It is sort of sad to behold. Neil Young was once an A-list celebrity. He packed stadiums and wrote songs on political issues of the times. Young was respected and honored by music fans and political activists alike. Decades have passed now though and what we see is a shell of the artist that was Neil Young in the midst of a late-life crisis trying to create himself an issue to get his name back into the mainstream.
With no low hanging fruit such as the war in Vietnam or soldiers killing protesting students in American universities, Young has decided to jump on the anti-energy bandwagon and go after Alberta’s oilsands. One would wish that Neil had educated himself a little better on the issue but I guess that really was never his intent.
Neil Young embarrassed himself by referring to Alberta’s oilsands as being comparable to Hiroshima after he made a whirlwind visit to Fort McMurray with washed up actress Daryl Hanna last summer. Rex Murphy (a true Canadian legend) excellently wrote on Young’s hypocritical idiocy here.
During Neil Young’s tour of Fort Mac, he hired a local photographer and chartered a helicopter to get some footage of the area. The disillusionment and disappointment in Neil Young was very evident in a great piece written by the photographer he contracted. He had looked forward to working with Young and showing how things work and look in Fort McMurray. Moen’s discovery of Young’s close-minded focus on trying to create the image of a wasteland was an eye-opener for him and well worth the read.
Now Neil is going to hold a series of concerts entitled: “Honor the Treaties” with the proceeds going towards a legal fund for the Chipewyan natives to fight against the oilsands.
While Neil Young has made it clear that he has no interest in actually pursuing facts in his little self-serving, anti-progress crusade, one would wish that he would wipe the crud from his rheumy eyes and actually read the treaties between Canada and native bands (most Canadians should actually). There is no anti-oilsands clause and there are no violations of treaties happening up there. If indeed we “Honored the Treaties” literally as Young believes we should, the natives up there would be decimated.
What the oilsands are actually doing is providing hope for a future for Canadian natives in Northern Alberta. What do Californians like Young and Hannah really think that those people will do up there without local resource development? The fur trade is not coming back and a lifetime of welfare is not exactly a goal to aspire to. The oilsands are employing thousands of natives in Alberta and providing countless opportunities for social and economic improvements up there. Young is like so many of the latte set in that they want some sort of feel good zoo of aboriginal people all living happily as they apparently had 300 years ago living off the land and dying at the ripe old age of 28. These celebrities can then pat themselves on the back at having preserved Indians of the North like so many whooping cranes or some other creature. The concept that these are actually people who need to earn a living is utterly lost on them.
Go away Neil. Retire with a little grace. You made a mark and now you are sullying your own legacy through an ignorant and self-serving activist effort which will harm the very people that you claim to want to help. It is pathetic to watch.