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Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??

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GUEST,Arne Langsetmo 02 May 03 - 06:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 May 03 - 07:54 PM
Amos 02 May 03 - 11:14 PM
DonMeixner 03 May 03 - 01:20 AM
Joe Offer 03 May 03 - 02:55 AM
harvey andrews 03 May 03 - 08:33 AM
GUEST 03 May 03 - 11:23 AM
Ebbie 03 May 03 - 12:02 PM
GUEST 03 May 03 - 12:21 PM
JohnInKansas 03 May 03 - 12:49 PM
GUEST 03 May 03 - 02:05 PM
GUEST 03 May 03 - 02:39 PM
Joe Offer 03 May 03 - 03:13 PM
GUEST 03 May 03 - 03:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 May 03 - 03:52 PM
GUEST 03 May 03 - 05:27 PM
Lin in Kansas 04 May 03 - 12:08 AM
harvey andrews 04 May 03 - 06:47 AM
Brían 04 May 03 - 07:19 AM
GUEST 04 May 03 - 10:11 AM
Lin in Kansas 04 May 03 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,Q 04 May 03 - 07:25 PM
Gareth 04 May 03 - 07:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 May 03 - 09:46 PM
Ebbie 04 May 03 - 11:58 PM
GUEST 05 May 03 - 09:20 AM
katlaughing 05 May 03 - 09:44 AM
Peter T. 05 May 03 - 09:59 AM
GUEST 05 May 03 - 10:01 AM
GUEST 05 May 03 - 10:01 AM
GUEST 05 May 03 - 10:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 May 03 - 12:09 PM
voyager 05 May 03 - 12:38 PM
GUEST 05 May 03 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,Q 05 May 03 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Q 05 May 03 - 01:59 PM
PoppaGator 05 May 03 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,Arne Langsetmo 05 May 03 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Q 05 May 03 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Q 05 May 03 - 02:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 May 03 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Q 05 May 03 - 02:38 PM
PoppaGator 05 May 03 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Q 05 May 03 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 05 May 03 - 05:14 PM
Uncle_DaveO 05 May 03 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Arne Langsetmo 05 May 03 - 06:15 PM
PoppaGator 05 May 03 - 06:31 PM
GUEST 05 May 03 - 06:38 PM
GUEST 05 May 03 - 06:46 PM
katlaughing 05 May 03 - 06:47 PM
Frankham 05 May 03 - 08:08 PM
GUEST,Arne Langsetmo 05 May 03 - 09:04 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 06 May 03 - 11:44 AM
GUEST 06 May 03 - 02:23 PM
uncle bill 06 May 03 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Q 06 May 03 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Arne Langsetmo 06 May 03 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 06 May 03 - 04:30 PM
PoppaGator 06 May 03 - 05:52 PM
GUEST 07 May 03 - 12:08 AM
GUEST,Arne Langsetmo 07 May 03 - 10:20 AM
GUEST 07 May 03 - 01:36 PM
Cluin 07 May 03 - 10:57 PM
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GUEST,Arne Langsetmo 13 May 03 - 02:05 AM
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Subject: BS: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Arne Langsetmo
Date: 02 May 03 - 06:44 PM

I know Toby Keith is a real work of art, but Willie
Nelson too?

The lyrics to:

Beer For My Horses

More than a little racism in this little ditty. . . .

Cheers,

                                 -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: RE: BS: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 May 03 - 07:54 PM

I'd say you could read it either way - I mean he could be meaning it straight, or he could be using irony, and could be pointing out that there's a lot in common between a kind of law enforcement ("Somebody didn't get too far yeah") and lynch law. And pointing out how both of them have the same kind of populist saloon bar appeal.

Or he could be laying out those two ways of reading the song, and saying, "You make up your mind".

Incidentally, I can't see where the racism as such comes in the words of the song. They lynched the odd white guy too, I believe. But, as with the legal killings you have these days, it just tended to be black guys disproportionally often


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Subject: RE: BS: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Amos
Date: 02 May 03 - 11:14 PM

The song is about vigilante hanging, which applied to whites as well as blacks, especially during the range wars. Rustlers were often left swinging from an oak as described here.

More recently this sort of thing was a racial phenomenon, after the Civil War, but in those lyrics you can take it either way.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 May 03 - 01:20 AM

I fail to find any racism here. Even broadly implied.
I won't assume that altho' Gangster is how it's written that Gangsta is what was meant.

Don


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Subject: ADDPOP: Beer for my Horses (Keith/Nelson)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 May 03 - 02:55 AM

Interesting song - I think it ought to be posted. I can't see how this promotes lynching (on, now I see it - second verse). It tells a story and reports a facet of culture, and does it very well.
-Joe Offer-


Beer For My Horses
(Toby Keith with Willie Nelson)

Well a man come on the 6 o'clock news
Said somebody's been shot, somebody's been abused
Somebody blew up a building
Somebody stole a car
Somebody got away
Somebody didn't get too far yeah
They didn't get too far

Grandpappy told my pappy, back in my day, son
A man had to answer for the wicked that he done
Take all the rope in Texas
Find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys
Hang them high in the street for all the people to see that

Justice is the one thing you should always find
You got to saddle up your boys
You got to draw a hard line
When the gun smoke settles we'll sing a victory tune
We'll all meet back at the local saloon
We'll raise up our glasses against evil forces
Singing whiskey for my men, beer for my horses

We got too many gangsters doing dirty deeds
We've got too much corruption, too much crime in the streets
It's time the long arm of the law put a few more in the ground
Send 'em all to their maker and he'll settle 'em down
You can bet he'll set 'em down 'cause

Justice is the one thing you should always find
You got to saddle up your boys
You got to draw a hard line
When the gun smoke settles we'll sing a victory tune
We'll all meet back at the local saloon
We'll raise up our glasses against evil forces
Singing whiskey for my men, beer for my horses

Justice is the one thing you should always find
You got to saddle up your boys
You got to draw a hard line
When the gun smoke settles we'll sing a victory tune
We'll all meet back at the local saloon
We'll raise up our glasses against evil forces
Singing whiskey for my men, beer for my horses


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: harvey andrews
Date: 03 May 03 - 08:33 AM

reminds me that yesterday I heard a woman slagging off Arabs. "They've never progressed...they stone people to death...barbaric". This song is no different in intent. Hang 'em. stone 'em. fry 'em. It's all the same.
"When will they ever learn"
Happy birthday Pete!


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 03 - 11:23 AM

Toby Keith is ever the literalist, and when this song is viewed literally, I see it as being very racist. Toby Keith is very right wing, IMO.

Now, as to the question of Willie associating himself with this sort of thing, well. Willie has never been very progressive, much less PC, about race politics in America, or politics in general. Politically, he is fairly conservative, but his PR machine spins him in such a way that makes him appear liberal enough so progressive musicians will still associate with him. That PR spin has always presented Willie as an 'iconoclast'. The rugged individualist, outlaw cowboy. In reality, he is nothing of the sort. It is important to remember that it was Willie who invited his good buddies Guns and Roses to play at Farm Aid.

Willie is also very good at hitchin' his wagon to other musician/stars, to get attention for himself when he is being largely ignored by the music buying public. Which is pretty much all the time these days. He is far past the zenith point of his career, and his voice has gotten really, really bad. I don't understand why he is still touring, because I don't know anyone willing to spend money to hear him live anymore because of it.

Willie also smokes way too much dope to be very savvy or articulate politically, despite his involvement in Farm Aid. It should also be pretty obvious by now that Farm Aid largely works to benefit white farmers and ranchers, not Latino and black farmers and ranchers.

So my answer is, I'm not the least bit surprised that Willie Nelson would do this duet with Toby Keith. He can't carry vocals on his own anymore. Toby Keith is huge on the country circuit, so a duet with him brings some more money into Willie's bank account. And by now, Willie don't really give a shit if he offends anybody.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 May 03 - 12:02 PM

I know a musician who paid $60 last year to a Willie concert, and is very happy about it. He was on tour himself and drove 2 1/2 hours out of his way to go hear him. Evidently it's a little early to write off Willie Nelson.

He's not alone in going on past his prime. Look at Dylan, Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Jagger- would you write them all off too?


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 03 - 12:21 PM

Ebbie, you are making an assumption that I'm writing Willie off. I do write him off as a singer, but not as a songwriter or figurehead for Farm Aid. But I am saying that his voice is gone. I've heard him live recently too, but I didn't pay a cent, nor would I, because his voice sounds just plain bad.

Willie has abused his voice badly. Tony Bennett hasn't. That is the difference, and you can hear it when they sing. Sinatra's voice was pretty bad towards the end of his performing career. He was wealthy and wise enough to stop almost all performing as a singer, and was able to devote himself to other endeavors. Beyond Farm Aid and the annual picnic, Willie doesn't have much going for him. He isn't as talented an actor as Sinatra was. But he needs to stop singing.

Some performers who have taken good care of their instruments (both body and voice), sing beautifully well into old age. Those who haven't, can't. It really is that simple. Listen to Judy Collins, then listen to Willie Nelson, and you will see what I mean.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 May 03 - 12:49 PM

GUEST obviously has some sort of extreme predice against OLD PEOPLE. I find that rather offensive.

There also seems to be a bit of "class snobbery" involved, since poor Willie "doesn't play with the right kind of people."

I don't know who Toby Keith is, but I know that Willie has been rather indiscriminate about who all he's played with. Poor sap probably just thinks he's making a living - and a little music.

