I was up around 4 a.m., channel-surfing. VH1 Classic had a show on called "The Vault," featuring music videos from the '80s. Back in that distant mist-shrouded time, MTV and VH1 actually showed music videos most of the time. Think of that!
Anyway, after a while, a video comes on by Billy Bragg, titled "Waiting For The Great Leap Forward":
It's a paean to communist revolution from late 1988. It starts with lots of black-and-white hagiographic imagery of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong and Nikita Khruschev, and lots of shiny happy communist youth parading in front of their leaders and chanting slogans, with Bragg moving Forrest Gump-like through the scenes, intercut with other scenes of Bragg on tour somewhere in Eastern Europe, probably the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan makes a cameo appearance at the end, hawking Boraxo soap in a vintage commercial. He is obviously a figure of derision, a dangerous cowboy who is trying to prevent the historically inevitable victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. The fool!
Now, ANYTHING from 1988 involving the possibility of a victorious communist revolution looks ridiculously dated today (and indeed, ever since 1992). Bragg was one of those who was on the wrong side of history in the 1980s, he just didn't know it yet. (And indeed, perhaps like many socialists in Europe today, he may not yet know it even now!) The Soviet Union was a doddering 71-year-old and only three years away from its winding shroud. The Berlin Wall, which I was still three months away from vandalizing, loomed high and dark, but was only one brittle year away from falling to hammer-smashed rubble.
And here's this guy who thinks it's the wave of the future. It actually made me laugh as I watched it, because he was so earnestly, spectacularly wrong. He probably had a Betamax videotape recorder, too.