The Gulf was once Over the Rainbow

Climate 411 » Somewhere Over the Gulf Coast: A “Glee” and BP Oil Disaster Mashup – Blogs & Podcasts – Environmental Defense Fund:
[Via Environmental Defense Fund ]

From a comfortable distance – in our classrooms, around our water coolers, through pictures on TV or newspapers – the BP oil disaster is depressing and horrific.

But up close where every breath you take fills your mouth, nose, and lungs with the toxic mix of oil and industrial chemicals, where you talk with resilient and proud locals and hear their frustration, anger, and concern, where the disturbing and unforgettable scenes of a precious and fragile ecosystem in crisis are just seared into your mind – all of it is just so bad, so repugnant, so wrong in the most profound way.

Two days in the Gulf of Mexico left me enraged – and deeply resolved. Both the widespread damage and the inadequacy of the response effort exceeded my worst fears.

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The entire blog post is worth reading. Please do so.

In today’s amazing world, someone who is passionate about almost anything can rapidly produce works that are tremendously affecting. Here, the choice of music by a young girl resonated with the emotions of her father to create something very moving.

That they were able to get permission from Fox says something about their connections. But it also speaks to the passions of many people at all levels of American life are focussed on the Gulf.

The version of the song song by the members of Glee is based not on Judy Garland’s tour de force but on the other stunning rendition of this song by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

Judy’s is a fantastic version but always seemed to me to be the wishes of a young person dreaming of better things that are just not there for her yet. I always choke up with her version because of the longing in her voice. But it is a longing of someone who has never experienced those better things she dreams of. But she might someday, so there is still a twinge of hope there.

But IZ’s version makes me cry big fat tears. It speaks more of someone who knows what he is missing, who actually experienced those dreams earlier in his life. His longing is that of an adult longing for what he can never have again. Hope is almost gone.

In fact, on his classic album, Facing Future, he combines Over the Rainbow with What a Wonderful World. It is as he is describing the wonderful world on the other side of the rainbow. To me, it is one of the most devastating combinations of two songs which, when often song alone, have such different outlooks.

The lyrics of longing meld into a description of what he has seen and what he has lost, then move back to the longing seen on this side of the rainbow.

I think that when I die, at my funeral, I want his version of these two songs performed. It describes so much of what life on Earth is like – our longing for something better, often without ever attaining it.

That is why this video on the Gulf is so heartbreaking for me. It is a wonderful place on Earth and we have harmed it tremendously. It will most likely recover but neither it, not we, will likely be the same. The longing for a better place that the lyrics brings forth is just so sad when we can see that we had that better place.

And it is now gone.