I'll have to agree that his performances with Farm Aid fall 'way short of the mark. He didn't do anything for my own favorite cult/religious/ethnic peculiar kind of farmers either. WHY HASN'THE PROTESTED THE DOWNTRODDEN BACKYARD HERB GARDENER'S CONTINUED ABUSE?

In other words, if you don't care for his music, it's sufficient justification to drag out every old hackneyed "slur" you can think of; and if, heaven forfend, he gives a little help to someone, smear him because he left out your pet whipping boy?

I see nothing racist in the song, but then I know something of the culture(s) to which it refers. All it says is that in a prior time people sometimes stood up to "bad guys." It can be read on several levels with respect to "modern times," but all I see is the same old "people get what they'll take, unless/until they speak up and object to it."

As with a lot of Willie's songs, it "has a moral," but there's a joke element that lets you decide whether he's pokin' fun at it, or whether it's one you should take up. I don't think he has an opinion either way, and if he does, he ain't gonna go spoutin' off about it.

John


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 03 - 02:05 PM

As a matter of fact, I'm a long-time supporter of Farm Aid related causes locally, like these:

http://www.landstewardshipproject.org/

http://www.friendsofthemarket.org/

http://www.cfra.org/

I'm also a fan of some of Willie's music, which is why I don't feel the least bit shy about saying that he ought to stop singing and concentrate on something else for awhile.

It ain't about Willie's age, it's about the mileage on his voice.

And John, if you don't know who Toby Keith is, in order to contribute something meaningful to this thread (rather than a reactionary ad hominem attack on another poster), you might want to find out about his politics, particularly his antics of late. Why should anyone pay attention to your opinion here, when you profess to know nothing about one of the two musicians being discussed in this thread?


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 03 - 02:39 PM

Toby Keith was nominated for 8 Country Music Association Awards this year for his album titled "Unleashed" and it's #1 hit single "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)."

The tune's hostility toward the 9/11 terrorists generated some headlines last year when Keith claimed it cost him a spot on an ABC Fourth of July special. The network said his exclusion was caused by a scheduling conflict.

Others claim Keith is nothing but a crass, cynical opportunist, and that he made a huge fuss about the ABC cancellation, because he had planned to use the free media coverage his performing at the ABC 4th of July event would have given him, to debut the album, which he still did that weekend at a different concert.

From what I can tell, Toby Keith is just one of many country music artists currently making money off memories of the 9/11 dead, the military dead, and all those other hot financial opportunities in the faux patriot industry. But folks are free to make up their own minds about it. Here is a link to an article about it in USA Today:

Toby Keith's Manufactured 4th of July Conspiracy Theory


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Subject: ADDPOP: Courtesy of the Red White and Blue
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 May 03 - 03:13 PM

Courtesy Of The Red White And Blue (The Angry American)
Written by Toby Keith.
(© Tokeco Tunes.)
From "Unleashed", © 2002, Dreamworks.
(This transcript taken from a live recording which may differ slightly from the studio release)

American girls and American guys, will always stand up and salute.
We'll always recognize, when we see ol' glory flying,
There's a lot of men dead,
So we can sleep in peace at night when we lay down our heads.
My daddy served in the army where he lost his right eye,
But he flew a flag out in our yard 'til the day that he died.
He wanted my mother, my brother, my sister and me.
To grow up and live happy in the land of the free.

Now this nation that I love is fallin' under attack.
A mighty sucker-punch came flying in from somewhere in the back.
Soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye,
Man, we lit up your world like the fourth of July.

Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
And the eagle will fly and it's gonna be hell,
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.
And it'll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you.
Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.

Instrumental break.

Oh, justice will be served and the battle will rage:
This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage.
An' you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.
'Cos we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way.

Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
And the eagle will fly and it's gonna be hell,
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.
And it'll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you.
Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.

Oh, oh.
Of the red, white and blue.
Oh, hey, oh.
Of my Red, White and Blue.

from here (click).

Well, I have to say that I don't like THIS Toby Keith song. I suppose I have to admit that both songs express a vigilante attitude. But racist? - no.
Still, they're interesting songs.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 03 - 03:35 PM

BTW, when I said that Toby Keith was 'ever the literalist' I should have also explained with this song is about, literally.

The person Keith wants to lynch in this song is actually a 29 year old woman who was involved in the traffic accident that killed Keith's father, and left the scene of the accident, sometime in 2001 I believe. A few months after the accident (I can't recall when), a man arrested during a domestic dispute told police that his girl friend (whom he had been arrested for beating up) had caused the accident by striking Keith's father's truck, which in turn caused Keith's father to lose control of his vehicle, cross the median, and collide with a bus.

Keith carried out a very nasty and very public vendetta against the woman, in the tabloids, on talk radio, etc as well as in this cheerful little ditty. She eventually pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of the accident, and received a suspended sentence, unsupervised probation, and 100 hours of community service. As I recall, the woman had no priors, so the sentence was pretty typical of those handed down for similar offense. Keith also dragged the judge who handed down the sentence through the mud too.

So the public lynching reference is actually about a woman, and is not a direct reference to lynching blacks. But without any knowledge of that background and context, the song sure sounds like a song celebrating lynchings as a means of meting out vigilante justice to me. People can deny all they want that the majority of victims of lynchings carried out in the US throughout our history were blacks, but that doesn't change that history.

While I don't believe that Keith intended this song to be a metaphor for lynching blacks, I believe it is easy to understand how people hearing this song, with no knowledge of the events which inspired it, hear this as a song celebrating lynching blacks, and therefore perceive it as racist. It is a song about vigilantism, about mobs lynching people to mete out their own vigilante justice. I think many reasonable people would agree, that image conjures up lynching of blacks, not cattle rustlers, for many Americans.

So while the song is about lynching a woman, not a black, (which doesn't make Keith look any better, IMO), it is certainly understandable, IMO, how the lyrics can easily be interpreted to have racial meanings, intended or not.

Toby Keith is, IMO, a dangerous man who has seriously confused the concept of justice with vengeance and vigilantism, and is getting rich singing about his hatred, his anger, and his uncontrollable desire for vengeance.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 May 03 - 03:52 PM

Yup, I can understand why Tom Lehrer decided that it wasn't possible to write satire, because real life would always trump it.

Here's what Woody Guthrie had to say about this kind of thing:

Have you seen that vigilante man?
Have you seen that vigilante man?
Have you seen that vigilante man?
I been hearin' his name all over the land.
Well, what is a vigilante man?
Tell me, what is a vigilante man?
Has he got a gun and a club in his hand?
Is that is a vigilante man?

Rainy night down in the engine house,
Sleepin' just as still as a mouse,
Man come along an' he chased us out in the rain.
Was that a vigilante man?

Stormy days we passed the time away,
Sleepin' in some good warm place.
Man come along an' we give him a little race.
Was that a vigilante man?

Preacher Casey was just a workin' man,
And he said, "Unite all you working men."
Killed him in the river some strange man.
Was that a vigilante man?

Oh, why does a vigilante man,
Why does a vigilante man
Carry that sawed-off shot-gun in his hand?
Would he shoot his brother and sister down?

I rambled 'round from town to town,
I rambled 'round from town to town,
And they herded us around like a wild herd of cattle.
Was that the vigilante men?

Have you seen that vigilante man?
Have you seen that vigilante man?
I've heard his name all over this land.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 03 - 05:27 PM

My girl Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks had this to say about the song:

"Don't get me started," Maines told the Los Angeles Daily News back in August 2002 about Keith's song. "I hate it. It's ignorant and it makes country music sound ignorant. It targets an entire culture--and not just the bad people who did bad things. You've got to have some tact. Anybody can write, 'We'll put a boot in your ass.' But a lot of people agree with it."


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 04 May 03 - 12:08 AM

Wow! "It's ignorant and it makes country music sound ignorant."

Isn't that a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black? Who in recent history has made it sound more ignorant than the Dixie whatevers?

I think the whole point of "Beer for My Horses" is contained in this line:

"A man had to answer for the wicked that he done."

What a novel idea in these days of "It's ALWAYS somebody else's fault!"

I also do not believe the song is about lynching any one person in particular, or any person of color either. Where is Guest getting all this insider information? Or is he/she just trying to pretend they know Willie, Toby Keith, and the music industry better than anyone else on this forum? And before you start, Guest, I will freely admit ignorance as to all those things, except as part of the public who actually BUYS the music I like.

And yes, it's an age thing, Guest. And a serious difference in attitude. I cannot see where taking a bit more responsibility for actions is a bad thing. Do bad things, take the consequences.

Lin


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: harvey andrews
Date: 04 May 03 - 06:47 AM

"we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way".

Well, that says it all doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Brían
Date: 04 May 03 - 07:19 AM

I just did a Google search with the words Toby Keith and accident and came up with this. I found a very informative site on lynchings herecaution: there are some very disturbing images). I find Toby Keith to be more complex than what can be posted in this reply box. I find the song andWillie both very interesting, althtogh i don't know what to think of Toby Keith. There does seem to be some attempt to distance lynchings of whites in the west from lynchings of blacks in the south. In Maine wher I live, there was only one lynching ever recorded, a James Cullen in 1873for the murder of Sherrif Granville Hayden and William Thomas Hubbard. Although Cullen was white the lynching shared similar traits to other lynchings: it happened in a rural area, the victim seemed to be a marginal person, he appeared to be employed as an itinerant, his body was displayed publicly. Local newspapaper reports were either outraged but didn't want to know who was involved or had no opinion. As horrible as Cullens crime was(he had murdered two men in their sleep who were offering to help him escape for a lesser crime) if this is justice, I want no part of it.

