Monday 29 June 2015

"The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down!"

Quote: "Joan Baez - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Posted by Gerard on June 28, 2015, 11:21 am"....
"Re: Nah... Joan Baez - Babe I'm Gonna Leave You

Posted by johnlilburne [Email User] on June 28, 2015, 5:55 pm, in reply to "Nah... Joan Baez - Babe I'm Gonna Leave You "

"Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men
Some will rob you with a six-gun
And some with a fountain pen #

And as through your life you travel
Yes, as through your life you roam
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home"

# These days by tapping a few numbers on a computer screen."....

"I don't accept the reasons for performing this!

Posted by Neil on June 28, 2015, 6:11 pm, in reply to "Joan Baez - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down "

over the years. Clearly Baez, Seeger, the Band themselves, as well as the likes of Jerry Garcia, are not singing this as a lament for a slavocracy that was driven down, but the dreadful loss and collapse that ensued during the war and its aftermath.

Having said that, and acknowledging that it is a great song, I think the people who are singing this have got it wrong.

If people would accept folk musicians calling out the merits of a folk song that was a plangent lament for the suffering of the German people in 1945 as Germany was driven down, I might accept the context although I would utterly abhor it.

And without wanting to take away from the poignant thoughts going through someone's mind as they perform or listen to this great piece of music, I think they have it wrong.

The references to Dixie are clear, and driving down what Dixie represented was right.

Songs could be written about the suffering of formers slaves, indentured servants and white working class whose lives were made even worse in the aftermath of the civil war.

But the reference to dixie is the problem.

A folk song reconciling the suffering against what the future may now hold that Dixie has been driven down might be acceptable. I don't think that is the message in the song.

This was also justified at the time of its release in 1971 as an Anti-war song that drew comparison with Dixie being driven down, an American loss, against the perceived loss of America in Vietnam at the time.

This is an erroneous comparison in every way. America wasn't actually defeated in Vietnam and indeed many of its key objectives were achieved.

Quite simply lamenting the loss of a slave state is unjustifiable in any situation.

I think people were and are beguiled by the song, which is indeed superb. I am wary of my own emotions being stirred in this way.


"Re: I don't accept the reasons for performing this!

Posted by gloriousrevolution [Email User] on June 28, 2015, 7:42 pm, in reply to "I don't accept the reasons for performing this!"

Levon Helm, singer and drummer in the Band asked Robbie Robertson to write a song, a lament, about his people, looking at how ordinary southerners saw their defeat in the War Between the States; for a change.

The song deals with the terrible retribution that rained down opon the South, the mass destruction and the crushing of a entire country and people. Arguably it was a war where warcrimes on a massive and brazen scale were carried out for the first time so systematically. The destruction of Atlanta and Sherman's March to the Sea come to mind, where the civilian infrastructure was deliberately targetted for total destruction across a vast swathe of the South. And the South didn't recover for decades or even a century.

The war wasn't about ending slavery, but about crushing the South and empowering the North. Slavery was minor part of the justificatio for war. But it became the great moral battle-cry for the North, while the real reasons were far mor prosaic; resources and markets, power; sound familiar?"....

"Re: I don't accept the reasons for performing this!

Posted by Neil on June 28, 2015, 8:43 pm, in reply to "Re: I don't accept the reasons for performing this!"

It is more than familiar. It is the standard outcome when the powerful overwhelm the less powerful.

However, as you outline this is a complex history that has many versions and views. Dixie is simply synonmous with slavery and oppression of black people and lamenting its destruction will find no tears from me.


This song references Dixie, not the south, its people, indigenous (long since slaughtered) or otherwise. Taking down the working people of the south, or undermining what we can build as a better future is not emphasised in the song or the song's title.

That is not in the song. I will not be beguiled by art no matter how good it is to my ears. I will not sniff wistfully about soldiers crushed and dying for dixie.

And yes I am aware of what the north represented. This was about one ruling class in the North decapitating and bringing to heel a southern ruling class. Dixie is the mystical place that the south represented. It was destroyed. I will not lament its passing regardless of the skill of the song writer.

I am sorry I disagree the lefties and folk singers who exonerate this song, and what it represents are wrong. That is my opinion and I stand by it.".....

"Absolutely GR.

