"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jesus Christ Superstar

Forty years ago today, the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, by Andrew Lloyd Webber, opened on Broadway.   I can't help thinking that it wouldn't be produced today, because critics would label it to be too "evangelical."   Yet it was radical in its day, an aspect of the 1960s that is often forgotten today -- that the 1960s generation rejected organized religion, but not for secularism, but instead often for a more emotional, immediate spirituality.   No era is ever just one thing, and I've often thought that we do a disservice to history by talking about "the Greatest Generation," or the "McCarthy Era," or the 1950s, or the 1960s, or the 1970s, or Generation X, or Generation Y, or all of the other ways in which we simplify history.   Anti-war protestors died at Kent State; at the same time, thousands of young people were going to class, studying, advancing their careers.    Young people went to Woodstock to party; at the same time, other young men were in the military, overseas, fighting proudly for their country.   No era is ever monolithic.

Here's one of the most beautiful songs from the musical:

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