Brian


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 03 - 10:11 AM

Shocking as it might be to you Lin, I know about these things because I am a country music fan, and an especially big fan of the Dixie Chicks.

In Minnesota where I live, there were two notorious incidences regarding racial hanging/lynchings: the first was the execution of 38 Santee Sioux by public hanging in Mankato in 1862, and second was the Duluth lynchings of 3 black men accused of raping a white woman.

Other than that, the records show a handful of white lynchings that occurred here, victims of the sort you mention above, Brian. But the number of American Indians murdered by whites over the years in Minnesota often went unrecorded by the white record keepers.

Race murders didn't just happen in the South, and they are a legacy every American shares, and ought to know about. But I wouldn't go bragging around about what a good idea it is for a vigilante mob to lynch someone who:

"...had to answer for the wicked that he done."

In a just, fair, and free society, the accused doesn't answer to a lynch mob. They answer to a jury of their peers.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 04 May 03 - 06:59 PM

Sigh...I should know better than to try to carry on a dialogue with someone whose opinion I cannot respect.

Whatever, Guest.

Lin


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 04 May 03 - 07:25 PM

Sometimes it pays to know something of the history of America before commenting.
I would have assumed that many had read "The Vigilantes of Montana, or Popular Justice in the Rocky Mounains" by T. J. Dimsdale, published in 1866 in Virginia City, Montana Territory, one of the classics of western history. Dimsdale was there at the time and knew the people involved. The book is about the formation of the vigilantes, their capture of Plummer's road agents, and the hanging of the thieves and killers by a group of citizens of the Territory. The identity of the vigilantes, who cleaned up Montana, was secret for many years, but they are now known. Some were wealthy and influential men who contributed to the development of the future State. Nearly all were involved in mining, agriculture and ranching. The book has been reprinted many times, and is part of the "March of America Facsimile Series" which reproduced in full the most important historical works from the Fifteenth through the 20th centuries.

San Francisco was the site of another important vigilante group, and several books have been written about the lawless days and the vigilant actions by a group of prominent citizens.

Many other actions against the desperados of the west were taken by citizens who were forced to be their own police, judges, and juries.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Gareth
Date: 04 May 03 - 07:29 PM

Sorry, having read the posted words again and again I can not see any racial overtones on this song.

Stupidity - Yes

Mob rule - Yes

And as previous poster has pointed out the need to acept responsability for your actions - Yes.

And in case you think that this is anti-american, there was a recorded incident of lynching in Nottinghill (London)in 1957, and some "near misses" in the UK subsequently.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 May 03 - 09:46 PM

It still strikes me as a song that you could read either way. Even if it was written by someone (Toby Keith?) who thinks lynching is OK, once written a song can take on a life of its own. The views of the author ultimately don't matter that much.

Reading it here it seems to me that it is drawing a parallel between some current types of law enforcement and lynching. So if you start with the assumption that that kind of law enforcement is the right kind, the logic is that that goes for lynch-law as well. Or you can go the other way - start from the assumption that lynch law is wrong, and carry that over to equivalent types of law enforcement.

It has occurred to me, and I've mentioned it in another thread, that there is a real parallel between the Iraq War and a lynching, and Toby Keith seems to see that parallel as well (while welcoming it, so it appears.)


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 May 03 - 11:58 PM

Isn't it just possible that Willie liked the song/attitude or whatever and sings it for that reason?

When I sing:
I grabbed her by her golden curls
And dragged her round and round
I threw her into the river
That runs through Knoxville town
Go down, go down, you Knoxville girl
With the dark and roving eye
Go down, go down, you Knoxville girl
You can never be my bride,

I don't really mean it. :^/


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 03 - 09:20 AM

For me, Ebbie, the question of why someone who claims to be non-violent, chooses to sing songs about violence, is an intriguing one, as many people seem to do it. Many singers will say the content or message of the song doesn't matter to them. Many singers will say the content or message of the song is the most important thing to them.

I agree with Gareth, that the song is quite ignorant in it's romanticized portrayal of vigilante justice and it's portrayal of lynching as an honorable act. I also agree with McGrath that this song can be read as a song with racist overtones, regardless of Keith's intentions as the composer. As McGrath says, songs take on lives of their own, and what the composer's original intent was, often becomes irrelevant. In this case, I believe Keith's song has taken on a life of it's own, and that the song is being viewed metaphorically by some people, as a nostalgic view on racial lynching and vigilante justice.

I have no problem with others saying they don't see the song as a nostalgic view on racial lynching, but rather, just on lynching in general, I can see and support their point of view. But what I don't trust, is people saying they can't see and support the point of view of people who see the song as having racist overtones. Because of the powerful association in the US of lynching with racial lynching, I really question the motives of people dismissing those who perceive this song in those terms. That sort of a double standard, which dismisses a racist interpretation outright, sounds like people sailing that river in Egypt to me.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 May 03 - 09:44 AM

Q, thanks for the further info on the vigilantes of Montana. That's the way I read the song from the git go, probably because i grew up in in the Rocky Mountain West hearing and reading stories of such.

Some who know me here would say I am hyper-sensitive about racism, but I can find no overt racism in the song originally posted. If one were looking for it, I suppose, but it seems a stretch to me.

The second song is just crap; poorly written, blatantly inciteful; and, sickening in its pseudo-patriotism, imo.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Peter T.
Date: 05 May 03 - 09:59 AM

The movement of civilization is from private justice to public justice, from revenge to law. America increasingly drifts backwards on this, which is depressing. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 03 - 10:01 AM

I don't think one needs to be hyper-sensitive on racial issues to see the song as a being about racial lynchings, any more than one needs to be from the American West, to see the song as being about vigilante justice Texas-style.

People tend to have immediate first impressions of songs, just as they do people. If your first impression of the song wasn't that it was racist, that's fine. But it is also fine that people whose first impression of the song was that it was racist. There is no need to disprove or deny the first impressions of people responding to the song as being racist, yet I get the distinct feeling that is precisely what some people here feel they want and need to do.

Don't think it is a racist song? Fine. Think it is a racist song? That's fine too. There is room in this world for both opinions, and no need for one group to stomp on the other. It is the diversity of opinion that makes the discussion of music worthwhile, after all.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 03 - 10:01 AM

What in HELL is racist in this song ? What kind of nutters keep looking for offence where there is none. Will we never get over this stupid crap. It is a song about vigilantes..and there is a lot of history to prove this went on all over America..and perhaps it was at times the only justice meted out. People got to the west before the law did. Let's not supress the truth because it offends some people.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 03 - 10:32 AM

Guest 10:01 a.m., perhaps you will have better luck finding the answer to your question "What in HELL is racist in this song?" if you didn't engage in namecalling like "What kind of nutters..." of people expressing an opinion that is different from yours.

The originator of the thread is Arne. McGrath agreed that the song could be interpreted as racist, or not. As did Amos. As did I. And there are just as many people here who agree with your point of view.

It appears to me, however, that you have some serious difficulties accepting opinions of people that differ from yours. Or perhaps that you feel a need to lash out at people whose opinion differs from yours. It doesn't do much to help make your case.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 May 03 - 12:09 PM

Talking about racism seems a red herring in relation to this song. If you read it as extolling lynching, it seems to be extolling lynching regardless of race. If you read it as likening hyper-tough law enforcement to lynch law, once again that isn't particularly about race.

No doubt a disproprtionate number of lynch victims in the USA were black, just as a disproportionate number of people killed by the law are black. But would the song be that different if a line had been slipped in indicating that the guy being lynched was actually white?


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: voyager
Date: 05 May 03 - 12:38 PM

Excuse me naivete...

When I heard this tune on C&W radio station
it seemed to be a theme song for Operation
Iraqi Freedom.

Is there something I'm missing?

voyager


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 03 - 01:25 PM

'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue/The Angry American' is a good representation of reality from the point of view of people who believe Saddam Hussein is responsible for 9/11. I wouldn't say it is about war with Iraq per se, but about American vengeance for 9/11 being taken out on anyone the rednecks don't like, essentially. So it could be directed at France just as easily as Iraq.

The song this thread is about though, isn't that song, it just thread creeped into the conversation.

I think everyone here agrees that song suggests that the meting out of vigilante justice through lynching either once was an acceptable way of laying down the law, and possibly suggests that should be again considered acceptable. I think McGrath goes too far by putting an Iraqi spin on it, though.

I don't hear the 'Beer for My Horses' song as about any international issues, 9/11, or Iraq. Rather, I hear the song as being about the failure of the justice system in the US, and the song's narrator longing/desire to mete out vigilante justice when the narrator feels justice has not been served. The only disagreement really, is over the interpretation of whether the lynching referred to in the song could be construed as a reference to racial lynching. Some say no, some say yes, some say maybe.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 05 May 03 - 01:42 PM

Dimsdale's "The Vigilantes of Montana" is on the internet, complete text. A great non-fiction classic of the West. Vigilantes


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 05 May 03 - 01:59 PM

The painting, "Justice Meted Out to English Jim by the Vigilantes, 1853, San Francisco. One of many thieves and killers eliminated through public justice in the cities and gold fields of California.
English Jim


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 May 03 - 02:02 PM

Guest (or, at least, one of the guests) said at one point:

"Because of the powerful association in the US of lynching with racial lynching..."

