Posted by: Mark Nielsen | November 1, 2016

Roger Waters on The Dark, Dangerous Men Behind Locked Doors


Roger Waters, with brilliant conversationalist Marc Maron

The podcast in question:


Comedian/podcaster Mark Maron interviewed Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters on his one-of-a-kind “WTF?” podcast this fall, and as usual, both men were brilliant (and both “dark”–again as usual). Maron just posted the audio-only interview online on Halloween, the absolute best day to post some socio-politically scary stuff.

For any who know Waters’ philosophically dense work, you will not be surprised by the content of his comments: besides a few personally enlightening, hopeful and funny (if cryptic) anecdotes, most of Waters’ discussion featured an appropriately “scary” indictment of the horrors of post-modern life, how war is conducted, how governments have failed us around the world, and other dehumanizing social developments.

What got me stirred up most was the long, rambling but powerful poem that Waters read aloud, written by him in 2008. After reading it, he reflected upon Obama’s presidency:

“His legacy will be looked upon with pride. He did his best. It’s just that his hands were tied, obviously, and we’re not quite sure by who[m]. Somewhere in those back rooms, somebody is tying the hands of good men—and we’ll maybe never know. But that’s why it’s so important to applaud Edward Snowden, for instance, as a great hero of the republic –in that he gives the rest of us a slightly fairer chance to examine what is going on behind the locked doors, and to not abrogate our inclusion in the process. ”

I generally agree with Waters about Snowden, and about Obama… though I’m also disappointed that Obama’s government has not been much more transparent than other prior administrations. He did not fulfill that campaign promise, nor the ones about closing Guantanamo.

Regarding national security overall, I’m sure a cogent argument can be made by well-intentioned conservatives –and even fearful liberals– that Waters’ comment above is just elegantly defending a traitor (Snowden). Snowden simply blew the whistle (about spying on our own people) on the Department of Defense and the U.S. government overall.

Reformer or disgruntled employee?  Defender of true freedom (and genuine safety), from those within our ranks who oppose it? Or traitor? I say Snowden’s a courageous and conscientious hero… I think. But I won’t claim to be an informed expert. It’s just my instincts talking, instincts about the human race and the powerful forces at work here.

The fact that such spying happens here in the U.S. apparently doesn’t much scare those who trust OUR dark men, because these same cowed citizens are in even  greater fear (probably with good reason) of even darker men OVERSEAS. But still, the ends don’t justify the means in the new cyber arms race. Eye for an eye still is leading to a world gone blind.

The fact that other governments do what we do, and worse (invasion of privacy, collusion, corruption and cronyism –even with criminal elements, secretive war profiteering, etc.) –does not excuse lying or letting down us rank-and-file citizens, whose children are bleeding and dying to defend this sham of a democracy.  Worse yet, those on OUR side who want their secrets kept, want that secrecy not for reasons of security, but to ensure their own bottom line or to protect their power.

As for whether Candidate Trump (who Waters also criticized sharply in the interview) is actually in business with these same dark foreign forces (knowingly or not), that is the biggest, scariest question of all. The New York Times, Slate and others are digging up good evidence of this, even as we speak (and even as Trump’s Russian “contacts” try shredding it). However, it may be too late, or too muddy, to affect the election.

But win or lose, I’m fearful for my own son’s future, in this terrifying Wild West of 21st century cyber-spying and uber-lying. However, I’m also glad the new Marons, Waters and Snowdens are out there for my son–in the arts, in journalism, and maybe even in the big multinational corporations, in the military of various nations, and in government.  As long as these new watchdogs are on the lookout (whoever they are– that’s a subject for another day) we may have a chance. That is, if the environmentally compromised planet itself survives.

So take a lesson from your elders, all you new kids. Go play some Pink Floyd, or Music From Big Pink (i.e. The Band and/or Bob Dylan), or Pussy Riot . Listen to the actual words. And finally, don’t go down without a fight, but instead arm yourself with the best ideas and information that you can.

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