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Baby sharks take to the streets

Niall Ferguson
 

By Niall Ferguson (The Boston Globe)

Baby Shark, do do, do-do, do-do, Baby Shark, do do, do-do, do-do. . . . ”

“I am not sure how reassuring I would find that song if I were 15 months old, in a car surrounded by a crowd of political protesters. However, credit to them for doing their best to soothe the little Lebanese lad, whose mother had made the mistake of driving into their demonstration last week.

As revolutionary anthems go, “Baby Shark” is unusual. The bloodthirsty “Marseillaise” it ain’t, nor the once-stirring, now threadbare “Internationale.” When the hippie radicals of 1968 took to the streets, their soundtrack was classic rock ’n’ roll: the Beatles’ “Revolution” or the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man.” And yet “Baby Shark”— vacuous, repetitive, inane, infantile — is in many ways an appropriate anthem for our times.

The great revolutionary waves of the past had common objectives. liberty, equality, and fraternity in 1789; the nationalist springtime of the peoples in 1848 (and 1989); peace, land, and bread in 1917; make love not war in 1968. You will look in vain for such a uniting theme in the multiple protests that have occurred around the world this year.”

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