The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #93966   Message #1816636
Posted By: Ron Davies
22-Aug-06 - 10:34 PM
Thread Name: Johnny Cash: The Kitsch of Death!
Subject: RE: Johnny Cash: The Kitsch of Death!

I believe you have misunderstood what I said--and that we're actually not that far apart. I believe that the focus on death in Sacred Harp, especially in the 19th century--when it was so omnipresent--was in some instances a comfort for some of the Sacred Harp singers. No matter what their sufferings here--which were many--they were assured of a better life in "Canaan's fair and happy land where my possessions lie". Many did probably believe in a literal life hereafter--death was just the portal--and found it comforting.

They obviously, as healthy individuals, were not longing for death--but when mortally ill, did not fear death as much as the 20th century seemed to. And the words and music of Sacred Harp reflect this.

And your reference to Hobbes is a red herring. Nasty, brutish and short is correct--many lives were in fact that--but to extrapolate from that a longing for the Leviathan state also is unjustified. "Hobbesian" in general usage is often used as shorthand for "nasty, brutish and short"--and nothing else. And I suspect you know this.

By the way, how much Sacred Harp singing have you done?