Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"A LIVING ARCHIVE OF AMERICA’S MUSIC AND CONSCIENCE, A TESTAMENT OF THE POWER OF SONG AND CULTURE TO NUDGE HISTORY ALONG":  Thank you, Pete Seeger, for a legacy of song and commitment to American values which cannot be matched. As Sam Anderson wrote in 2009,
Seeger is, quite literally, a folk hero—in the sense that he collected, wrote, and popularized many of America’s essential songs: “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “We Shall Overcome.” (It was originally “We Will Overcome”; Seeger thought the vowel in “shall” made it sound more dramatic.) But he is also a folk hero in the sense that Paul Bunyan is a folk hero. His nine decades seem almost mythic, complete with a perfect origin story, trials, dangers, and big quixotic inspirational victories.... Through it all, Seeger remained the idealist’s idealist.


  1. mikeski2:35 PM


    "Seeger was a dedicated Stalinist and has not renounced his devotion to
    communism [...]. When
    you speak out against communism you get booed, when you’re a cheerleader for its mass murderers you get a Kennedy Center tribute and presidential praise.

    "Seeger was a member of the Communist Party from the 1930s through the
    1950s. He left the party but never gave up the faith. He told the Washington Post
    in 1995 'I am still a communist.' Like his comrades and fellow
    travelers Seeger twisted and turned with every pronouncement from
    Moscow. Seeger supported the Nazi-Soviet Pact, a curious position for a
    noted 'anti-fascist.' In 1941 Seeger along with Guthrie was a member of
    the Almanac Singers,
    a communist folk group. The group put out the anti-war album Songs from
    John Doe, containing songs that labeled Franklin Roosevelt a war


    "Of course when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Seeger and the Almanac
    Singer’s literally changed their tune to get in lockstep with Stalin’s
    new foreign policy. They pulled Songs from John Doe from the market and
    quickly replaced it with the pro-war, pro-Roosevelt album Dear Mr.


    "Seeger’s sycophancy for murderous communist tyrants didn’t end with
    Stalin. During the Cold War he praised Ho Chi Minh and provided a hearty
    jacket endorsement for Tomas Borges’ brutal Sandinista thug’s book.


    "To be fair Seeger did eventually get around to realizing the horrors of Stalinism, albeit 50 years too late.


    "Some would argue that these inconvenient truths are peripheral to
    Seeger’s musical achievements and altruistic fight for civil rights.
    However, that argument ignores the fact that communism, and for a very
    long part of his life, support of the Soviet Union were central to
    Seeger’s oolitics
    and worldview. Like his boyhood idol Lincoln Steffens Seeger saw the
    Soviet Union as the way of the future, and Stalin as the man who would
    lead humanity to the sunny uplands of history. Seeger preached non-
    violence and considered himself a man of peace yet he aped the party
    line for a murderous totalitarian ideology. In the end that makes him a
    hypocrite. Seeger and his comrades on the Old Left and many in the New
    Left too, were what Lenin called useful idiots. Western dupes, who could
    be counted on to provide uncritical support for the Soviet Union
    thereby providing the rope that would eventually hang them."

  2. A true American hero. I got a ride back from Pittsburgh today from a horn player that had a bootleg of a very recent performance of Quite Early Morning. He was joking with the audience, and coaxing them to sing along in harmony. Gorgeous.