Rebellion, New OrderStyle: What Happened to It? – National Review

Posted: April 23, 2020 at 2:45 am

A scene from the music video for New Orders Singularity(via YouTube)For the quarantined sheeple, its as if rock n roll, punk, and hip-hop never happened.

History comes back to provoke us in New Orders Singularity music video, which debuted in 2016 but has found fresh popularity. Its new viral status owes to deep quarantine viewing. Confined spectators respond to the videos depiction of isolation, seclusion, and, finally, rebellion as captured in footage from West Berlin prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain.

The actions shown in Singularity provide a strong contrast to the daily 7 p.m.ritual by self-imprisoned New Yorkers who crack open their apartment windows to clap, bang pots and pans, and cheer. The ceremony, supposedly intended to encourage the citys first responders, lasts only twice as long as a New York minute shorter than Singularity itself (4:13). This timid, self-conscious group activity has inspired appreciation of Singularitys nostalgia for genuine rebellion.

The Twitterverse is aroused by envy. New Order, the distinguished British dance-pop-synth band, had commissioned the Singularity video from designer Damian Hale, an expert in live-concert visuals, who compiled clips from B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin 19791989. That film was a fact-based chronicle of British music producer Mark Reeders experiences in Europes post-punk scene; its records frenzy, tumult, and chaos. More than a celebration of youthful uprising, it specifically exhibits live-wire reaction to silence and social obedience a marked contrast to Americas orderly sequestration during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Singularitys appeal raises questions about Millennial compliance so different from punk-era rebellion during this emergency. Does it set the stage for socialist dictatorship as newly ambitious mayors and governors, along with the hotly emboldened news media, control citizens behavior through fear? Singularitys images of dissent and unrest, edited to New Orders elegant dance beats, salute fearlessness and abandon by a generation that distrusted politicians and establishment media. Mark Reeder and his punk-culture cohorts sought to express their own sense of liberty. Scenes of close-quarters dancing and sex flout the seriousness of social-distancing. Repeated shots of various, vintage, flipped fingers seem aimed at 21st-century acquiescence itself.

Punk culture disregarded the maudlin fear of danger and embraced it an outrageous, unexpected expanse of FDRs idea that theres nothing to fear but fear itself, which COVID-19 politicians dont dare repeat. So Singularity commemorates fearlessness, and in doing so, it shames that 7 p.m.pseudo-civility. Compared with New Orders scenes of disorderly conduct, the polite clapping and cheering come from people in New Yorks most liberal, Hillary-supporting districts (from my neighborhood perspective, the nervously cracked windows are in swanky brownstones) that share a pampered sense of what resistance really means. Unlike those radicals in Berlins anti-Stasi youth subculture, the Manhattan noisemakers seem at a loss about what to do with themselves; they may well be of the ADD generation, former Ritalin kids who are now cautious homeowners and urban stakeholders.

The protests in Singularity havent yet happened in the U.S., tensely considering the reopening of the economy, but the fever of fed-upness (a better term than the now discredited resistance) indicates some underlying exasperation such as is inchoately expressed by the 7 p.m.bourgeois ritual. Singularity throws images of liberation back at a nation of sheeple. Baaing people. Applauding people. They really seem to be congratulating themselves for their own helplessness, for upholding government edicts during the clampdown, keeping quiet, and waiting all day for that brief moment when they can pretend to appreciate other peoples sacrifice. The typical liberal impulse is to mistake self-congratulation for altruism. A populace that disguises its own lack of self-awareness as gratitude demonstrates the essence of conformity and surrender.

This meek, docile applauding at 7 p.m. suggests a dire transformation of the American spirit. Its as if rock n roll, punk, and hip-hop never happened.

Some skeptics have asked: Wheres that rebel spirit? Wheres Antifa now to protest the confining of the indigent and shut-in, in the interest of justice the first steps toward fascism? Where are the Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movements when the republics freedom and liberty need to be restored, as those Cold War Berliners desired?

The popularity of New Orders Singularity offers a last hope against restrictions that are not entirely based on science but come from the fiat of leaders who claim to know whats best.The song Singularity mourns the loss of camaraderie, while the video supplies virtual, vicarious protest. Its a reminder of the punk ethic buried inside.

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Rebellion, New OrderStyle: What Happened to It? - National Review

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