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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Uke Origins: 'The Bloody Great Wheel' (120* d) RE: Origins: 'The Bloody Great Wheel' 18 Jun 13


The meaning of this extreme song would probably vary according to the social context in which it was sung. For instance, in his book "Dark Laughter" (1994), a unexpurgated study of military folksong, Les Cleveland explains that soldiers like himself perhaps found some symbolic resonance when singing "The Great Big Wheel":

"This sadomasochistic parable of a death machine devouring its individual victims is paralleled collectively on the battlefield by the larger spectacle of a whole civilization caught up in the murderous complexities of military technology." (p.28)


I think Gershon Legman makes a similar point, that the song can be read as a protest against industrial civilization - an inhuman techno-Moloch that "f***s people up".


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