"1933" and "Be More Kind" - Frank Turner
“Don't go mistaking your house burning down for the dawn...
If I was of the greatest generation I'd be pissed
Surveying the world that I built slipping back into this
I'd be screaming at my grandkids: "We already did this"
Be suspicious of simple answers
That shit's for fascists and maybe teenagers
You can't fix the world if all you have is a hammer
The first time it was a tragedy
The second time is a farce
Outside it's 1933 so I'm hitting the bar”
Where’s the meaning?
There is not one simple solution to making the world better, but sometimes there are some small signs or precursors that hint at things to come. Frank Turner references this concept through the example of the Nazi party’s political takeover in Germany. It was a slow path to World War II and the general public at the time (1933) was not alarmed. Which is why he uses the reference of “don’t go mistaking your house burning down for the dawn” as a metaphor for the voting people of Germany of that time. They were voting for change, even if that meant following blindly into war, clearly a destructive outcome bred by frustrations that developed into a desire for change at all costs.
Frank Turner equates these feelings to the actions of current generations. Noting that older generations, who are closer to these past mistakes, should be up in arms about going down this path again. Certain false hope and promises can lead to crafted plans by people that don’t have the best interest of all in mind. The idea of simple answers to very complex issues such as immigration, taxes, and attacking foreign lands can lead in a detrimental direction. The lyric “you can’t fix the world if all you have is a hammer”, demonstrates how this simplicity can be destructive. In the video for this song, you also see a house being built, which took a lot of time and materials. In the end the house is burned by one single act.
Frank Turner’s new song “Be More Kind” is based on the Clive James poem where Turner interprets kindness as being the only thing that survives within the human experience.
Even though times seem tough, when we look back at this time in history we will remember the kindness people showed. This album’s themes are about discovering why the world has shifted in thought and how can we understand one another when having conflicting ideals. Whether it is through shouting at the top of our lungs for change in the streets or just drinking the day’s problems away, this album covers both feelings.
Does history repeat itself? Even though we seem to progress as a society, are we making the same mistakes that will inevitably lead us to the same results? When we see gender and race move towards equality but also see laws that push back, does this evidence this phenomenon? Even though we know the history of our country and our own experience, why do we accept this as normal life and movement?
How do we create change within ourselves and others? Perhaps we can incite change through writing government officials, gathering funds and creating campaigns, and/or by developing new ideas. But even these formal actions aren’t the only way to do so effectively. Sometimes change can come by simply discussing hard issues with friends, coworkers, and family.
How do we create constructive conversations with opposing points of view? Discussing different points of view can create new points of view and learning from “the enemy”, which can build more understanding. Even though this can be tough at times, if these discussions never take place then the silence can be deafening. In this particular song’s historical reference, Turner asks why people are remaining silent now. When the Nazi party rose to prominence, for instance, not a lot of voices questioned the outcome and eventually built fear to speak out at all. There ended up being a strong silence, lots of hidden behind doors, and eventually war.
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