I think he/she is really saying that this is a "powerful association" **about** the US, and strongly suspect that the person who first made the knee-jerk assumption that began this thread is someone from outside the US. In America, most people realize that homemade law enforcement in the Old West, while distasteful and essentially arbitary, had little or nothing to do with white-vs-black racism. Immigants, Mexicans and Native Americans may indeed have been over-represented among the victims for racial reasons, but there were (and still are) very limited numbers of African Americans represented in the local population.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Arne Langsetmo
Date: 05 May 03 - 02:08 PM

Lin in Kansas sez:
    I think the whole point of "Beer for My Horses" is contained
    in this line:

    "A man had to answer for the wicked that he done."

    What a novel idea in these days of "It's ALWAYS somebody
    else's fault!"

Ummm, sometimes, it _is_ someone else's fault. On no fault at
all, just an imagined slight (think Emmett Till). Which is
why vigilantism is bad, bad, bad. Hell, even _with_ "due process",
we seem to convict many innocent people. Think that Toby Keith's
version of justice is going to do better? Why should we
laud that type of mentality?

As for whether lynchings in Texas are cattle rustlers, or
something else, here's from Michael Lind's book "Made In Texas"
(p. 8), talking about McLennan County, home of Dubya's
Crawford "ranch":

    Waco was one of the centers of lynching in the United States.
    In Texas, 20 of the lynchings that claimed 468 victims between
    1885 and 1945 took place in a belt of eleven counties
    along the Brazos River, including McLennan County. (As
    it happens, the George Herbert Walker Bush Library at
    Texas A&M in College Station, like the younger Bush's
    ranch, is in the heart of the historic Texan lynching
    belt). Most of the victoms of mob violence in Texas
    as a whole were black (339), although there were also
    whites (77), Latinos (53), and one Native American.
    Lynching was all but unknown in the perts of Texas
    untouched by plantation agriculture; only 15 of 322
    incidents occurred outside of East Texas.

So much for the "cattle rustler" theory here. Lind also
describes Waco (near Crawford) and East Texas as one of the
strongholds of the KKK in the post-Civil-War, and even
describes Crawford as a "white-flight suburb" of Waco.

As for who Keith is talking about (assuming he wasn't
really in favour of _lynching_ the person whose acts
killed his father), he says:

    We got too many gangsters doing dirty deeds
    We've got too much corruption, too much crime in the streets
    It's time the long arm of the law put a few more in the ground
    Send 'em all to their maker and he'll settle 'em down

If he's talking about Mafiosi here, that'd be news to me.
And I'd say that if he wants vigilantes to take on the Mafia,
he may find they're better armed and financed. . . .

As for corruption, I doubt he's asking that Kenny Lay
(or Thomas White or Dick Cheney) be strung up.

The last line seems to echo the line, "Kill 'em all,
and let God sort 'em out. . . ."

Maybe I'm being a bit sensitive, but I do think it's
worth taking a little closer look at the sentiments
expressed (and to remember the historical background
of these acts as well). . . .

Cheers,

                              -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 05 May 03 - 02:10 PM

The Vigilance Committee of San Francisco, letters of General William Tecumseh Sherman of the California Militia; his thoughts. The president of the Vigilance Committee was William T. Coleman. Vigilance Comm.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 05 May 03 - 02:13 PM

Mis-spelled Sheman2 on the Military Museum website!: Vigilance Comm


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 May 03 - 02:18 PM

I wasn't suggesting that the song was indirectly about Iraq. I was saying that the mentality which thinks that arguing about whether the war was lawful or not is irrelevant, since Saddam was a nasty piece of work anyway, is pretty close to the mentality which would see lynching as a righteous thing to do. If the same bloke wrote the Beer for Horse Song and that one about kicking arses, that is consistent with that.

Though I'm not clear who actually wrote the "Beer for horses" song - that link says "Toby Keith with Willie Nelson", but it's not clear if that means writing it together, singing it together, one write the other sings, or what.

In any case what the author means in a song isn't the end of the story. A stick points both ways, and so can a song.

Incidentally, for those of us who first got our ideas about America from the movies, most of the guys getting lynched in the old cowboy movies tended to be white. I don't know how far that reflects reality in the Wild West - after all these movies never seemed to have any black cowboys, and that was historically nonsensical - but that's the image. I'd have thought that someone assuming that any lynching had to mean black guys getting lynched would be more likely to be an American.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 05 May 03 - 02:38 PM

Echoing PoppaGater, Blacks were rare in the West. New Mexico and southern Colorado had a number of lynchings of crooks and rustlers in the period from the Civil War to about 1905, but none was Black. There were a number of Latinos, but at that time they constituted the majority of the population and a couple of the villages were noted for thieves and murderers. Stories of the thieves and hangings were stories we loved to hear from out grandparents.

The capitol city of Santa Fe in New Mexico in the 1930s had one Black family, who came with the railroad, and to most of us remained unseen. I remember that as a kid, we were curious about what a Black man looked like, but we never saw one, unless we went on a railroad trip. The Santa Fe railroad, with its Black porters and waiters, passed about 20 miles from Santa Fe, with the stop at Lamy. The D & R G W (Denver and Rio Grande Western) had a narrow gauge line that came into Santa Fe, but by my time, I believe that it was freight only.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 May 03 - 03:32 PM

Let me amend my previous assertion that black folks were all but absent from the "Old West."

Texas is/was an obvious exception -- certainly part of the archtypal "West," it also has a history as one of the states of the Confederacy and -- in large sections of East Texas, if not elsewhere -- had a substiantial cotton-plantation economy featuring slavery and sharecropping, a hotbed of white/black racial conflict. Texas has always been as much a southern state as a western one.

West of the Pecos, however, black folks are *still* almost entirely absent. Cowboy vigilante justice (which seems to me to be the subject of the song in question) historically has had little or nothing to do with racism, certainly not against black folks (although arguably against brown and red people).


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 05 May 03 - 04:00 PM

Texas is in an odd position in people's thoughts. Southerners excluded it from the "real South" and westerners regarded it as just "Texas" or Western if you were talking about the Texas Llanos and plains. As a source of cattle, it was often lumped with northern Mexico which also produced cattle that were herded west and north. After the Civil War, Southerners considered Texas to be the place to which you went if you were in trouble.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 05 May 03 - 05:14 PM

This thread is a laugh!

It was started by someone who doesn't know anything about country music and the attitudes that people expect from it.

It has had many posters who I am sure have hardly a country music album in their collection.

All of this analysis! The song is a hit and I like the chord arrangement.

You know what they used to say about Hank Williams.

"If you don't like Hank williams you can just kiss my ass."


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 May 03 - 05:27 PM

I've read and re-read the lyrics, and can't for the life of me find anything which could even raise a fair inference that it was racially oriented. Seems to me that, to see it as racial, one would have to BRING the idea of racism to the reading as a preconception; it's just not in the song. Not "could be this, could be that"; it's just not there.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Arne Langsetmo
Date: 05 May 03 - 06:15 PM

Martin Gibson sez:

    This thread is a laugh!

    It was started by someone who doesn't know anything about
    country music and the attitudes that people expect from it.

    It has had many posters who I am sure have hardly a country
    music album in their collection.

You don't know me _or_ my taste and/or knowledge of music.
Nice to see a little prejudice sneak in to this thread;
seems appropriate. I listen to the Outlaws, Willie and
company, knew of Nanci Griffith before she jumped to
the Nashville scene, gave Allison Krause a kitten (literally)
before she went the way of the big bucks, saw the Dixie Chicks
before you ever heard of them, and am deeply and devotely
in love with Emmy Lou (or at least her voice). I heard
Linda Ronstat when she was with the Stone Poneys, doing
warmup for Neil Young (my friends hadn't ever heard of
this country torch [and if you don't think she was doing
"country" back then, just play the albums]). I've seen
Johnny Cash a couple of times, can appreciate the fiddle
of Charlie Daniels (if not his personality), and so on.
Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., and so one have graced
my turntables. Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle
and such are also well appreciated. I can sing along to
Marty Robbins's "El Paso". I have (or used to have) more
Kris Kristofferson albums than I would like to admit.

Don't try to tell _me_ what I have in my record collection.

Now if you're thinking of the schlock that "Country 24/7"
commercial stations pass as "country", you're right, I
don't think too much of most of it. But then again, I'm
not a fan of letting others tell me what is popular.

    All of this analysis! The song is a hit and I like the chord
    arrangement.

    You know what they used to say about Hank Williams.

    "If you don't like Hank williams you can just kiss my ass."

Do you think that Toby Keith could hold a candle to
Hank Wiliams?

Cheers,

                               -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 May 03 - 06:31 PM

But Arne -- are you now, or have you ever been, an American? Or even been *in* the USA?

I still stand by my hunch that the knee-jerk equation of any mention of a noose in the context of the United States somehow relates to KKK-type lynching of black folks betrays the complainant as either:

(A) A European whose knowledge of American life is limited to a set of stereotypes, or

(B) a professional leftist protester type, more likely to be a white person obsessed with the plight of black people than an actual descendant of Africans, or (of course)

(C) both of the above.

