Friday, September 12, 2008

History According to Pearl Jam

Though more suited for world history, Pearl Jam's "Do the Evolution" music video certainly presents itself for some good discussion of human nature and how history repeats itself. Though not 100% classroom ready, it can be prefaced with some discussion and used as a tool to introduce history.

And though the lyrics suggest a satirical look at the religiously faithful, the video ponders much more than just religion. In college me and a friend analyzed this entire album and easily pulled biblical references from every song. This one is no exception. (Armageddon - "2010 watch it go to fire")

The video begins with evolution from cells to dinosaurs on to early man. It continues towards the Crusades showing a medieval knight preparing for battle. The video evolves to match the lyrics discussing the stock market crash. The KKK is shown doing some kind of ritual dance. It references Nazi troops and World War 1 trench warfare. There's a sequence of a slave master whipping a slave...There's a scene depicting what looks like the bombing of a Vietnamese village, by the "evil" United States. And it goes on towards a Pink Floyd-esque futuristic era, with the idea that computers are taking over and mankind is in the decline.

So who's to blame for mankind's de-evolution? Vedder and Pearl Jam seem to blame world leaders, religious leaders and large institutions in general.


I'm ahead, I'm a man
I'm the first mammal to wear pants, yeah
I'm at peace with my lust
I can kill 'cause in God I trust, yeah

It's evolution, baby

I'm at piece, I'm the man
Buying stocks on the day of the crash
On the loose, I'm a truck
All the rolling hills, I'll flatten 'em out, yeah

It's herd behavior, uh huh
It's evolution, baby

Admire me, admire my home
Admire my son, he's my clone
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

This land is mine, this land is free
I'll do what I want but irresponsibly
It's evolution, baby

I'm a thief, I'm a liar
There's my church, I sing in the choir: (hallelujah, hallelujah)

Admire me, admire my home
Admire my son, admire my clones'

Cause we know, appetite for a nightly feast
Those ignorant Indians got nothin' on me
Nothin', why? Because... it's evolution, baby!

I am ahead, I am advanced
I am the first mammal to make plans, yeah
I crawled the earth, but now I'm higher
2010, watch it go to fire
It's evolution, baby

Do the evolution
Come on, come on, come on

-- Eddie Vedder/Stone Gossard

PS - Korn's "Evolution" has a similar message... but with a lot less history and more things that make you go hmmmm...

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Hercules Mulligan said...

Hi Kevin. I know you probably have a very busy schedule, but I was wondering if you would have the time to participate in something I cooked up recently. If not, please don't feel any pressure on my account. This is just an invitation.

I started a fun little meme about a month ago, called "Founding Fathers' Quote Friday," and if you would have the time to post a quote from the Founding Fathers every Friday on your blog, and then share the link to your post on my "Mr. Linky" widget on my Friday posts, I would be absolutely delighted. Just make sure that the quotes you post are in the category of the theme of the month. For example, the theme of this month (September) is "liberty."

For your convenience, Blogger allows you to write posts ahead of time, and have them published automatically at a certain set time (say, Friday morning). I will let you know what the monthly theme will be every first Thursday of every month.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via my blog comments, or read the link above.

Anonymous said...

If there is a teacher posting to this blog has anyone ever shown this music video to your history classes? What kind of discussions have arisen from viewing the Pearl Jam's video about world history?

Jeff Wolf

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