Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion

Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 08:36 AM
olddude 30 Jul 09 - 08:39 AM
Beer 30 Jul 09 - 08:54 AM
olddude 30 Jul 09 - 09:11 AM
Wesley S 30 Jul 09 - 10:20 AM
EBarnacle 30 Jul 09 - 10:33 AM
pdq 30 Jul 09 - 11:09 AM
Art Thieme 30 Jul 09 - 11:25 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 11:31 AM
Amos 30 Jul 09 - 11:32 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 11:46 AM
John MacKenzie 30 Jul 09 - 11:55 AM
pdq 30 Jul 09 - 12:02 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 12:38 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Jul 09 - 12:59 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Jul 09 - 01:02 PM
Joe Offer 30 Jul 09 - 01:14 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Jul 09 - 01:17 PM
Amos 30 Jul 09 - 01:22 PM
Joe Offer 30 Jul 09 - 01:27 PM
Uncle_DaveO 30 Jul 09 - 01:34 PM
M.Ted 30 Jul 09 - 01:55 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 02:00 PM
Amos 30 Jul 09 - 02:09 PM
Spleen Cringe 30 Jul 09 - 02:13 PM
Azizi 30 Jul 09 - 02:28 PM
Maryrrf 30 Jul 09 - 02:49 PM
Spleen Cringe 30 Jul 09 - 03:03 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 03:03 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Jul 09 - 03:08 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 03:16 PM
Azizi 30 Jul 09 - 03:22 PM
Ernest 30 Jul 09 - 03:26 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 03:41 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 03:42 PM
Azizi 30 Jul 09 - 03:49 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 03:51 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 03:55 PM
PoppaGator 30 Jul 09 - 04:00 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 04:07 PM
Spleen Cringe 30 Jul 09 - 04:10 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 04:12 PM
Spleen Cringe 30 Jul 09 - 04:17 PM
Amos 30 Jul 09 - 04:19 PM
John P 30 Jul 09 - 04:19 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jul 09 - 04:35 PM
Art Thieme 30 Jul 09 - 04:42 PM
Paul Burke 30 Jul 09 - 04:43 PM
M.Ted 30 Jul 09 - 05:15 PM
Acorn4 30 Jul 09 - 06:00 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:













Subject: Us and Them
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 08:36 AM

Given a choice, would you rather be one of "us," or one of "them?" If you're one of us, you reinforce everything we believe in. You agree with us. That's very comforting. It's good to know that you're right. If you're one of them, you're misguided at best. More likely, you're looked upon as insensitive (in contrast to how sensitive we are,) selfish and downright delusional. You aren't logical. Given a choice, I'll take neither of the above. I've never been much for group-think.

It really doesn't make much difference what the criteria are for being one of "us." It can be being a Christian, being a Liberal (which is code for Democrat, as we all know Republicans can never have a liberal thought in their head.) gay or straight. The important thing is that you are not one of "them." I find all of this extremely stifling. When I am on a Christian web site and someone starts ranting about homosexuals, I quietly exit stage left.
When people seem to be talking to hear themselves talk rather than to carry on a respectful conversation, I make for the nearest exit, left or right.
When people on here talk as if you have to be a Democrat and be in lock step with every Liberal position to like folk music, I think of the wonderful friends I have who are thoughtful, generous, loving and socially responsible who are Republican, including some who used to frequent Mudcat. Just when did folk music become the property of Democrats?

People bemoan the fact that folk music isn't as popular as it was in the 60's (or claim that it is.) For the brief moment that folk music had national popularity in the fifties and sixties, it was folk music, not Democrat music. Sure, there were important political songs that fueled great movements in helping to forge alliances for social change. But if you look at the body of folk music, only a small percentage of it is political. When you have to be a card-carrying Democrat to be welcomed into the folk community you immediately eliminate half the folk.

