, and the reason for one’s existence, Parade suggests that while life could be pretty meaningless, it could be made worthwhile if you could believe in something that is ‘worth fighting for’. Thus, if you choose to fight for yours or your friend’s right to keep a child’s body intact, that could be a step away from the ‘parade’.
If you believe that it is worth fighting for your right to stay healthy in a country where appointments are given 3 months after you report falling sick, then you are again moving away from the ‘parade’. Being unconventional and not conforming to accepted social and cultural norms could just be the most powerful tools to ‘believe in something that is worth fighting for’. However, that certainly would not include manufactured belief systems like religion, cults, fascism and sometimes, even science to an extent.
The flipside of course, is that we never learn from history, and the parade continues in different forms and names. Ka-boom!
Parade on YouTube