Bacharach vs. Marx

Raindrops keep falling on my head

I did not know or understand what these words meant then. It did not matter anyway. The time was 1977; the place was Chelyabinsk—the birthplace of the T-34 tank and the Soviet hydrogen bomb. The town’s skyline was dotted by smokestacks spewing gases of various colours and degrees of noxiousness, making the opening of windows a risky undertaking. To even mention the clean air would be an open invitation to a discreet visit from the Ministry of Love.

That was the time and the place when and where I heard this lovely song. I sat on the floor next to a record player, looking like a stunned mullet, listening to Burt Bacharach’s “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”. I kept replaying it, glorying in its kindness, its gentleness and seemingly effortless cadence of laughter, optimism and elegance. Oh, how this music differed from the Soviet “entertainment”, which inevitably demanded sacrifices, exhorting listeners to burn with enthusiasm for unpaid work, to struggle, to fight, to be angry and full of hate towards “class enemies”. Listening to this unbearably beautiful music, I cried. I did not need to understand the words. I understood the universal language of love, the Esperanto of beautiful music. Was it the weakness of my character that makes me cry upon hearing beautiful music, I wondered. (I decided to experiment and deliberately put this record on during a heated argument. The argument fizzled out.)

Without detracting from the tremendous achievement of Ronald Reagan (may you rest in peace, our dearest Gipper) I suspect, nay, I am convinced that Western music contributed significantly to the demise of the USSR by providing a ready-made musical comparison between these two societies, a comparison overwhelmingly not in favour of the “Society of developed Socialism”. The language of music told everyone that there was something wrong with the life we had at the time. The Western music was so much kinder and so much more beautiful than ours.

Soviet officials understood the danger and tried to fight it. In the end, they just ran out of ammunition. I remember ridiculous banners in the Soviet periodicals—“The battle with the Bee Gees is looming large”, “ABBA—the paid agents of our ideological enemies”, “Soviet youth does not need Beatle mania, and it needs ideological strengthening” and similar pearls. Instead of being indoctrinated, their readers just laughed. How do you fight beautiful music without being laughed at?

The fruitless fight of the Soviets against the beauty and elegance of the best that Western society had to offer reminds me of the present fight of the climate change aficionados against the “climate change deniers”. This fight, conducted by the ideologically pure and morally outstanding against the politically unwashed and sinful, is similarly fruitless. Stripped of the gilding of moral grandstanding, this fight pursues purely political goals. Since class goals were not achievable in Australia by the standard ideological gobbledygook of Marxist pseudo-philosophy, a political detour was needed to avoid irrelevance. The worldwide ideological bankruptcy of Marxist thought left its proponents with a clear dilemma—be dropped into the dustbin of history (the fate these Merlins of our society have foretold to everyone else, never envisaging it for themselves) or change. No big surprises, they decided to change. These old class warriors flocked towards clean, green and renewable. Now they are squirming under the green banner of Jihad—sorry, I meant to say nature protection, which is, in reality, the good old pursuit of political power by all possible means adjusted to the reality of the political battlefield. However, nothing of political substance has changed. If, in the past, these guys have propagated class struggle, class hatred and redistribution of the means of production by violence, today they wish to achieve the same ends by controlling access to the air, water and other resources.

During the long and difficult years of the recent Australian drought, these brave fighters for clean, green and sustainable told us that the drought was the result of climate change. We were admonished—indeed, scared—that if we did not mend our sinful ways, we would be doomed. We were also told that we will never ever have enough water in Australia because we have overspent it, our grandchildren will have been disinherited and it is all our fault, so we all, naturally, will be doomed. Now, not so many years later, when our dams are full and raindrops keep falling on our heads, we are told that this water abundance is also the result of the climate change and if we do not mend our sinful ways we, naturally, will all be doomed. So let’s get it straight—droughts and high temperatures are the results of climate change; at the same time, floods and cold winters are also the results of climate change. Gets a bit confusing. Did someone do an especially effective rain dance? If, according to our professional doomsayers, whatever we do is bound to end up in a catastrophe, so what is the point of carbon taxes, green credits, ecologically sustainable economy … ?

I have a request to make—will the guardians of humanity’s future make up their minds about the consequences of the climate change, if there is such a thing? Or even if there is none? And could you, perchance, let us sinful and morally suspect humans enjoy the time we have left on this planet, while the raindrops still falling on our collective head? Is it too much to ask?

The pleasure of the rainfall, the music of the rainwater pipes, an air full of ozone after the storm, the rivulets of the rain water on the beach sand – it is enough to make a grown man cry from happiness. Do not take it away from us, like the Soviets tried in the past. They tried but failed. Miserably. Mind you, and so will you. I saw it myself. I was there. Sooner or later you will fail, like all good Marxists do. Why don’t you enjoy the rain instead? All together now – Raindrops keep falling on my head…

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