“The revolution will not be televised” is a great song by Gil Scott-Heron. It questions the popular culture and its hegemonic form of everyday life and lifestyle. It urges people to step out of the bombardment of mass media icons, while portraying a picture of how spectacle unfolds in the 1970s.
Guy Debord published Society of the Spectacle at the time of the song. The spectacle as Debord puts bluntly is not “a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images”. Both the song and the book are products of an unprecedented mass media explosion in the 1970s.
Despite how hegemonic it sounds, popular culture has a weak spot or a soft belly. Ta daa, counter-hegemonic art and everyday life! Although it has a subtle and invasive nature, the pop culture is powerful as long as we let it appropriate everyday life and culture.
It is discursive warfare! And yesterday, in the middle of the night, we won a battle in it.
A group of rappers dropped a song in Turkey, which is much more powerful than any article written on what has been happening. The 15-minute song, Susamam (I can’t stay silent), is a summary of social issues, from environmental problems to domestic violence. Beyond portraying what has been happening in the country for some time, it is an outcry screaming “enough is enough”.
Within a day, it has reached out so many people in Turkey and abroad. The coverage is expanding as you read these sentences, with over a million viewings on Youtube only.
The song itself means many things. It is a protest against injustice and cruelty. It is self-criticism of a generation raised (and accused) of being apolitical. It is a counter-hegemonic move. It is an in-your-face act that no one can dare to ignore.
All in all, it shows that Turkey is a diverse country with strong embedded opposition and the future is not as bleak as it portrayed in many superficial analyses.