Diabolical Anthems

 I probably wouldn't think anything of it, were I not lesson-planning for tomorrow's #Milton class, and this song just happen to come shuffling across my iTunes, but how seriously wicked it is, and how typical. I don't know anything about Greg Holden, apart from the fact that he made this song and Insound (where I buy my records) is giving it away for free. It's a beautiful tune, and a heartfelt, bold delivery, even if it's full of annoying non-sequesters, but when the chorus comes, it is perfectly diabolical. The lyric goes

I will not be commanded
I will not be controlled
I will not let my future go on
without the help of my soul

I can't really make heads or tails of the closing couplet: probably he's pledging to be a more spiritually in-tune person forthwith, and probably that spirituality has more to do with hiking than with established religious traditions, or with a community of believers, but those first lines: geesh.

On the one hand, its obviously just more of the "we don't need no thought-control" aimless rebellion sold by the thought police that are our modern media heroes: the recording "artists" of America (NB this guy's British though). But this declaration is so broad it might as well have come from Satan himself, who says in Paradise Lost,

...Is there no place
Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
None left but by submission; and that word
Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame 
among spirits beneath (iv.79-83)

Even as he considers reconciliation with God, and fleeing finally the Hell he himself has become, Satan trips not on the act, but on the concept of submission, which he cannot abide, just like, apparently, this Greg Holden fellow. Spirituality aside, I can't help but think what a terrible employee he would make. Or soldier. Or student. "Write your name on your paper, Greg." "I WILL NOT BE COMMANDED!" Or a dancer: "Okay you cross to center and..." "I WILL NOT BE CONTROLLED!"

And I'm worried not just for him--Mr. Holden's attitude and humility problems are no especial concern of mine--but for the legions his song compels to throw their fists in the air chanting that slogan over and over. Control is for the weak! Aiming is for cowards! Cooperation be damned! Rise up with me! We may yet challenge the Omnipotent in arms!"




Follow-up: turns out, he's a good-natured and generous sort of chap who wrote this song for a charity, and based it on a literary character: not Milton's, but Dave Eggers'. Still.