I've got nothing against black folks or, for that matter, leftists. I've done my share of jail time as a protester for peace and freedom (though not in the last decade or three), have spent most of my life living in mixed-race neighborhoods, and during the years I spent trying to make a living in music, was often the only white person in the room when playing a gig. I think I know something about the *real* problems and grievances of Black Americans, and this country song ain't it.

The cowboy do-it-yourself justice portrayed in the tune we're discussing may well be wrong, ignorant, indicative of current-day flag-waving yahooism, etc., etc., etc., but one thing it is NOT is racist.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 03 - 06:38 PM

Dave, it isn't the entire song that evokes images of a racist past, it is the reference to lynching that evokes images of a racist past, especially in Texas, which is the only geographical grounding Toby Keith gives the song, in the lines:

"Take all the rope in Texas
Find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys
Hang them high in the street for all the people to see..."

Why is it that some of you here feel such a powerful need to deny that the image above could be construed as being a reference to whites lynching blacks in Texas, just as easily as it can be construed as being a reference to whites lynching whites, when both types of lynchings occurred? Of all the 493 recorded lynchings in Texas, 141 were of whites, and 352 were black. The disproprotionate number of lynchings of blacks to whites throughout US history, is clearly demonstrated in the statistics. Of the 4,743 lynchings recorded in all states throughout US history, 1,297 were white, and 3,446 were black.

Now, considering that reality, how can anyone say that references to lynchings can't possibly be interpreted as racist? To claim that no reasonable person could interpret the reference to lynching as being racist, just defies rational logic, and flies in the face of the facts.

Click below (a link to a website about lynchings in the US provided by Brian in his post above) and scroll down to Texas.

Lynchings by state and race


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 03 - 06:46 PM

"...but one thing it is NOT is racist."

PoppaGator, you forgot to add "in my opinion." In your opinion the song isn't racist. In my opinion, it is. It doesn't matter what nation you or I hail from, whether your or my politics are liberal or conservative, or what your or my race is, as none of those things have anything to do with the different ways we perceive this song.

There is no problem with you saying you don't perceive the song as racist. There is a problem with you stating as fact that the song isn't racist, because you say so. That is bullshit.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 May 03 - 06:47 PM

Anyone read the Oxbow Incident, lately?


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Frankham
Date: 05 May 03 - 08:08 PM

Vigilantes are like dictators. They set themselves up as judge, jury and executioners. This is what some people would call the rise of facism in America. I can't support the content of this abysmal song.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Arne Langsetmo
Date: 05 May 03 - 09:04 PM

PoppaGator:

No, I have never been an "American" (at least formally).
Been in the U.S. essentially all my life, tho. Jeg var
fodt i Norge.

If you'll note, the idea of lynchings as the stringing
up of rustlers and bandits is one propagated by the movies,
and more to the European ken (e.g., see McGrath's
comments). The _facts_ about lynchings is that lynchings
were part of a terror movement in the United States, and
despite the "romantic" notions of rough frontier justice,
the real lynchings were far from a pretty scene (and by no
means "Western", and not even exclusively southern).

I find the idea abhorrent of extolling lynchings of any
kind (and to be sure, even the "romanticised" lynchings of
the West probably had more than their share of people
caught on the wrong side of public opinion or even
on the wrong side of the money interests ... fer kicks,
go read "The Ox-Bow Incident as recommended above).

Maybe I'm one of those "professional leftist protester type[s]".
Well and fine, you got me there. Yes, I _do_ decry injustices,
and I don't think you're going to convince me that lynching
is OK by any attempted ad hominem there. Feel free to address
the _substance_ of my comments rather than any alleged motivations
I might have. You might start with the steadily dawning fact
that even people who have gone through the ringer of
judicial "due process" are being _proven_ innocent, and then
tell me that you think that a lynching revival is in order,
or that we should at least hearken back to the "good ol' days"
where "justice" was meted out swiftly to whatever boogiemen of
the day got in the way. . . .

Cheers,

                               -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 06 May 03 - 11:44 AM

Gee Arne

And you don't know mine, either. Or any of the first hand knowledge I may really have.

I don't think Toby Keith is Hank Williams, but I never said he was.

Your knowledge seems limited to Top 40 country music. But it's pretty good for a foreigner.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 06 May 03 - 02:23 PM

No, I don"t have serious issues with people who disagree with me. I have serious issues with people who take offense at every turn and then feel insulted when people take issue with their self-righteousness. What kind of logic is...well, it COULD be racist ? That is my point. You just seem to be sawing sawdust.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: uncle bill
Date: 06 May 03 - 03:10 PM

This whole thread is hilarious. Here in San Antonio, Willie is revered. I saw him not more than a week ago and he is the same down to earth , good old boy he ever was. (that's "good old boy" in the positive sense, not to be equated with "ignorant redneck" that you yankees think is synonomous with g.o.b. He would give you the shirt off his back no matter what your color or political persuasion. One of my favorite songs comes to mind now, one by Ray Wylie Hubbard, entitled, "Screw You, We're from Texas!"If Willie teams up with some nashville cat now and then its not cause he loves country music, its because he loves music and gets so much joy out of performing. Get off his back you politically correct bunch of weenies.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 06 May 03 - 03:29 PM

Few realize that "vigilante" came from the Spanish for guard. Vigilante action against ladrones in Mexico was a part of the development of that country's rural economy as well.
Lynching connected to pioneer justice in areas of the United States that had not yet come under the rule of law is not just movie romance, but a part of American history. Its end came near the end of the 19th century, after courts and law enforcement covered the country, including Alaska, where the gold rush of 1898 saw its last use. The Vigilantes of Virginia City and the Vigilance Committee of San Francisco are well-known and were covered in a number of books, but most citizen justice before law took over was private and seldom publicised.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Arne Langsetmo
Date: 06 May 03 - 03:36 PM

Sez Martin Gibson:

    Gee Arne

    And you don't know mine, either. . . .

Didn't claim to, pardner.

                            . . . Or any of the first hand
    knowledge I may really have.

Hasn't seemed to slow you down. But you're certainly not
helping rectify that.

    I don't think Toby Keith is Hank Williams, but I never said he was.

Never said you did. I asked.

    Your knowledge seems limited to Top 40 country music. . . .

To be honest, I couldn't tell you what was popular on top 40,
outside of Toby Keith and the Chicks fighting it out on top. I
play what I like and I like what I play. And sometimes that's
country, whether _you_ deign to designate it as such or not.
I'd note that many of the bands I listen to are generally
starving or living hand-to-mouth, and that includes a
couple that have made their way to country. Some have done
a little better there, though.

FWIW, the best thing that's happened to "country" in a long
time is that some real musicians have made it there, and
have gotten it away from the "my wife left me, my dog died,
I lost my job, and the pickup stopped running" stuff.
The "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" scene introduced a lot of the
"country" fans to some real talents, and there are other
artists that have also done "country" much more good than
"country" had ever done them. Which is a good thing, I guess.
There will always be your Lee Greenwoods and Toby Keiths, but
country is (and always has been) much more than just them.

    . . . But it's pretty good for a foreigner.

You know, of course, what they used to say about
about Hank Williams. . . .

Cheers,

                              -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 06 May 03 - 04:30 PM

Now you are starting to convince me, Arne.

Martin Gibson


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 May 03 - 05:52 PM

Sorry I didn't add the phrase "in my opinion" -- figured it was implied. I'm not taking this exchange all *that* seriously, regardless of how overwrought an individual post might sound. Aren't we all just exercising our rhetorical impulses?

I'm tempted to continue repeating myself, because I still think there's something seriously wrong when anyone equates the juxtaposition of "hanging" and "America" with racism. There are plenty of other reasons for violence and injustice, after all. But I know there's no pointin beating a dead horse. (Apologies to Mudcatter Dead Horse, of course!)

Maybe it's time for this thread to die its natural death. Or, better yet, let's KILL the sucker! Without no judge or jury!


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 07 May 03 - 12:08 AM

An interesting way to lie with statistics. I drove a statistician friend in tears from reading this to him. Drawing the conclusion that hanging offenders is a totally unsubstantiate leap. It's like assuming that someone involved in a car accident was drunk because most car accidents involve drunk drivers. The song doesn't even necessarily refer to vigilante justice, much less lynchings. In the video the "heros" are law officers attempting to apprehend a serial killer, not vigilantes. The offender in that instance was white. The only way you could get to the conclusion that the song is racist is to start with that assumption and look for evidence that supports that view. The song is a metaphor for strong justice, nothing else.

Besides, even attempting to assoicate this song with those racist lynchings just shows an ignorance of US history and popular culture. Very few Americans are aware of the lynchings the Tuskegee Institute refers to; it's a past we want to put behinds us. Frontier justise at the end of a rope was romaticized by western novels and movies to the point that it would be the only thing that the typical American audience for Country music would think of.

So don't be surprised if none of the people for whom this song was intended see it as racist. The lynchings described by the Tuskegee Institute are horrifying (if anything fewer than what I was lead to believe), but you're going to have to look somewhere else to find anyone glorying in them.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Arne Langsetmo
Date: 07 May 03 - 10:20 AM

Toby Keith mentions "rope" and "Texas":

    Take all the rope in Texas
    Find a tall oak tree

A number of people have mentioned "vigilantes" and such
in the context of the American West, but the sad truth is
that in Texas (as well as across the country as a whole)
most of the folks getting lynched were black.