Many years ago when I was running a folk concert series I noticed when I booked a bluegrass group, I got a completely different audience. At the end of a bluegrass concert, I asked the audience to tell to me on the way out why they never came to the folk concerts. The most common complaint I received was, "I don't want to sit around all evening listening to someone complain." I protested strongly that folk music is not primarily protest music, but to no avail. Like most perceptions about the difference between "us" and "them," "Them" was stereotyped in the most negative, simplistic way. I wrote an article titled Rednecks versus Protest Singers with tongue in cheek that was a collection of quotes of cliches and judgments I'd heard from the folk and non-folk communities. They sounded as simplistic and inflexible as those I hear about gays and non-gays, Christians and non-Christians, Liberals and non-liberals.
The minute you define yourself as not being someone else, you get intellectually lazy. So, do you want to be an intellectual, or a non-intellectual.

And the game goes on.

There's a much better choice than "us" or "them." It's called "we."
This country has gotten into the mess we have in large part because
"us" and them" has become "us" versus "them."

I bet Bascom Lamar Lunsford was a Republican. He was a lawyer, for God's sake! The only work he ever did with his hands was sticking them in someone else's pockets. Sounds stupid, don't it. And it is.
But no more foolish than the endless quest to divide people into warring factions.

What do you think?

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: olddude
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 08:39 AM

beautifully said my friend


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: Beer
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 08:54 AM

Good stuff Jerry. Work use to be much the same. Management was as ways referred to as them up there. They make the decisions, they are to blame and so on. Then one day I heard a Senior manger make the same comment so I said to this person, "But you are one of them, those that subordinates referee to.". That was about 10 years ago and she still doesn't speak to me. And I'm just a happy as I have been retired since 2001.
Beer (adrien)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: olddude
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 09:11 AM

I lost a friend recently and it was one that I knew for years. He calls himself a Christian but everyday would send me and a host of others these non stop railings against gays, and against liberals and against women and the list goes on an on. I repeatedly tried to explain to him that it was not welcome, not productive and not the right path in life to pass on articles that do nothing but peddle hate. I finally lost it and told him he cannot ever email me or call me again. I just could not take it any further.   I only mention Christian because of this issue. I hear it from all types of people, those I have worked with, neighbors etc from all types of belief systems to no belief systems. I don't know when people will wake up and realized we are all in this boat called life. Unless we all start paddling, we are going to all sink ... you said it beautifully Jerry .. I have read no greater truth than what you just wrote.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: Wesley S
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 10:20 AM

Ex-Speaker of the House Jim Wright once told me that in his day that Democrats and Republicans could argue all day about politics but still share a beer after it was all over and talk about other things. I'm afraid that just doesn't happen anymore. Until we can get back to that way of thinking I'm afraid that we're just going to butt heads and go nowhere.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: EBarnacle
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 10:33 AM

Jerry, you may have inadvertently raised another issue. Several times during your post you used the word "Democrat" in its Newspeak sense to refer to people who are Democratic or members of the Democratic Party.

I believe that this is something introduced by the Republicans several years ago to lessen the verbal relationship between Democrats and Democracy. Democrat, as in Democrat Party sounds more like an expletive than a descriptor.

On your main topic, I agree with you. There are far too many people and interest groups who use language to slice and dice us into easily managed, unthinking units.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: pdq
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 11:09 AM

A member of the Democratic Party is called a Democrat. Always has been.

It would sound silly to say "John Ewards is a Democratic".

Jerry Rasmussen did not use the term in any way except the normal one. Please re-read his post.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: Art Thieme
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 11:25 AM

Mostly, in-groups exist to be recognized by out-groups. It does seem to validate them on one level or another.

Politically, the system comes down to doing and saying just about anything to secure the all-powerful individual's VOTE in a given election. If ten million people vote for a stupid and completely wrong-headed thing, and 1000 people make the intellectually proper assumption, the people who are wrong get their way---and it IS the law.

Both, or all, of the various positions taken represent the the heartfelt feelings -- of one WE or another!

'Tis a quandary decidedly NOT to be wished---on anyone. And still, it is the best of all possible options if FREEDOM for the various peoples involved is to be respected and taken into account as the ideal for all.

Watch out for the tyrany of the WE!!

Just a thought or two.

