(Today we present the dramatic conclusion to yesterday's epic song discussion. Also, we'd like to know what your favorite war/anti-war songs are, and any recommendations. Please post below.)
Rebuttal to “The General” by Eric
There are two types of “moral” war stories: pro-war and anti-war, and neither is as compelling as the truth. When Dispatch wrote “The General,” they consciously set out to write an “anti-war” song. Though I sympathize with this message, it is the message that dooms the song.
Listening to the song I have so many questions: Why did the General make this decision? Would the men walk away? If this were a true war story, it would feature what would actually happen: other officers and the soldiers would find the General’s action treasonous. Be it World War II, Vietnam or Iraq today, if a General did what “The General” did, he would be killed on the spot, especially on the “eve of a great battle.” The men would “not step back” and the war would continue. This song does not feel real to me; it feels too moral, pedantic.
One song observes the world, the other writes an essay. Though I, and my brother, agree with the song’s thesis, I prefer my essays in the opinion section (or on blogs) not in my songs.
Addendum: To avoid confusing our readers, I love “the General.” During a certain time in my life, it spoke to me (as it spoke to like a billion other college kids in the lead up to the Iraq war).
Rebuttal to “Daniel” by Michael
The article in support of “Daniel” makes a few trenchant insights and excellent points. I disagree that the idealism of “The General” ruins its effectiveness as storytelling; but, the ability to convey a story is the greatest distance between “Daniel” and “The General.”
“Daniel” is a pastiche of images. A man lost his sight in the war and the description of that man by his brother strikes us as tragic. This war story has no beginning, no end, merely a series of descriptions, no context. While the truth of those descriptions may repulse, it does not necessarily convince us of the true cost of war.
“The General” certainly does.