Friday was National Gun Violence Awareness Day. To bring more attention (aka awareness) to the cause, Pearl Jam released the original, uncensored version of their 1992 music video "Jeremy". "Jeremy" was the band's third single (well technically it wasn't considered a single at the time) off of their legendary, 13x platinum, debut album Ten. While "Jeremy" didn't come close to cracking the Top 40, its impact is still felt today.
Eddie Vedder witnessed (thankfully, non fatal) gun violence while he was in school and wrote the song after reading the story of Jeremy Delle in the newspaper. Eddie and Jeff Ament have both said the message of the song and video was to address the communication breakdown between kids and adults; how easy it is to turn your back to someone who needs help during the stresses of everyday life. THIS WAS IN 1992.
While this country is addressing some other major societal problems that should've stopped decades ago.. I find the themes of "Jeremy" like mental health (or the lack of caring about it) and gun violence incredibly relevant.
The censored version of the video became a massive hit on MTV in the early 90's; Jeremy won Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Best Metal/Hard Rock Video and Best Direction in a Video (Mark Pellington) at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards.
Obviously I missed this shit in real time. I wasn't watching much MTV when I was two, but I've been a fan of Pearl Jam as long as I can remember. I don't know the exact year, but I'm guessing sometime in my Great Musical Awakening of the early 2000's I learned about the history of "Jeremy" thanks to a lot of VH1. There was almost a mystique to the video at that age since it was basically banned after Columbine; it's probably what sparked my original interest in Pearl Jam. In a twist of irony, the original censor actually created confusion; some people thought the video showed Jeremy shooting his classmates.
I think the last few weeks have showed us the importance of addressing uncomfortable issues. Just because a topic is uncomfortable doesn't mean you spew "this is why I'm offended juice" everywhere without doing anything of note. Yes, all lives matter, but that won't be true until Black Lives Matter. It shouldn't be so difficult to grasp. I hope while the Revolution is taking place we can also find a way to lump in better mental health treatment and gun control. All gun violence is preventable violence and THAT is what Pearl Jam is trying to get across by releasing their work of art in its original form.
P.S. During my research for the blog I learned the origins of what is now more commonly know as the Nazi/Hitler salute. It was originally known as the "Bellamy salute" after Pledge of Allegiance writer, Francis Bellamy.
As the owner of a history degree I feel somewhat stupid just learning this now from Wikipedia, but in a way it says a lot about the American education system....What we now commonly refer to as the Nazi salute was how you were supposed to address the flag until Congress officially replaced it with the hand over your heart in DECEMBER of 1942. Although it did not start out as a hate symbol, it's easy to look back at pictures of people saluting the flag in say 1920 and be like "what the hell's going out here?" in your best Vince Lombardi. For years, before the U.S. joined the War in 1941 many Americans were like "Maybe we shouldn't be doing the same salute as a fascist dictators?" and would you believe there were major groups who tried to challenge those people? Look up the America First Committee and what they were all about when you get a chance. Did you know Dr. Seuss dabbled in political cartoons?
Seriously, read this shit about the Pledge of Allegiance.
"Under God" was added to the song in 1954 by Dwight Eisenhower aka it's not part of the original. The current Pledge of Allegiance is a remix.