Someone posted a blue clicky to some stats on lynchings
in the U.S., and it's clear that _most_ of the lynchings
were during a period of terror that started just before
the turn of the 20th century and lasted through the '30s.
I posted info on what lynchings meant in Texas (and where
they were most prominent).

Either Toby Keith doesn't know his history, or he does know
his history and doesn't give a damn.

Cheers,

                         -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 07 May 03 - 01:36 PM

Arne,

The statistics quoted are for the years between 1882 and 1968. By that point (certainly after 1890) the vast majority of the United States was under civil law and "frontier justice" was largely a thing of the past. If you were comparing statistics from the years 1790 to 1890, adjusted for population growth, they would be more meaningful but still irrelevant. Vigilante hangings (which were anything but lynchings as there was generally at least some semblance of a trial if not a lawfully appointed one) simply occured at a different point in time for a completely different reason than the lynchings those that link purports to be reported by the Tuskegee Institute. One attempted to maintain law and order where civil law was not yet effective. The other was an evil attempt to surpress black civil libertities. Look at the examples to see clearly. At the time cited above for the lynchings in Waco the city was the headquarters of the Texas Rangers, the state police, and seat to a district court. Those lynchings were anything but vigilante justice.

As to connecting racism to the song, no where in the song are the words "lynch", "vigilante" or "blacks" used. They came up when someone with an over active imagination thought the song was racist and others responded by pointing out what they thought it was about. Any reasonable American would know the song makes a reference to rough frontier justice in the same way any Brit would know that the swear word "bloody" refers to Mary Queen of Scotts and Queen Elizabeth and not any of a number of other bloody periods of British history. And as any Irishman would know that the U2 song, "Bloody Sunday" has nothing to do with Mary Queen of Scotts.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Cluin
Date: 07 May 03 - 10:57 PM

Well, I just heard from my buddy today that we have to learn this song for our summer gigs in Michigan so he asked me to download it and find the lyrics (Thanks for posting them above, Joe! Mudcat's always my first and often last stop for lyrics). Just finished downloading the MP3 too and am listening to it now. I gotta say I'm not looking forward to singing it. Willie, what are you doing on this one?

And I really don't see anything racist in it, myself, but it kind of reminds me of another piece-of-shit song, Hank Williams Jr.'s "Country Boys Can Survive". Always hated that one too.

At least we don't have to learn any David Allan Coe material. I'm a-drawin' the line hyar, bah gawd!

Now I have to print it up and scribble in some chords for tomorrow night's practice. At least I learned a good song today: John Hiatt's "My Dog and Me" to offset things a bit.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Strick
Date: 07 May 03 - 11:21 PM

It does seem to be a hook in search of a song.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 08 May 03 - 03:10 AM

Guest:

Hell, if you have figures on lynchings prior to the end of the
19th century, and can show that these earlier lynchings were
a good thing, out with it.

But we _do_ have the numbers on lynchings during the Klan era,
and I'd say you'll have a hard time topping those numbers,
even "adjusted for population".

As for "evil attempt to suppress black civil liberties",
that's a bit of an understatement. Blacks didn't have
much in the way of civil liberties then, despite the
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. What it was was
a campaign to terrorise the blacks, and if it was an
"attempt", it was a damn good one.

No, Toby Keith doesn't mention "lynch". He says "rope"
and "oak tree". Think you can put two and two together?
And you're right, he doesn't mention "vigilantes". Must
have been an oversight on his part, or maybe his mind
just wasn't on vigilantism. . . .

Yes, I think it is a racist song (and to tell the truth,
as the originator of this thread, I think I brought that
up first). Call it an "overactive imagination" if you
will, but I've presented facts here, which is more than
I can say for you. How you can assume that it refers
to "rough frontier justice", when even Keith doesn't
talk about vigilantes, and when the facts show that the
main people being strung up by mobs were uppity Nigras,
is a bit beyond me. Do elucidate.

Oh, and BTW, "trials", in my mind at least, are these
things where they look at the evidence, and where the
accused has a chance to present their own. See prior
comments of mine concerning how easy it is to convict
innocents (particularly in Texas) even with full "due
process". What do you think of the concept of setting
a time limit for production of exculpatory evidence?
Do you think that Texas's policy of a hard "drop-dead"
date (so to speak) for bringing up new evidence is
a good idea? If someone has incontrovertible _proof_
that they're innocent, should the law allow this to
be considered, or should it just say, "whooops, too
late, too bad" (as Texas and a number of other states
do)?

Cheers,

                            -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Strick
Date: 08 May 03 - 10:28 AM

Lynchings? Vigilantes? The primary method of captial punishment in the United States and most of Europe for many, many years was hanging. Wasn't the last person executed in England in the 60s hung? If the song's mentions rope and villians, that's the logical conclusion.

If you want to complain about the song being pro captial punishment, that would make sense. Who ever thinks this is about lynching just has a vivid fantasy life or a hardon for Toby Keith (an ugly image). Two and two do not make five, Mr. Langsetmo. You have no credible evidence for your position; you try to prove your case with facts that are undoubtably true but for which you fail to estabish any connection to the issue. You've just made up your mind to arrive at the worst possible conclusion, that's all.

Next you'll be telling us an ABBA song was pro-slavery because they mentioned water and sailing which makes you think of Vikings and everyone knows they trafficed in slaves after their raids. And try not to think about the rape and pillage.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Cluin
Date: 08 May 03 - 12:35 PM

No, man, the song is definitely about lynching. I just don't see it as being specifically about racist lynching. Just vigilante lynching, in general. Arne's position, I think, is that there's not much difference in his mind. Maybe that case could be made for a lot of folk, however I can't see any evidence of racism in the song itself and I doubt very much that it was the intention of the writers (Mr. Keith and another fellow) or the performers (Mr.s Keith & Nelson). That would be career suicide, if nothing worse.

To me, this song just seems to be a pandering to the redneck-sort-of country market (a raging stereotype, but stereotypes sell) who is feeling frustration with social problems, criminal activity and the apparent inability (or perceived unwillingness) of the legal system to take harsher measures to deal with it. So it looks back to a "simpler" time that our "grandpappy" knew, where life was less complicated and folks "knowed what was what". That's a pretty common theme overall in country music anyway. The fact that things were NEVER that simple or just in the "good ol' days" is usually blissfully ignored, but what else is new? If dumbass songs like those from Toby Keith or Alan Jackson are going to sell, they'll keep putting them out.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 08 May 03 - 12:54 PM

Re-reading the song, it seems little more than an expression of frustration at the headlines and the TV news of murder, gangs, drugs, and robbery with violence.
How many of us wish that these crimes, and the people who perpetrate them, could be eliminated?

I see absolutely no overt racism. The call for a little frontier justice is sophomoric but we all applauded when John Wayne took out the baddies.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 08 May 03 - 01:13 PM

Guest Strick sez:

    Lynchings? Vigilantes? The primary method of captial punishment
    in the United States and most of Europe for many, many years was
    hanging. Wasn't the last person executed in England in the 60s
    hung? If the song's mentions rope and villians, that's the
    logical conclusion.

Guess you didn't read the lyrics. Keith wasn't hankering for the
good ol' days of trials.

    If you want to complain about the song being pro captial
    punishment, that would make sense. Who ever thinks this is
    about lynching just has a vivid fantasy life . . .

Translated from foamerese into English:
    "a vivid fantasy life" (n): Takes time to read the lyrics.

                                           . . . or a hardon
    for Toby Keith (an ugly image). . . .

An ugly image for you, perhaps. Don't look now but your
other prejudices are showing. But FWIW, I don't have any kind
of "hardon" for Keith.

    . . .Two and two do not make five, Mr. Langsetmo. You have
    no credible evidence for your position; . . .

LOL. Certainly more than you've brought to the table here.
I'm beginning to wonder why there's such a string of people
going out of their way to jump to Keith's defence here. . . .

    . . . you try to prove your case with facts that are
    undoubtably true . . .

Horrors!

    . . . but for which you fail to estabish any connection to
    the issue. . . .

I pointed out in a prior post that Keith either doesn't
know the history of "all the rope in Texas", or he simply
ignores it. I'm willing to conisider him an idiot (but I'd
note that idiots are by no means immune from prejudice; quite
the contrary). Fair nuff?

    . . . You've just made up your mind to arrive at the worst
    possible conclusion, that's all.

See above.

[snip "straw man"/"slippery slope" type discourse]

Cheers,

                            -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 May 03 - 01:35 PM

The real life Western hangings were much more than what old Wayne portrayed in Hollywood's hyped Westerns.

There is a fairly new book out on Cattle Kate which argues that she and her common-law husband (they had a problem with a marriage license) were hung by vigilante ranchers who wanted her prime piece of grazing land near Rawlins, WY. The names of her executioners read like the Blue Book of WY. The book includes more research and reveals more about those who killed her, than ever before. I highly recommend it. You can read parts of it at Amazon.

My daughter went to school with the grandson of one of those ranchmen and they still had Kate's brand-new mocassins taken from her the day she was murdered. Here's a small blurb on her with a link to something which I have not read yet, by a descendant of hers: Cattle Kate

Then there was Big Nose George Parrott, who apparently was thought to *deserve* hanging and then some:

Big nose George was lynched in Rawlins, Wyoming. He was the most hated man in the town. After he was killed, the body was donated to the local doctor who made a pair of shoes out of his inner thigh, a medicine bag out of his chest and an ashtray out of the top of his skull. In the 1950's his remains were found in a whiskey barrel where the doctor's office used to stand. All that was kept of his body was his skull. The shoes and skull are on display at the Carbon County Museum in Rawlins. Nobody knows what happened to the medicine bag.

