The Revolution Is Not On The Internet

Gil Scott-Heron wrote a powerful poem which he later recorded into a song in 1970. The poem and song bear the same title – ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’. It went on to become a popular slogan of the Black Power movement. The song contains quite a lot of pop-culture references that offer fascinating anecdotes from the movement and will send us down wonderful rabbit holes should we want to learn more.

I first heard this song late-2018 and went down such a rabbit hole myself. When I emerged on the other side, I was curious about how a modern day version of this would look like and decided to pen one.

This is also my ‘Hello World!’ equivalent in the world of blogging and I am posting something that I wrote a little while ago. I additionally chose this because of the relevance of the title of my blog and how the poem ends. I think it captures the significance quite well.

The revolution is not on the internet; the revolution is not in our screens.
It is not on our social media feeds or in the subsequent insecurities we breed.
It is not in our endless stream of online videos about how to lead better lives
when we are oblivious to how flippant we are in airport lines.

It is NOT in the sweeping changes we make to our lives,
on a daily basis. 
It is NOT in talking to the rich about how to make the world more equal.
It is NOT in our hashtag activism or our attempts at hipster minimalism.

It is in those conversations we have for the sake of talking, 
in the values we airbrush just to be in the reckoning.
It is in every statement we say first and think later,
in every signal we jump and in every corner we cut,
to get to a point in life, only to tell ourselves, 
'This is not good enough'.

The revolution, though, is not for everyone.
Its significance pales in comparison to the hardships of someone without an education,
the causes for which they bear no personal responsibility.
History, and our selective amnesia around it, points elsewhere.

Our education, if we are educated, should reflect in every little thing we do on a daily basis.
And not just in the entitlement we feel because we are.
It should show in what is a lifetime between a stimulus and our response, and what we do in 'that' time,
Time after time.

How distant are we right now from the person we were five minutes ago?
Why did we stop calling the television an idiot box?
Discretion is the most underused ability in the history of humanity.
A fish needn't know it is swimming in water. 
This is water.
This is water.

H/T to David Foster Wallace.


Update (05/21) – I recently came across a reboot of the original by Gil Scot-Heron by this promising artist by the name of Toby Nwigwe

Here is his version (which is way better than mine) and is definitely worth a listen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s