Flaskaland
Sunday, August 13, 2006
 
Maybe I read too much into things. Because I read the book "The Ninth Wave" (one of the few literary treatments of surfing), I never completely regarded the title of one of Arthur Lee's first records as mere surfploitation or even pandering to surfer mythology. I just played with the idea that "The Ninth Wave" by the LAG's was one of the first pop titles to be inspired by literature, and the music (instrumental) was part of the soundtrack being played as young folks stomped and pranced on the dance floor, or indeed did anything or went anywhere as the socio-political elements of the time unfolded. Lee's tune was released in 1964, and I'm not sure I knew it even existed then. But I had read the book by Eugene Burdick called the "The Ninth Wave" at about the same period in time. And Burdick was regarded as a most influential and timely writer, as his novel "Fail Safe" (which uncannily had hit the stands at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis just a few years prior) had been given cinematic treatment and released as a movie in 1964.

In Burdick's novel "The Ninth Wave", a young surfer grows up and embarks on a career in politics. However, he thrives best in the milieu of corrupt politics. His Machiavellian approach allows him to develop strategies to elect a Governor of California. Analyzing polls, exploiting media, and winning over the undecided voters propelled him and his candidate into power. Thereafter, he ruled by his motto that "hate and fear equal power", though he soon exhausted the populace by constantly manipulating their hate and fear. As far as the book was concerned, I recall the power broker was eventually swept out of power rather dramatically, and I felt he was most deserving of his prolonged death by drowning.

I'd picked up the book because I was interested in surfing and someone had described this to me as a coming of age story. And look what I found -- a young surfer grows up into a big scary, adult, totalitarian world ruled by fear and hate. Ah nuts, I said to myself back then, just like what's happening in real life.

But the title of one of Lee's first records gave me pause to stop and think about this co-incidence.

All I know is I made this connection and have drawn these conclusions in the privacy of my own mind.

(P.S. For awhile at least, you can listen to "The Ninth Wave" by jumping over here.)
 




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