Art


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 11:31 AM

And then of course, the terms Democrat, Republican, Conservative and Liberal mean very different things in other countries. Rest assured, every country has labels to use to castigate each other.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 11:32 AM

I think there is such a thing as a true We, which is the fundamental madcap dance that sweeps us all up, no matter which corner of the ballroom; and then, there is an endless roster of pseudo-groups, false groups, and artificial categories provided by others in an effort to keep life under control. The two versions of "We" are very different; one derives its existence from natural affinities and co-existence. The other depends for its being on a "Them" to resist, usually.

There is no "they" there.
E.C. Jessup, 1975


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 11:46 AM

We is all the "us"s and "Thems" rolled together. We's seek commonality despite the differences.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 11:55 AM

Sorry, but this belongs below the line folks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: pdq
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 12:02 PM

Perhaps the Left-leaning folkies should take a hint: their material has a short shelf life.

I still love to listen to Doc Watson, Burl Ives, Ian & Sylvia and the original Kingston Trio lineup with Dave Guard.

There may be a few song by these people that are vaguely political, but they are timeless.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 12:38 PM

Hey, John:

I'll let Joe make that call. I guess I started this because of the uproar about whether or not Johnny Cash and/or Arlo Guthrie are really Republicans. The Us and Them principle is much more universal than music, but it rears it's head on this site, even being as homogeneous as it is. Above or below... makes no difference to me.

So what do you think about the topic, John?

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 12:59 PM

I, unlike some I could mention ;), refuse to comment on things about which I know little or nothing Jerry, and I know SFA about US politics.

John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 01:02 PM

BTW, I do admire the sneakiness of the clone who changed the title for you, to make it fit above the line.
It must be wonderful to be one of the in-crowd. :)

JM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 01:14 PM

John was right in saying that a thread with a non-specific title like "us and them" probably belongs in the non-music section. We require thread titles to reflect the contents of the thread, so I changed the title, and asked Jerry to approve it or suggest another.
But let's stick with the topic of the discussion:
I think I once read that the UK folk community thrived and the US folk community died, because the UK folkies kept politics out of their music. I don't know that I'd say that folk music in the land of Ewan MacColl is universally non-political, but perhaps there is some truth in the contention.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 01:17 PM

Most UK folkies are left wing, so they don't meet many of the opposition on folk clubs.
J


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 01:22 PM

Perhaps; but our folk music here in the U.S. has been political, topical, AND sentimental ever since the first lyrics to "Yankee Doodle" were penned. The themes that are sounding in the back of my mind just now are "We Shall Overcome", "This Land Is Your Land", "Oh. Freedom!", "The Universal Soldier", "Lay Down My Sword and Shield", and many others. All of these reflect the core concern of plain people addressing their nature as groups and communities, and the politics is a natural extensionn of that.

As for the UK's folk music being non-political in nature, I think it could be argued that "Lili Bulera", "Kevin Barry", and "The Campbells Are Coming", to name just a few quick items, are very much evidence to the contrary.

It would be a sorry thing indeed to see the amorphous and dynamic term "folk music" being pinned down like a dead butterfly to the narrow boundaries of love, horses, individual passions, trains, ships and bank-robbery. Woodie would be spinning in his grave.


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 01:27 PM

Still, I'd say that political conservatives probably feel more comfortable in old-time music circles, where music is chiefly non-political. Among those that call themselves folk musicians in the US and the UK, there is enough music that is political and distinctly liberal in nature, that I think a conservative would feel uncomfortable in their midst. In the 1960s, American folk music was much more uniformly liberal in its political outlook. Now there seems to be room for non-political music.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasi
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 01:34 PM

I bet Bascom Lamar Lunsford was a Republican.

Actually, it seems to me he was a Democrat. A Southern Democrat, mark you. Which is not all that far from Republican, on some issues.

He was a lawyer, for God's sake! The only work he ever did with his hands was sticking them in someone else's pockets.

That's an invidious misapprehension, and I think you should be abashed to say it. Despite fashionable and cynical popular beliefs, lawyers are all over the lot, Some fall in the lawyer-shark category you seem to be referring to, and some are purely technicians who do office-type things like write wills and contracts, and some are save-the-world types who devote their lives to low-paid jobs for charities and community organizations, just to illustrate the range.

