To the editor:
“Ball of Confusion”: (1970) Song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong; performed by the Temptations.
Is it sheer coincidence or a celestial sign from a known yet unknown power? I write these words prompted by my purchase of Bob Dylan’s new book “Philosophy of Modern Song.” In it, Dylan imparts his interpretational prowess of 66 songs on the reader. So, here I am in the early morning hours of Nov. 9, 2022, the day after the midterm national elections and having just completed Chapter 17, titled “Ball of Confusion,” a song from the Temptations, and thus exposing some deeper thoughts that songs and song titles inherently make clear.
In the context of today, there’s certainly a “Ball of Confusion.” Not so much the election outcomes although, admittedly, there might some philosophical connections here. Nevertheless, the lyrics came right out of the turbulence and socio-economic confusions of the ‘70s. Could that song be a visionary prediction of our 2022 world of today, some 52 years earlier? Perhaps, if you’re into lyrical expressions of life as I am.
But wait! There’s more. Let me add an insightful twist into that “Ball of Confusion.” Leading into Nov. 8’s midterm elections, there was a lunar eclipse the night before where a red-hued full moon appeared as the Earth cast its full shadow while casually passing by its celestial roundabout neighbor.
To see the beauty and eminence of a full moon unscathed beforehand, and then, suddenly, be a witness to a crimson sheath slowly swallowing that Great Ball of Beauty, turning an otherwise magical moment into an eerie visual of a blood moon descending as a result of the Earth’s presence.
The connotations for both the song and the moment were a profound realization of the fragility of our world and our country’s position in it. To all our newly elected officials and incumbents of this great nation of ours, the “Ball of Confusion” is now in your court. Yours to unwind, protect and govern — and yes, interpret for the millions of Americans who just spoke to you. Let’s treat the blood moon as the wonder it is and take heed of this metaphorical message of keeping the warlocks and Willie Wonkas on the “Dark Side of the Moon.”
Below is a verse from The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion”:
“People moving out — people moving in
“Why, because of the color of their skin ...
“Evolution, revolution, gun control, sound of soul
“Shooting rockets to the moon, kids growing up too soon
“Politicians say more taxes will solve everything
“And the Band Played On.”