The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49789   Message #753623
Posted By: Whistle Stop
24-Jul-02 - 08:19 AM
Thread Name: Steve Earle takin' heat for new song
Subject: RE: BS: Steve Earle takin' heat for new song
I've been a big admirer of Steve Earle since he first came to prominence in 1986 or so. He is, in my opinion, one of the greatest songwriters alive today. One of the things that makes him such a great songwriter is that he presents the characters in his songs as real people -- not stereotypes, not cartoon figures or political poster children.

I think this is because he actually sees them as real people, and his gift as an artist is to allow us to see them as real people, too. In doing so, we are challenged to examine our own prejudices and assumptions, which helps us to develop a more intelligent and nuanced view of the world. We NEED to develop a more intelligent and nuanced view of the world if we hope to survive and move beyond the craziness that we all are facing in these times. So I am grateful to artists like Steve Earle and so many others (Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Dave Carter all come to mind in this context) who have helped us realize that we should not be content with simple answers and comfortable assumptions. This is important, and the artists who help us to understand this are important.

In my view, John Walker Lindh is a grownup, and should be held accountable for his actions. When I was his age, I was serving in my country's military, and I certainly knew that I could expect to be held accountable for my actions. I have no problem with the penalty that is being imposed on him for knowingly taking up arms in support of a repressive foreign power, even if that power was not actively at war with the US at the time that he joined them. But I also think that I will be a better person, and will have a better idea of how to contribute positively and constructively to the world that I live in, if I recognize that we are talking about a human being here, and not some sort of cardboard cutout "American Taliban" media creation. I haven't heard Steve Earle's song yet (I will buy his CD when it hits the stores, as I always do), but based on his past work I have no doubt that it will be thought-provoking and enlightening. I can ask for no more than that.