Gary Jules’ Mad World

I saw Donnie Darko alone, in 2004 on a sliver of land in the Atlantic, in November.  It was cold, windy, and lonely.  It was the perfect film for that night. It was creepy and strange, but had something to say.  I’m not really sure what that was, at the time . . . and I maybe I still don’t, even to this day.

There was a moment that things were clear in the film, and that was a montage with the song Mad World, a cover song for the original by Tears For Fears.  It showed several of the characters in various emotional states.  It was Bradbury melancholy, in sound and video.
Strikingly, a song released in the 80’s, had really struck a chord with Millennials, and maybe even bled into the pre and post generations.  Even the “Gears of War” video game franchise, adopted it in one of their sequels, at the beginning of one of their most popular maps.  The slowed down cover from Gary Jules, is a commentary on our current, American culture.  We can play a video game, with all players controlling an avatar of grotesque violence, that frequently smashes the skulls of opponents or saws them in half, in beautiful 4K, with the quiet song of Mad World as the intro.

I liked the movie, but the song is what really stuck with me.

It reminds me of something like what Phil Connors heard every morning . . . “Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today . . . it’s cold out there everyday.”

The original song had a similar feel.  A feel that no matter how bad things are, there is a positive beat, and that we are all here for another day.

I graduated in the year 2000.  Is my generation feeling extreme dissatisfaction with the status quo, the rat race, and their childhood?  If you don’t get up early, is that bad?  Is it common to know people, but not be able to connect with them, in the way that you want to, or expected to?
If you do get up early, and work hard, are you going nowhere?
Are we unable to feel real emotions, other than apathy and indifference.
Is being sad so horrible and terrifying that we want to die?

Maybe for some of us, but not for me.  It’s songs like this that remind me that no matter how bad that any of us think things are, we chose to be here, up until this moment, and at any moment, we can choose not to be.

That’s pretty empowering, and it’s songs like Mad World, that remind us of that.

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