We knew it wasn’t going to stop at Confederate statues. But we must admit to being a bit surprised that the pro-toppling movement’s next target would turn out to be … classic rock?

Contributing opinion writer Jennifer Finney Boylan concludes:

For a lot of baby boomers, it’s painful to realize that some of the songs first lodged in our memories in adolescence really need a second look. And it’s hard to explain why younger versions of ourselves ever thought they were OK in the first place.

I want to live in a world where I can be moved by art and music and literature without having to come up with elaborate apologies for that work or for its creators.

But does such a world exist? It is hard to think of some of our greatest artists without also thinking of their messy, sometimes destructive lives. In so many cases, it’s the very chaos of those lives that has helped create the art. It’s easy to romanticize that chaos and to ignore the wreckage artists can leave in their wakes.

It was Don McLean, in “American Pie,” who asked if music can save our mortal souls. My guess is probably not. But it can help us to time travel, and not only to our adolescent past. Maybe reconsidering those songs, and their artists, can inspire us to think about the future and how to bring about a world that is more inclusive and more just.

Or, alternatively, classic rock Karens like Jennifer Finley Boylan can Walk This Way — right out the door.



Don’t be like Jennifer, guys.

Jennifer’s got it twisted, sister.

Editor’s note: The headline originally referred to Boylan as a New York Times opinion columnist. It has been changed to reflect that she is a New York Times contributing opinion writer.