Friday, October 03, 2003

Understanding American Pie

Well. An entire website devoted, as the URL indicates, to "Understanding American Pie."

The product of a former English major who desperately needs to find a life, the website's author notes that he [insert preparatory throat clearing here]:

found myself laboring under the constraint of keeping it all as clear as possible to avoid losing track of the song's emotional arc. This required that I distill events, simplifying and generalizing what was in reality a very complex period in American life. So that when I write of the placid conformities of the 1950s, it is not to say that the 1950s were entirely tranquil: the civil rights movement was in fact born in that decade, which, along with the paranoia of the Communist Red Scare and nuclear proliferation, laid the groundwork for the formation of the 1960s New Left; just as the Beat Generation of this decade gave birth to the Counterculture a few years later. And in speaking of the turmoil of the 1960s, I am not suggesting that every individual was in the front lines of the revolution; the majority of Americans, in fact, were not. But these are necessary short hands, helping to sort out what were undeniably profound shifts in our lives and the way we saw ourselves—as anyone who lived through this period can attest to.

Oh. This is that annoying song, right? The one that, well, pretty much is the album The Best of Don McLean. (Yeah, yeah, I know, Vincent. Whatever. If someone says "Don McLean" you're not gonna think "Hey, that's the guy that sang Vincent!")

Well, anyway, if you're dying to know exactly what the hell a "levee" is, or why anyone would be driving a Chevy there, here you go.


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