4 thoughts on “Night Music: Gil-Scott Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

  1. A key influence on Public Enemy. I remember this from when it was current, I owned the record and it’s on my itunes. I always liked it but must say even as a kid I never took it very seriously as analysis or prediction. It’s funny though. As a critique of mindless consumerism/celebrity worship it was hardly original in 1970, but there are still lots of good lines. What I find interesting about several of them is that if you change the proper nouns you could use them today with equal effect. Plus ca change. You could also argue that television WAS the revolution. I mean, to judge by this, TV taught Gil-Scott everything he knew about white people, which is like learning about rabbits from Bugs Bunny. I can only hope he learned his lesson when he saw The Jeffersons.

  2. Very good, Gene. I like your take.

    I was seeing the song as less a critique of the consumerism/celebrity worship (though I guess it would be foolish to say it was not) as an incitement to own up to ambition and self respect. To just do it. Only funny, too, and with drums.

    I’d say though that he knew a bit more about white people than Bugs Bunny. He went to Fieldston, probably the ritziest private school in the city.

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