Carbon County, WY seems to have been pretty rough and ready, so to speak. There's another one which my college history prof. told us. I cannot remember the guy's name, but they hung him from a telegraph pole. According to my teacher, who had several books to his name and was a WY native, the outlaw's wife had his body cut down, then pickled in alcohol in a lead-lined coffin which she kept under her bed. She supposedly pulled it out, with help, every once in a while to check on him.

kat


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Strick
Date: 08 May 03 - 01:39 PM

Arne, you got me. The only problem is that you've completely missed the more serious meaning of the song. My life won't be worth a plug nickel after I tell this story, but, jeesh, I just got to tell it. You see I was raised near an airbase in West Texas, a bomber base. We all heard the story of how the Air Force was concerned about the safety of the nuclear weapons on their aircraft after a couple of hushed-up accidents. It seems every now and then the bombs just fell out of the plane when they weren't supposed to. Damned dangerous business. The brink of WWIII.

The big brains were called in to fix the problem and added every failsafe they could think of to keep the bombs in the planes. Then one of the non-coms organizing the heavy lifting for the brains asked a question that froze the blood in their veins: "what happens if all that fancy gear don't work?" At the non-com's suggestion they added one last safety device - a strong piece of rope to tie the bombs to the plane.

Now this was all common knowledge amoung the bomber pilots. As a matter of fact, they began to refer to their bomb missions as "going to hang 'em high" after the release of a Clint Eastwood movie.

So you see, this song isn't about lynching or vigilantes or anything like that. "All the rope in Texas" is a code word that any Texas including the president would know. Toby Keith is egging the president to use the US nuclear arsenal to seek gobal domination! Today the Middle East, tomorrow the world!

It's all true, the bombers, the rope (later steel cable, but hemp in its first incarnation), the base in Texas, all of it I promise. Except for the part about the song and the global domination is ridiculous, of course. There's a simplier answer, one several people have offered because it's obvious to everyone but you. You see you can't ignore Occam's Razor and use spurious correlations to reach a conclusion just because you want it to be true.

BTW, MR. Keith is from Oklahoma.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Cluin
Date: 08 May 03 - 04:18 PM

Now where'd I put that neck brace? I think my whiplash is back...


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Tinker
Date: 09 May 03 - 03:58 PM

In reading this whole thread from the start, I was surprised to see The Dixie Chicks being quoted and cited for their opposition to the use of violence to settle problems. Aren't they the same ladies who justified the murder of a wife-beater in "Goodbye, Earl", insisting "Earl had to die"? Seems to me they were encouraging the vigilante approach long before Keith and Nelson did.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,A different guest...
Date: 09 May 03 - 09:16 PM

Folks, I have met Willie and talked with him about the music business, his politics and so on... let me shed just a little light here, if I can...

    Willie is a 70-year-old man... he was raised literally dirt poor in Texas during a time that most spoiled suburbanites wouldn't have been able to last... He is part Native American, and I personally have seen him associate with black people, whites, Indians, Hispanics and probably other minority people groups, just in case the racial-sensitivity-police are reading this... Willie has plenty of good intentions in his heart for EVERY independent farmer, and for lots of other neglected people as well...

    As far as this song goes, there are plenty of other songs that are a LOT more racist and narrow-minded than this one... lots more stupid lyrics out there than these... no one complains when in "The Highwayman" he sings about soldiers' blood being shed on his blade as he lyrically portrays a pre-Civil War-era highway robber...

    Let's try and remember the source, here, folks... Willie has very rarely given a crap about anyone's "industry" opinions, and frankly, those who say they wouldn't take a chance on selling a few more records by singing with a big star in their field are mostly hypocrites... anyone who sells the stuff wants it to sell well... politics be damned; I have heard Mudcatters say in the past that if a person doesn't like folk music, fine; it's not for them... same goes here... radios have buttons to select other stations, and CD's only play songs you don't like if you buy them and put them on...

Just MHO.

A different guest


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 10 May 03 - 08:38 AM

So it is a song praising the good ole days of vigilante lynchings of 'those people'. But 'those people' absolutely cannot be understood to be black. And anyone for whom the image of vigilante lynchings immediately brings racial lynching to mind, is an idiot. Actually, much worse than an idiot--a bleeding heart liberal.

That seems to be the gist of the 'it isn't a racist song' argument. Which doesn't seem convincing in the least to me.

Here is my argument in a nutshell. Anytime white folks feel their heros threatened by charges of racism, they attack the messenger savagely in an effort to 'prove' they and their hero aren't racist. So the response here is entirely predictable.

For myself, whenever the spectre of vigilante lynching is raised, my mind's eye sees an image of racial lynching. No denials of the reality of race lynchings by white folks will ever change that.

I see the song as ignorant, racist, reactionary, inflammatory, AND a really piss poor, clumsy lyric to boot.

I also know that this song, along with that abomination 'Angry American' song, are this asshole's anthems. So frankly, if that is what Willie Nelson is stooping to these days, he deserves to fade into obscurity.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 10 May 03 - 08:48 AM

Guest tinker, you raise a good point about the Dixie Chicks song 'Goodbye Earl'. A good number of country music stations refused to play that song, as it generated a lot of controversy. So one can't help but notice the double standard regarding this song being played as a country anthem. I don't know of any stations that have refused to play the Toby Keith/Willie Nelson song.

'Goodbye Earl' lyrics

But I think discussion of the Dixie Chicks song merits a different thread.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Arne Langsetmo
Date: 13 May 03 - 02:05 AM

Strick (and others):

Toby Keith mentions his grandpappy's saying
"Back in my days, son". And then the reference
to "all the rope in Texas" (Keith may be from the
neighbouring Oklahoma -- not exactly innocent of
lynching either, but it would indicate that his
roots are Texan).

But back in Keith's grandpappy's days, it would have
been in the midst of the Ku Klux Klan terror (in Texas
in particular) as well as other southern states), and
long past the days of "frontier justice". Maybe
Keith was just being allegorical, but even then, his
knowledge of the timeline of lynchings versus the
"frontier justice" is way out of whack.

The History Channel had a show on "Vigilantes" just last
week:

Vigilantes

There they mention that some 6000 people were killed by
vigilantes, but some 4000+ happened well past the institution
of civil law in the West, and were instead part of the
more recent terror campaign against blacks, foreigners,
and religious minorities (blacks in particular). _Most_
of the "vigilante" killings were of this later, far more
pernicious variety.

Vigilantes started in the 1700s in eastern states, and
moved west with the frontier, providing "justice" when
there was no civil authority (or when the "civil authority"
didn't want to do anything, or even were a part of the
rogues, as is described in the Montana clicky in one
past post). But this kind of vigilantism died out as
civil authority was instituted, and what happened in
Texas in the days of Keith's grandpappy was a beast of
a different colour.

I'd note also that not every death at the hands of
vigilantes even in the early days was for some heinous
deed. In at least some cases, the victims were simply
undesirable, or had something that someone else wanted,
or were the target of a personal grudge.

I find it appalling under these circumstances for anyone
to extol the virtues of vigilantism, and in Keith's
case, the crime is compounded by the heinous nature of
the lynchings that were contemporaneous with his
grandpappy. If Keith doesn't know this, someone should
set him straight. If he does, he evinces a personal
character that I find highly offensive. Maybe it's
just "art for art's sake" (or at least for money's
sake), but I find it despicable.

Cheers,

                              -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Strick
Date: 13 May 03 - 09:16 AM

I'm sorry the song strikes you that way, Arne, particularly since it's clear it wasn't meant that way. Lots of injustice in the world. Lots of reasons people don't like Toby Keith. Enjoy these whether they're related or not.

Now, since it's not a folk song, heck it's not even a very good song, why don't we move on?


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 14 May 03 - 11:10 AM

Strick:

Why do you say it's not a "folk song"? Are you
one of these folk music purists?   ;-)

As for it being "clear it wasn't meant that way", I see
no evidence for your assertion, yet I have provided
evidence for my two hypothesis.

Cheers,

                               -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: jeffp
Date: 14 May 03 - 11:14 AM

Isn't this horse dead yet?


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: denise:^)
Date: 14 May 03 - 01:51 PM

Where does the Toby/Willie song say that they're lynching blacks? I must really be missing it--I thought they said they were going after "bad boys," "gangsters," and people who shoot people, steal cars, abuse people (I'm assuming family members), cause corruption, and commit street crimes...
Silly me, I guess.

Not that I'm in favor of mob rule, lynching, or posse justice--absolutely not! I think the song is intended as an exaggerated way of saying "we need to clean things up." I don't even like the song, really, but I think we need to get out of the habit of yelling "racism!" every time someone's viewpoint, or sense of humor, or poilitical affiliation, differs from ours.

I've looked over the lyrics again, just to be sure, but I don't see even one reference to any particular race or culture, other than the culture of crime.

If you mean it's a crummy song, say it's a crummy song. If you mean that you are not in favor of mob rule, say so. If you mean that you think it's too harsh, say so--but don't bother whining that it's a racial slur.

And whining about Willie Nelson's voice is even more ridiculous. His voice is his voice. You don't like it, you change the station. (I personally have *never* liked his voice--but it is what it is, and I don't have to listen...)

