What I did not realize until I hit Wikipedia was that the original title/lyrics were "Why Must There be a Morning After?" This downer of a title was deemed at the time to be too realistic, cynical and depressing by the producers. Instead of concentrating on the cast of thousands which sank to a watery grave in the movie, they thought it would be better to reflect on the lucky few who were rescued in the end -- maybe one percent of the passengers. This worldview eventually become the Reaganesque "Morning in America" canard: celebrate the good fortunes of the few and their riches will eventually trickle down upon the rest of us."There's got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night", etc.
Whether the White House's reason for restricting Plan B for younger girls is also a canard, I don't know.* I am not a medical professional. Then again, neither is HHS Secretary Sebelius, nor is her boss. The scuttling of the FDA rule certainly does seem to be a political one, designed to soothe away the worries of the fence-sitting voters of the religion-clinging class. Its reasoning is also sickeningly close to all those "health and safety concerns" given as reasons for shutting down Occupy camps. It is also in keeping with Obama's totally gratuitous and multiple invocations of Jesus during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony last week.
Intoned the president this morning: "As the father of two daughters, I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine."
As the mother of one daughter who knows the lingo: "Whatev." I am sick of talking about him and his paternalistic patter, his calls for shared sacrifice and austerity. Let's get back to that other Morning After theme I started in on before going off my tangent.
The oligarchy and the Style section of the New York Times may not realize it yet, but fully one third of Americans are now at or near poverty. A lot of us have drastically simplified our lives more out of necessity than choice -- and have found the painful experience to be a gateway to rebellion and resistance. For some people anyway, hard times that don't include an illness or homelessness can be invigorating, a spiritual reawakening, a reassessment of what really matters. We have moved on to our own "Plan B's", our own Mornings After. The Occupy movement encompasses this new philosophy born of necessity. The many heartfelt, thoughtful and inspiring comments from the readers of this blog reflect this philosophy.
The anti-materialism movement is also reflected in a piece by Naomi Wolf posted on Al Jazeera. Wolf, too, sees the glass half-full in the surprising upside to a lousy economy:
After two wars and a half-dozen undeclared conflicts in the past decade, the US has entered a period of unprecedented cultural hibernation.The Occupy movement is also the outright rejection of despair and a repudiation of politics as usual. As Chris Hedges writes in "Death of the Liberal Class",
Gardening, scrapbooking, knitting and cooking have all become newly shabbily chic. In the urban neighbourhoods to which the young and hip are moving, city garden plots and heirloom tomatoes grown in window boxes have replaced Lexuses and Priuses.
Other young hipsters have moved farther out into the country in search of an idyllic new narrative fantasy. The young couple - he with a beard and she in a sundress and rubber boots - are homesteading in the Hudson River Valley with a flock of chickens, or in New Mexico in an ecofriendly straw-bale house. They have replaced the young couple of five years ago - he with the hedge fund, she with interior decorators - in a McMansion in Westchester County.
As those who retained their identity during slavery, or the long night of twentieth century fascism or communism discovered, resistance will be reduced to small, almost imperceptible acts of defiance. Music, theatre, art, poetry journalism, literature, dance and the humanities, including the study of philosophy and history, will be the bulwarks that separate those who remain human from those who become savages.Hedges was wrong about only one thing. Resistance is huge, and the defiance is global. Welcome to Morning After in America. It's the sweetest hangover.
*Update: Definitely a canard. At the time I wrote this post, I had not read that Obama claimed girls would be able to walk into a store and grab this medication off a shelf between the batteries and the bubblegum. I read some of the Times comments and became newly enraged at this pandering politician.