The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878 Message #4029308
Posted By: Lighter
20-Jan-20 - 06:47 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
> "The audience was thus granted access to the Copper brothers’ songs only via a chain of mediations in which the songs were filtered, notated, arranged, and restaged by a group of metropolitan folk-song devotees."
Seems to imply that somebody (including the Coppers and the audience) should be angry about this.
> according to an agenda of nationalism or imperialism
This sounds sinister but isn't. As Brian says, the collectors obviously loved the songs they were collecting. Otherwise, why bother? Did Sharp & Karpeles travel to the remote Southern Appalachians, or publish what they found, because they were driven by a nationalist or imperialist agenda? (A suggestion/ accusation that makes them seem more like jingo politicians stirring up trouble than mere folksong collectors.)
(Cole and Harker might argue there's no such thing as a "mere" collector, because, as is often said, "everything is political" and "everybody has an agenda.")
It seems clear, at least to me, that any nationalist, imperialist, racialist, reactionary, elitist, or similarly unsavory motives the collectors may have had were no greater than the average person's of their day, and far less consequential than those of some.
But suppose the collectors were just as self-deluding, condescending, sanitizing, and generally falsifying as Harker and Cole suggest. Without their "agendas" (sounds calculating, doesn't it?), the folklore, "mediated," edited, and arbitrarily chosen as it may have been, presumably would have gone forever uncollected.
Fortunately that didn't happen. What might we have now if poststructuralists, deconstructionists, post-colonialists, sociopolitical historicists, and others had been around in Scott's day, for example, to do the job of collecting, disseminating, and commenting "right," while trying to keep the likes of the Folk Song Society at bay?