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Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??

DigiTrad:
BLUE EYES CRYING IN THE RAIN
BLUE HAIRS DRIVIN' IN MY LANE
RED-HEADED STRANGER
REMEMBER ME (WHEN THE CANDLE LIGHTS ARE GLEAMING)
SEVEN SPANISH ANGELS


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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
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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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