Updated date:

Where'd All the Good People Go: The Genius of Jack Johnson

 "A good deed is never lost: he who sows courtesy reaps friendship; and he who plants kindess gathers love."  --Basil

"We must become the change we want to see."  --Mahatma Gandhi


I believe Jack Johnson offers humanity wisdom and philosophy that are much deeper than most realize. Many individuals may hear his songs on the radio and only observe a catchy tune that is worth their 3 minutes of time.

However, what if I told you that Jack offers some powerful insights that have the potential to change our world?

In this article, I will look at his song, “Good People” from his album, In Between Dreams. Let's begin with the first verse:

“You win it’s your show now

So what’s it going to be?

Because people will tune in

How many train wrecks do we need to see?

Before we lose touch

And we thought this was low

Well it’s bad, getting worse…”

In the first verse of the song, it sounds like Jack is talking about the local news, or perhaps, some negative television show. Most people will probably agree that the news we see on TV is downright negative. In fact, we are usually bombarded by it. This is powerfully described in the first verse:

"How many train wrecks do we need to see?"

When we are shown negative events over and over again, we will get to a point where we literally lose touch with reality. We begin to live in fear and our positive outlook takes a backseat. In fact, there is a strong chance that people will overlay the negative events seen on TV onto future encounters.

"They [The Media], more or less, are forcing us to live in their nightmare."  --Jay Weidner


Jack Johnson - "Good People"

In the chorus of “Good People,” Jack wonders where all the “good people” have gone. I believe at one level that Jack is referring to positive role models that are missing from our American culture. I also believe he is referring to the negative people that are constantly being pushed our way on TV. Let's take a look at the chorus:

“Where’d all the good people go?

I’ve been changing channels I don’t see them on the TV shows

Where’d all the good people go?

We’ve got heaps and heaps of what we sow”

It is clear that a growing number of people are tired of all the negativity that is shown on television. In fact, many are turning to alternative sources. I encourage people to do their own research. Do not take what you see on TV at face value. Check out other sources.

I believe the line “we’ve got heaps and heaps of what we sow” is extremely important. It could also be referred to as cause and effect. If you are constantly pumping negativity into the world, then there is the potential for people to plant those seeds into their reality. An example of this being used in a negative way is when the Nazis brainwashed the German people. Some may even say that we are being brainwashed.

Why not show us the positive side of humanity?

Now, let's turn our focus onto another set of phrases:

“We got this and that with a rattle a tat

Testing one, two, man whatcha gonna do

Bad news misused give me some truth

You got too much to lose”

Jack shares a very important point: “Bad news misused give me some truth.”

It is more than clear that our local news is being misused. By only showing the negative, they are actually causing more damage. In fact,they are actually creating a fear state. This is not who we are:

We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

I believe this constant negativity that is constantly shoved our way is a way of enslaving us. Instead,television should be used to empower us, not make us feel hopeless and afraid. We should not stand there like mindless robots. Each one of us has the potential to make a difference in this world.

Why not do it now?

We can use our imagination to create a new story--a new vision--that inspires and enlightens us to unimagined frontiers.

After all, we are powerful creators: Our thoughts and feelings create our reality.


Terry Fatland (author) from Southern California on March 23, 2012:

Thank you No TV. I appreciate your kind words. You make some excellent points. The media and TV do paint a one sided negative opinion. If you do research, you will find that there are five corporations that control 80% of the media. Even John Mayer paid a reference to the media: "If you own the information(The Media), you can bend it all you want." This, meaning, that you can distort the truth to fit one's agenda.

I also do not enjoy horror films. I do not see how watching an hour and half of senseless violence makes the world a better place.

Personally, I hardly watch TV, save for a couple shows, but that is pretty much it. I don't watch the news do to it's one sided we-love-to-throw-negativity-your-way mindset.

It is vital that there is balance. It is great to be positive, but it is also important to recognize when there is a problem.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

No TV on March 18, 2012:

Great article! I could not agree more.

The media and TV specifically can often paint a very one sided negative opinion, and for this reason I do not watch TV anymore. I have never felt so free in all my life.

I have also stopped watching horror movies to clear my head of this rubbish imagery, it does me no good. These kind of movies do create a fear mentality even if only sub consciously, turn off your TVs people, you won't be missing anything - but you will gain a clearer perspective of reality.

The world is balanced by good and bad equally, you can't have one without the other.

Terry Fatland (author) from Southern California on January 11, 2011:

I agree Caige. There are many different levels to look at. Some people only see the entertainment value, while others may see a deeper meaning in the song. I believe many of Jack's songs hold a tremendous amount of wealth of wisdom in them. The reason for the heavy emphasis on the media and news, is because a lot of people take what they see on the news as 100% gospel. It is clearly being misused as Jack Johnson said! I believe we should not be inundated by so much negativity. What about the positive people and events? If you take a look at the song "Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer, you will see another powerful reference to the media:

"And when you trust your television

What you get is what you got

Cause when you own the information, oh

They can bend it all they want"

We can look at this at a deeper level, but, sometimes, the writer is trying to convey important social issues that we should pay attention to at a very direct level.

Caige on January 10, 2011:

Overall a good analysis and a further look into the meaning behind his words. What if you took it one step farther and looked at the lyrics not as just an insight into the media and the news, but as a view towards life in general, you could easily substitute the idea of television in this song for humanity and the song begins to take on a deeper meaning.

Related Articles