And as to Bascom Lamar Lunsford, he put in what must have been thousands and thousands of unpaid hours toward the organization and running of the famous folk music organization he started (whose name escapes me just at the moment).

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasi
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 01:55 PM

I might have called this thread "Music is NOT the Universal Language", because of the often extreme reaction people often have to styles of music that are foreign to them--

Music has always been one of principle activities that people share, and is a way that people identify themselves as a group. That makes it easy for people outside the group to identify them, too, and so musical genres can be easily identified with the racial/ethnic stereotypes--

It isn't socially acceptable for people to say, "I don't like African-Americans" anymore, but no one bats an eye if you say, "I hate Rap and Hip-Hop." And of course, when a song by Jennifer Lopez or Shakira comes on, and someone says, "They play way to much of that..."
it is a socially acceptable way of saying "There are too many of "them" in this country."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 02:00 PM

Sheesh, Dave: Read my post:

"I bet Bascom Lamar Lunsford was a Republican. He was a lawyer, for God's sake! The only work he ever did with his hands was sticking them in someone else's pockets. Sounds stupid, don't it. And it is.
But no more foolish than the endless quest to divide people into warring factions."

I said it was stupid because it's the kind of stupid stuff you hear people say. I have the greatest admiration for Lunsford. I have no idea whether he was Republican or Democrat. I could care less. Or is it I couldn't care less? I could never get that one right. The object of my whole post was that I think it's immaterial whether or not a folk musician is Republican or Democrat, wealthy or poor. They're all folks, sure enough.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 02:09 PM

In Peekskill, in 1949, a stone the size of a softball was hurled through the window of Pete Seeger's car as he drove to a concert, nearly hitting his baby son. There was a riot around the concert grounds, with angry "conservatives" wielding fenceposts and throwing stones at "the communists". (Paul Robeson was the primary target of the attack, but he didn't go to the concert, having been tipped off).

Pete has the softball-sized stone cemented into his fireplace chimney to remind him of the intersection between folk music and conservative politics, according to "How Can I Keep from Singing" By David King Dunaway. A fascinating read, the book can be found here in Google Books; the concert story is on page 13.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasi
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 02:13 PM

With all due respect to Jerry, what a pile of sentimentalised old poppycock! Yes, I'll happily sit down and play a few folk songs with a conservative if they share my musical tastes. But when it comes to the truly important issues in life - like when they want to decimated my health service or cut the funding to educate my kids or spend my taxes on building up an even bigger stockpile of guns and bombs or ostracise and exclude my gay friends- I'll fight the buggers tooth and nail all the way.

Some things are more important that friggin' folk music


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 02:28 PM

The object of my whole post was that I think it's immaterial whether or not a folk musician is Republican or Democrat, wealthy or poor. They're all folks, sure enough.
-Jerry Rasmussen

I strongly second what Spleen Cringe wrote and I wonder Jerry, if you are saying that a folk singer's political views never matter-especially in light of the Folk Against Fascism threads such as the one that I've hyperlinked.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Maryrrf
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 02:49 PM

MTed - So as far as you're concerned, people who don't care for Rap or Hip Hop, or for the pop music of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira - are racist? I think you're way off base there. That's an absurd assumption.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasi
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:03 PM

Hmmm... I think M Ted has got a point. I don't for a minute think that everyone who doesn't like rap or r&b is a racist, but nonetheless there's an awful lot of coded messages out there...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:03 PM

Interesting discussion. If I'm going to hear a folk concert I don't check to see whether the musician is a Democrat or a Republican, or what their stance is on gay marriage. It's not that those issues aren't important. I'm just not likely to let political affiliation determine whether or not I enjoy a folk musician. I'm not even all that interested in knowing what it is. I will admit that if Rush Limbaugh did a concert I wouldn't go...

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:08 PM

Party politics aside, if the accepted and widely documented definition is right doesn't that make folk music the historic voice of the working people. The subject matter and social setting of most of the songs, and the social background of most of the carriers of these songs would suggest so.
"Bascom Lamar Lunsford"
Is my memory playing tricks or wasn't it Lunsford who had a Guthrie concert cancelled because he was a 'Commie'?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:16 PM

Republicans work.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:22 PM

So Jerry, are you saying that you don't agree with the efforts in Great Britain to stop fascists from expropriating British folk music? And are you saying that you would attend concerts that included singers/musicians who supported Nazi organizations and you would befriend or continue to be friends with people who hold fascist beliefs?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Ernest
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:26 PM

The working people - but not some self-appointed leaders of them.