Posted by MadeNotBorn [Email User] on June 28, 2015, 9:23 pm, in reply to "Re: I don't accept the reasons for performing this!"

I would reiterate to Neil - because I know you know this anyway! - beware the narrative and logic of the victor.

OK - look at Germany. How must we look at the deliberate mass firebombing of heavily built up areas? How should we see the deliberate bombing and strafing by low flying aircraft of civilians (this happened to my mother when she was about 8)? The answer is obvious of course.

The question then is: what leads to a call for justice or at least acknowledgment, be that artistic or more prosaic, being taken as a justification for massive crimes such as the Nazis', or the southern slavers'? I think ultimately, 'we', the monomaniac west, need to see ourselves as 'the good guys' - so spiritually impoverished are we, by and large, that we cling so tight to dreary, ridiculous truisms like this. In other words: it's the simple answer, the unpleasant one. I don't expect anyone to accept it. Cultures with more life, more joie de vivre, more gratitude I think are more able to reflect with greater equanimity on what seems like moral 'dissonance' without the bottom falling out of their world. Italians and Russians spring to mind. Whaddo I know? Or have I missed your point?"....

"agree, but beyond that song...

Posted by David Bracewell on June 28, 2015, 10:03 pm, in reply to "Re: I don't accept the reasons for performing this!"

... were the victims of victimised Southerners, Blacks who stayed victimised the day, years and decades after surrender - by those Southerners.

There is victimhood and there is victimhood. And if the drummer wants you to write about his forbears' pain, the question is, what about the much larger pain of Blacks inflicted by his forbears?

Reading a lot about Japan lately. Japanese civilians are victims, pure and simple, although they remained unforgivably obtuse about Japanese atrocities in the 1930s in Manchuria and most were utterly unquestioning about the rightness of their cause (bolstered by a sham anti-colonial doctrine).

But the military were horribly rapacious throughout Asia. When you read the sense of victimhood many of the officers felt in the way they were simply held prisoners by the Americans - often expressing feelings of not being honoured or respected, feelings of not being given their sense of status - and then you read about what those exact same officers ordered (bayonet practice on live Chinese victims, torture, cold blooded killings of women and children in Okinawa and of course elsewhere, the use of slave labour - Malaysians, Indonesians and so on), you are gobsmacked by their lack of self-awareness and their overweening sense of self-absorption.

"Japan at War: An Oral History"

I think victimhood Southerners are much the same. If I were that drummer, I would ask for a song filled with ambiguity and I would put black people at the heart of it.

"Just take what you need and leave the rest, but they should never have taken the very best" Stack those war years up against the hundreds of years of slavery and the point, absent even a little mention of the catastrophe of black's lives under slavery, looks trivial, solipsistic.

I love that song though, have since Joan Baez' version came out. Cognitive dissonance."...

"Re: I don't accept the reasons for performing this!

Posted by Gerard on June 28, 2015, 10:32 pm, in reply to "Re: I don't accept the reasons for performing this!"

Also remember how Lincoln was able to industrialise his war, the South simply did not have the resources to, in the end they got the sharp end of the blunt instrument in a way that was disproportional as Lincoln was able wield the big stick with impunity."....

""Nah baay!"

Posted by Gerard on June 28, 2015, 10:18 pm, in reply to "I don't accept the reasons for performing this!"

It's about the deep hypocrisy of The Yankee dollar, freedom to fight but still Buffalo Soldiers (and boy didn't they the Amerinds?), history is not always "black" and "white"!"....

"Re: "Nah baay!"

Posted by gloriousrevolution [Email User] on June 29, 2015, 9:32 am, in reply to ""Nah baay!""

Slavery, as a profitable economic system was doomed and coming to an end anyway, as new production methods and technology surpassed it. How long did it have left, two decades at the maximum. The Civil War was far more bloody and destructive than slavery. Slavery was abolished in other states in the Americas without the need to fight a terrible war over it, why? The War Between the States wasn't primarily a great moral crusade fought to abolish slavery, rather it was a conflict about power and wealth inside the ruling elite. Who was going to rule the United States, the old centre of wealth - the South, or the new industrial barons of the northern cities? Wars need a great ideological and symbolic set of values in order to justify the blood-letting and the sacrifices required, in order to mobilize the whole nation in the struggle against 'evil.' That war was an even greater evil than slavery, bloodier and more destructive isn't something one wants to get into."....

