Yesterday I attended a Jaguars game for the first time. Before you ask how it’s possible I’ve lived here so long without going to a Jags game, let me assure you that it’s been quite easy. Anyhow, at halftime, a marching band from a not-so-local high school performed “All Along the Watchtower,” which, as the announcer mentioned, was made famous by Jimi Hendrix.
A brief thought on poetry: if you look at the average high-school English reader, you’re not going to find too much that was written in the post-1960-ish. That’s not to say nothing worthy of academic study has been written; it certainly has. I think it’s a combination of two factors. First, stuff written that recently hasn’t been around long enough to be recognized as great or timeless poetry. Second, the people we would’ve called poets in centuries past are now writing rock songs (I would’ve written “pop songs,” but that probably would’ve offended songwriters more than “lumping all the different genres in with rock” would). Throw Bob Dylan (who wrote “Watchtower”) or Smokey Robinson (whom Dylan once called “America’s greatest living poet”) a little further back in time, and they’re poets, not songwriters.
So the boy sitting right behind me asked his dad, “What song did they say this is?” It was perfectly reasonable question, given the boy’s age and the difficulty of understanding the announcer.
The dad responded, “‘All Along the Watchtower.’ It’s a Dave Matthews song.”
Sure it is, just like “Behind Blue Eyes” is a Limp Bizkit song, “American Pie” is a Madonna song, and Psycho is a Gus Van Sant movie.
I was also reminded that the celebrations-after-anything-other-than-a-touchdown look even more silly live than they do on television. Act like you’re not playing Pop Warner ball anymore.