The working people do include a lot of middle class people. Small craftsmen, farmers or merchants for instance also working.

In fact most of the population is working. And about half of them is voting liberal /left while about the other half is voting conservative.

So I am wit Jerry in this issue.

Admittedly Spleen Cringe has a point too. Being conservative I don`t have any problems sharing a song or tune with someone tending to the left but this won`t change my mind on political issues - unless they have very good arguments.

Regards
Ernest


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:41 PM

Of course I'm not, Azizi. I'm also not saying that I'd knowingly go to hear a musician who was a child molester. I was very specific in saying that I don't need to know whether they are a member of the Democratic or Republican party, not whether they are Nazi's or Fascists.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:42 PM

Some of my best friends are liberals. :-)

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:49 PM

And some of my best friends are White people.*

:o)

* I know that has nothing to do with the topic of this thread. But it is a play on the "some of my best friends" saying.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:51 PM

My Grandfather Rasmussen was a staunch Republican. He worked for a sand and gravel company, doing manual labor. But then, he was a Chicago Cubs fan, too. He was definitely working class. One of my Mudcat buddies on here is a Republican and he's a dentist. I wouldn't even bother to defend him. He's a fine, caring man who loves folk music and dislikes big government. I'd consider him working class, too. He gets up every morning and heads off to work. He doesn't dig for coal. He digs for cavities.

Jerry

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:55 PM

Lol, Azizi. One of my favorite lines was from the tenor in my quartet, who is black. He said he couldn't tell one white person from another because they all look the same to him... a spin on the reverse.

Actually all of this has to do with the "us" and "them" question, musically or otherwise.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: PoppaGator
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 04:00 PM

I'm offended ~ just slightly ~ to be categorized as a "Democrat." I'm much farther left that that! Now, I do vote regularly, usually viewing the matter as a choice between the lesser of two evils, and until a decade or so ago, I sometimes found Republican candidates who I was able to support. None recently, though ~ in fact none since about 1980...

Does anyone rememeber Phil Ochs? And his song "Love me, love me, love me, I'm a Liberal"? Back then, if "liberal" was a dirty word to anyone, it was to the young "New Left," who viewed the established Democratic-party professional liberals as accomodationists, as too far right. I'm thinking of Democrats like LBJ and Robert McNamara...

Now, the word "liberal" has been transformed into a dirty word denoting folks who are too far left on the political spectrum.

I have to second the thoughts expressed above by Spleen Cringe and Azizi. I would love to feel brotherhood with one and all, and on one level, a very far-removed spiritual level, I do. I'm just tremendously saddened that so very many people have been convinced to believe that just because they work in an office and not a coal mine, that they're not exploited workers, and that they somehow have more in common with the 2% of the population who are fattening themselves at everyone else's expense than with other hurting working folks. They allow themselves to be persuaded that they themselves are somehow "better" than the scapegoated minority populations a rung or two below them, when they themselves are not that far from the bottom of the ladder.

With the current hugely-financed propaganda push against a humane healthcare system, we're hearing more and more of the old argument that the reason that you and I are hurting financially is because the poor people are getting all the money! What a load of hogwash! This kind of thinking could never exist in a heterogeneous society like Japan, where virtually everyone is of the same ethnicity. Only in an diverse and open society like the US could such an opinion take hold, that groups even less privileged than oneself's could be blamed for the obscene and ever-increasing impoverishment of the vast middle-class majority.

In current-day America, it's Blacks, Latinos and gays. Not long ago, it was Jews in Germany and Catholics in occupied Ireland. I truly want to belive in the universal Brotherhood of Man, but it's difficult to do so when so many of my would-be brothers and sisters allow themselves to be persuaded to bear such irrational hatred against certain designated groups of others.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 04:07 PM

Excellent post, Poppagator. Are liberal Republicans to the right or left of conservative Democrats? I'm getting confused. You're right, Poppagator. Not all Democrats are liberal. Most people aren't liberal or conservative on every issue. I'm not. I try to deal with issues on an individual basis, not worrying about labels.