"Thank you friend..

Posted by Gerard on June 29, 2015, 9:38 am, in reply to "Re: "Nah baay!""

I salute your erudition!"....

"Re: Thank you friend..

Posted by gloriousrevolution [Email User] on June 29, 2015, 8:52 pm, in reply to "Thank you friend.."

Thank you. My ex-wife, a real southern belle, came from a family that 'got in the way' of General Sherman as he bascially raped a huge swathe of the South in a true scortched earth strategy. When they told me that Lincoln imprisoned his political opponents and shutdown newspapers that challenged his war policies, I was shocked, but that was years ago. I've become much more cynical about war since then, as so much innocent blood has flowed under the bridge since then.".....

"Re: Thank you friend..

Posted by Gerard on June 29, 2015, 10:21 pm, in reply to "Re: Thank you friend.."

I come from a family who (at least on my father's side), believe that The Union may be far from secure!".....

Quote: "The Confederate Flag, a Dastardly Distraction

Posted by Gerard on June 25, 2015, 12:51 am

Quote: "6.24.15: National – (Politics): A domestic terrorist who abhorred African-Africans walked into a South Carolina church last week populated by the aforementioned race and murdered them.

Mr. Dylann Roof, the 21 year-old White male gunman, is an evil and uneducated person who did an awful, racist act so shocking that it has consumed the news cycle for an entire week.

But instead of discussing the hard issues, like what enabled the shooting –cultures, attitudes, laws, frowned upon social norms and biased media outlets who distort reality beyond recognition – the country has been consumed in a dialogue about the Confederate flag, while also completely ignoring the fact that the American flag, a pride and joy for many, also evokes memories, for some, of slavery, oppression, mass incarceration and unmitigated police violence, but that’s neither here or there, I guess.

At issue in this article is the fact that a flag was not the cause for the terrorist act that killed nine people, including a pastor, who also served as a State Senator. The Confederate flag, in the context of the Charleston shooting, is as relevant, in my opinion, as the brand of condoms Santa Claus prefers when making love to a reindeer – it’s that insanely irrelevant and abstract.

What we should be talking about, but we’re too afraid to, is the fact that America, while not what it used to be, is still very much a racist country that every day without consequence enables or promotes discrimination, segregation and white privilege, which includes the presumption of innocence, regardless of the statistics which should require cynicism, at the very least.

A clear example of this can be found in a candid statement often repeated by the likely next Mayor of Philadelphia, Mr. Jim Kenney, a White man who served as an At-Large City Councilman for more than two decades.

“My son has never been stopped-and-frisked,” Mr. Kenney told me after the signing of a law which decriminalized marijuana, and again before he spoke to a crowd of roughly 50 people in a South Philadelphia church.

What’s remarkable is that Mr. Kenney’s son, who’s in his mid-20s, and those who look like him, are more likely to commit violence crimes and domestic terrorist attacks, but are less likely to be stopped repeatedly by police for looking suspicious or have their face appear on the evening news for the crime report.

But why is that? Multiple reasons exist for why Whites should equally, if not at a greater rate, be scrutinized for their criminality.

For example, according to a study by the New America Foundation, White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States.

A review of “terror” attacks on U.S soil since Sept. 11, 2001 found that most of them were carried out by radical anti-government groups or white supremacists, reports Raw Story, which noted that almost twice as many people have died in attacks by right-wing groups in America than have died in attacks by Muslim extremists.

Can we prevent more Charleston shootings? Maybe… but we’ll never know unless we, as a country, actually try, and we could start by leveraging police departments to pursue real criminals and terrorists in an effort to prevent real tragedies, and not allowing them to harass poor people in an effort to prevent jaywalking, cigarettes from being sold without the government getting its slice and swimming in a perceived white-only pool." Go to: ".....

"UK's Dylann Roof found guilty

Posted by TonyH on June 25, 2015, 5:06 pm, in reply to "The Confederate Flag, a Dastardly Distraction"

Zack Davies that is, guilty of racist attack on Asian man in supermarket for being Asian. As he told police
"It was irrelevant what religion he was. It was his appearance just the way he looked. It did not matter to me what religion he was, it was his racial appearance."

Hope not Hate rep noted
"Evidence we have seen suggests he was very childish and keen to impress others who filled his head up with rubbish. Why aren't they in court, too?"
Yes, why aren't The Sun and The Mail in court too?