Denise:^)
...in a "zero whining tolerance" zone...


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Dustin Laurence
Date: 14 May 03 - 03:57 PM

This sort of thing is my least favorite part of Mudcat, and here I am replying to one of *those* threads...why am I doing this to myself?

The argument that that song is racist reminds me of the end of the song "Polka-Dot Undies"; "I tell you that obscenity is all in your...polka-dot undies." Presumably, however, it is a crime against sensitivity at least not to have the same things in your mind as your self-appointed social betters. But then, it seems to me that the "Texas Defense" is the height of progressivism when applied to domestic abuse, but the last word in reactionary savagery when applied to other things, so perhaps I'm just not able to see the subtle distinctions. Ah, well.

OK, sarcasm off for a while. I don't respect many of the opinions on this thread enough want to even discuss them.

That lonely reference to The Oxbow Incident was excellent, too bad people were too busy shouting their prejudices to notice it. Excellent book about just how bad vigilante justice can be. Being an expatriate Montanan, I'll have to track down the book on Montana vigilantes, but it sounds like that and Oxbow Incident might be a good combination, unless of course you necessarily equate vigilanteeism with racial killings--in which case go impose your prejudices on someone from somewhere else.

I am also reminded of a Mike Royko column about a neighborhood pornographer who approached a young woman about some pictures. The column was essentially about how in bygone days her father and brothers would have gone over to the photographer's house and made some forceful suggestions about his behavior toward the young women in the neighborhood and his continued presence there. Which was the more civilized time? Mike's preference, I guess, was clear. Poor, reactionary, uncivilized Mike.

Dustin


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: sweetfire
Date: 15 May 03 - 04:11 PM

RIGHT, sod everything else that people think are to do with this song, will someone please tell me, how the fuck this song is racist??? now i'm not going to pretend i know all about the history of lynching because i dont and i'm not that bothered in finding out. So, whoever thinks this song has some racial issues please tell me why. And when i say why i don't mean try to blag my head with a loada bullshit on the history of anything etc etc because anything else is irrelevant to what i am asking, as i wish only to be involved with this idea the song is racist. The idea of which i disagree to.


s'fire


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: PoppaGator
Date: 15 May 03 - 04:34 PM

Sweetie:

If a song is set in the US, and it mentions hanging, certain people will jump to the conclusion that it couldn't possibly be about anything except white Americans -- all of whom are obviously racist -- perpetrating murderous injustice against black people.

Not everyone agrees.

It is apparently unlikely that anyone on either side of this argument is about to change his/her mind.

We should probably stop trying to argue about this. Last week, I swore I would no longer contribute to perpetuating this futile tirade, but here I go again. I realize this didn't contribute anything new, I only repeated myslef. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Can we please just get along? And drop it?


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: sweetfire
Date: 15 May 03 - 04:46 PM

yea thread does seem to be repeating it'd self. i just wnated to know exactly was the 'obvious' racial content is in the song.
like i said...repeating it's self....


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Cluin
Date: 15 May 03 - 08:39 PM

Luckily, once I'd actually played this one for my buddy, he stopped me about halfway into it and said, "Aw, I'm sorry you went to the trouble to learn this one. It's really awful! We can forget it." (Hell, it only took 5 minutes to learn, I told him)

He said he had only heard it in passing and fastened on the line "Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses" and, since the place we are playing has a lot of horses, he thought it might go over well. That was before he'd heard the rest of it. I agree it was a good hook line... I guess Toby Keith had heard it years ago and filed it away for future use. I'm just sorry he threw it away on this piece of kife song. It was the title that hooked Willie into recording it with TK, he admitted. If you listen to the song, it sounds like Willie gave him the one take in the studio he'd promised then walked away (the performance and synching up of their vocals is pretty lousy overall). Once he heard the rest of it, I bet he regretted agreeing to it.

So now I can try and put it out of my mind, I hope.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 15 May 03 - 08:47 PM

Toby Keith said he got the phrase when, as a teenager, he worked for a company that supplied livestock for rodeos. In a Charlotte newspaper, found googling.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Tinker
Date: 15 May 03 - 10:53 PM

Just read this thread for the first time. Whoever the Guest, Tinker is on May 9, 3:58pm ... It sure wasn't me!!!!


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST
Date: 16 May 03 - 12:16 AM

Willie Nelson also appears in the video currently in rotation on the country music cable channel. That doesn't seem like distancing himself to me.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,jdavis
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 03:48 PM

How about in the context of the Super Bowl, in Texas, and when Byrd's truck-dragging lynching is still very fresh in the mind.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Genie
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 05:26 PM

When I first heard this song I was appalled, but I didn't hear it as racist. I think you said it well, Guest:
"Toby Keith is, IMO, a dangerous man who has seriously confused the concept of justice with vengeance and vigilantism, and is getting rich singing about his hatred, his anger, and his uncontrollable desire for vengeance."

Lin, I think the (reasonable) concept --"A man had to answer for the wicked that he done." --
is OVERSHADOWED by the lyrics' connecting "Somebody stole a car" (or even "somebody's been abused," "We've got too much corruption, too much crime in the streets,"-- rather broad categories) with "It's time the long arm of the law put a few more in the ground, Send 'em all to their maker..." The idea that having to answer for anything "wicked" means society (by mob action or by law) should "Find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys, Hang them high in the street for all the people to see," that's not just about vigilantism, it's a horribly distorted concept of justice.

The idea that the "consequences" of all "bad deeds" should be the death penalty is (thankfully) NOT the "good ol' American way." It's annoyingly ironic when people like Toby Keith, who flaunt their "patriotism," demonstrate so little regard for our constitutional system of justice.


And Ebbie, yes, we often sing very politically incorrect folk songs that are and are in no way meant to represent our own value system -- just like performing as Lady MacBeth doesn't mean you advocate murder. But I wouldn't perform "Banks Of The Ohio" for a group of wife-batterers, and I think there are far too many country music fans out there who WILL take this song as sanctioning a very reactionary view of "justice." Let's execute car thieves and anyone who "abuses" someone else. The song says nothing about fines or prison or restitution, just "putting [the lawbreakers] in the ground."

This is the kind of thinking that spawned so many "mandatory minimum" sentences and makes real justice impossible in many court cases, not to mention overflowing our prisons with many non-violent offenders (including some whose "crimes" both Willie and Toby have probably also committed without getting prosecuted for them).


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 06:06 PM

Genie

You take this way too seriously.

I love the guitars in this song and I love the video, also.

Preachy, preachy. Talk about over analyzing lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Genie
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 06:58 PM

No analyzing at all, really, Martin -- except in terms of posting. What I expressed in my post was what hit me square in the head the first time I ever heard that song.

And I wouldn't take it seriously if there weren't so many folks out there who actually would like the US to be more like Saudi Arabia with respect to "evildoers."

Willie may be singing this song sort of tongue-in-cheek. I'm not so sure Toby is. But even if they are, a lot of fans probably aren't hearing it that way.


PS,
I do like Willie, but I've thought Toby was obnoxious every time I've heard him open his mouth.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Flatlander
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 08:34 PM

After reading the posts from John in KS and Lin in KS and their horribly warped reading of a GUEST post, I must admit I am ashamed of them and that they that they are from my home state. Please ignor them, folks - they probably support Brownback and Ryan too. Guess you have to look at it as us Kansans being very tolerant. We also have a buddy of theirs named Fred Phelps.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: Cluin
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 11:55 PM

Whatever. It's a crap song.

That doesn't mean people won't enjoy it or TK won't sell lots of records (obviously since his was the top-selling country CD of 2003).

But it still isn't overtly racist in its lyrics, whatever people listening to it might bring along for the ride.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 07:41 PM

Do horses like beer?


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 05:29 PM

Genie

I wouldn't like the US to be like Saudi Arabia for evildoers. Don't they do things like cut off someone's hands?

Hanging is good enough for me.

Watch Toby Keith win a grammy for this song. Why? Because most people do like it.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: pdq
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 06:37 PM

Great song...one of the most origional efforts in a world of predictable pop trash. Tracy Byrd's "The Truth About Men", a song that Paul Overstreet had a hand in writing, is also a refreshing change.


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 07:20 PM

Seems to me the song is a portrait. Doesn't have to be a self-portrait.

It's possible to like & sing "Samuel Hall" even if you don't share Sam's attitude.

I used to like & sing the "Red-Headed Stranger" before Willie came out with it because it's funny: a caricature -- "Can't hang a man for shootin' a woman/ Who's tryin' to steal his horse."

Art isn't entirely confessional.

clint


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Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??
From: LadyJean
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 10:57 PM

I come from a long line of lawyers, (All of them, except for great great uncle Harry were very decent folk.) This may be why I find myself prejudiced in favor of trials. Yes, now and again a guilty creep goes free, or a true slimeball isn't sufficiently punished. But I still find it preferable to executing an innocent person, don't you?

Sooner or later John Ashcroft is going to slither home to Missouri. He will never see the inside of a prison, except as a prison minister. He may be present at an execution, but he will never be the guest of honor. He will, almost certainly, end up with more money than I have. He will drive a better car, live in a better house, have more sex and publish more books than I will.
This sucks, ladies and gentlemen. But this is how it is.

My father's father was a judge, back in the 1920s. Dad was all of 7 when he brought his father a postcard reading, "The KKK will get you." Nobody was safe from those creeps. (Grandfather died of pneumonia. The Klan did not get him.)


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