The true test is how good a singer they are.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasi
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 04:10 PM

The true test of how good a singer they are is how good a singer they are.

The politics are something else...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 04:12 PM

You got that right, Spleen.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasi
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 04:17 PM

...and whether, ahem!, back when they were young, they could get down home with a secret life of a handful of songs...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 04:19 PM

I think it must be the 401Ks, Poppa--Makes 'em feel they're riding the same wagon as the Wall Street crowd, even if they are just pushing carbon copies in a nuts and bolts warehouse...

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: John P
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 04:19 PM

It looks to me like there are two different questions here. Are we all people? and Are folk musicians generally left-wingers? I don't really see the connection between the two.

On the Us/Them question: It is really too complicated to sum up in a sentence. Yes, we are all people, with many, many common concerns. In that way, there is no us and them. When you start talking politics, however, there are definitely us and them. People who start wars, discriminate against gay folks, deregulate business to the point where they are allowed to ruin our lives and our environment, or insist that everyone around them conform to their religious ideas are definitely "them" to me. I don't see any reason why I should lump myself together with folks who are violent, unethical, greedy, and want to tell me how to live my life. My general response to them is "LEAVE ME ALONE!"

When it comes to music, if they aren't trying to tell me what or how to play, I'll sit and jam with anyone and have a great time doing so. People who mix politics in with their music are being political, not musical. Or at least the politics are more important than the music. There have been lots of political songs written from both the left and the right, and I usually don't like any of them.

If the idea of this thread is that folkies are mostly left wingers, Democrats, liberals, or whatever, I don't care. That's a gross generalization, and only applies to people who think the political message of their song is more important than the musical nature of the song.

As for whether or not right wingers are welcome at Mudcat, why shouldn't they be? If we're talking about music, their politics don't matter. If we're on a political thread below the line, of course there will be arguments. But I don't see that having anything to do with making or talking about music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 04:35 PM

Good post, John. I too don't want to have anything to do with folks what try to turn one group of people against another for personal profit. There are a LOT of folks I don't want to be around. I don't want my presence to give the impression that I accept what they are doing. I marched in anti-Vietnam War parades and wrote protest songs against the war, and would do it again if I felt strongly moved to protest the country's actions. I see folk music as much more small "d" democratic. Music can be a powerful force for change, or just enjoyed because it is entertaining. I can understand the resentment if a political party usurps a song to give a message that was never intended.

It was his old blue chip
The stock he used to love

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Art Thieme
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 04:42 PM

Hi, Jerry,
I've heard that John Wayne Gacey put on a real fine clown show for the kids. But hindsight (no pun in-ten-did) is always twenty-twenty. Still, if I was the guy controlling the electricity to ol' John's chair, I would gladly say (and I paraphrase George Burns): "Say goodnight, Gacey!!!"

Art Thieme ;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 04:43 PM

I find right-wing songs offensive, I find right-on songs (usually) embarrassing. But traditional folk is a bit like religion- people take out of it what they bring into it. So I'll certainly put a leftish spin on songs that I do sing if I want, and expect others to do the same. Sometimes people with politoics different from mine bring up valid points (in song or otherwise)- and that's to be addressed, and mulled over, and a better point made (in otherwise or song), I don't just call them a Cameron. But some people - people- Al Q, BNP, Scientologits, ETA et al- there's no arguing with them in any way, so I don't. And playing bluegrass, or Irish, or Swedish tunes, who's to know what you think?

Nigel as usual has the British left-ish view well put.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasi
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 05:15 PM

Spleen Cringe got what I meant, Maryrrf--but I'll say it again in another way--different genres of music are often strongly associated with certain minority ethnic/religious/social communities, and, while it is now "politically incorrect" to express contempt for the minority group directly, people can do the same thing in a veiled way, by expressing contempt for their music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Us and Them: folk music and political persuasi
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 06:00 PM

If only people would think for themselves and do as I say!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 29 September 4:40 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.