Which flag are we going to take down now?" All posts to MediaLens Message Board reproduced with thanks to MediaLens and it's message board members (all posts checked for spelling but no other edits).

Also see: "American "Justice" re: #Ferguson."Go to:

Quote: "What the Confederate flag debate says about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Some 150 years after the U.S. Civil War ended, northerners and southerners are still fighting for their interpretation of history. It doesn't bode well for our local battle of narratives. 

For my last spring break at Princeton, I drove down to Charleston with two other international friends from my graduate program. Realizing that more than 90 percent of my American classmates at the Woodrow Wilson School held deeply liberal views and that the remaining minority (often military officers) never seemed comfortable expressing their views fully in class, we ventured out of New Jersey to the firework depots of the Carolinas, Georgia’s gun shops and the honky-tonks of Tennessee. 

We were shocked: It felt as if we were in a different country suddenly, in some “Back to the Future” movie where someone went back and changed history, yet things look eerily similar. To most Southern Americans we met, the Civil War had not been fought over slavery, but over states’ rights. To buy a gun you had to be a citizen of South Carolina, not an American national. The Confederate flag represented a long, independent heritage, and not violence or hate.

I later approached my northern classmates with the countervailing narratives I picked up, and you can imagine how that went. “The Confederate flag is like the swastika,” one close friend barked at me. “You shouldn’t believe the lies they told you down there, the South is still incredibly racist.”

No denying we saw some terrible racism. Like one poster on the town-hall door of Wartrace, Tennessee, that declared “entry to this premises cannot be denied based on color.” Or when a real estate agent in Atlanta explained how her neighborhood used to be full of “decent folk” before the “white flight” began. To be fair, I had heard racial slurs like that in rural New Jersey and around Princeton before. But what was unique in the South was that it all somehow tied back to the Civil War, as if it were still in the living memory. “There’s racism in the North too, you know,” one barber told me Savannah. “Slavery would have been abolished peacefully sooner or later, as it was in Brazil, Mexico and Canada. But instead we lost more Americans to a Civil War than in both of the World Wars combined.”
The uncomfortable reactions I got from classmates when discussing the Civil War reminded me of another class discussion I’d had long before, as an undergraduate at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. There, a lecture about the history of the 1948 war broke into shouts after one gutsy Arab-Israeli student dismissed the professor’s narrative. He objected to the professor’s premise that Jews had “returned” to Israel, and that 1948 was their “independence war.” For the student, Jews in Israel were trespassers, and 1948 was a disastrous year in which Jews fought to expel Palestinians from their ancestral land.

To question Jewish right over Israel, or Palestinian peoplehood, is a surefire way to detonate any Israeli-Arab debate. Likewise, I’ve found that questioning the North’s right to declare war (invoking states’ rights), or refuting Southern heritage (via the flag), are hardly seen as legitimate arguments by Americans of the opposite persuasion. In all these cases, historical disputes are about much more than just facts. They are cornerstones to a deeper sense of identity and validation that neither side is willing to give up.

As an Israeli, I will never underestimate the power and persistence of historical narratives. People will live and die for their reading of history and for their sense of identity and self. But waiting for generational change to wash out the narrative divide doesn’t seem to be working in America. A century and a half has already passed, and while time marches on, polarization remains in many parts of America, including Washington.

As an outsider, it’s hard to grasp why Americans across the Mason-Dixon line can’t just “get along.” I see how painful the issue of race remains in America. I understand that America’s biggest ideological divides still correlate with Civil War allegiances. I learned about the 1877 compromise, the shameful Jim Crow laws that lasted until 1965, and how those perpetuated what was already a resounding national trauma. And yet, from the outside, there is something perplexing about both sides’ refusal to let go.
Perhaps this explains part of why the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems so obvious to many outsiders. Maybe the solution is that obvious, if a way could be found for Israelis and Palestinians to reach across the narrative divide. But if Americans, who have been living in peace and prosperity for a century, can’t do that, what does that bode for us and the Palestinians? Some people believe that “economic peace” would lead the way to reconciliation. But as the American experience demonstrates, prosperity alone won’t solve the long war over narratives.
Uri Sadot completed an MPA at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs in 2013. He is currently a Research Fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. " Go to:



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