September 3, 2007

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, BUT JESUS, IS THIS LATE:

I said that Mr. Seeger had supported Stalin’s tyranny for so many years yet had never written a song about the Gulag. Yet some acknowledgment of his former support would have been appropriate, especially considering the songs he has sung about the Nazi death camps, which he often introduces by saying, “We must never forget.” . . .

I almost fell off the chair when I read Mr. Seeger’s words: “I think you’re right – I should have asked to see the gulags when I was in [the] USSR.” . . . More importantly, Mr. Seeger attached the words and music for a song he had written, “thinking what Woody [Guthrie] might have written had he been around” to see the death of his old Communist dream. Called “The Big Joe Blues,” it’s a yodeling Jimmie Rodgers-type song, he said. It not only makes the point that Joe Stalin was far more dangerous a threat than Joe McCarthy – a man Mr. Seeger and the old left view as the quintessential American demagogue – but emphasizes the horrors that Stalin brought.

Coulda shoulda woulda. But it’s something, I guess, and more than a lot of Seeger’s comrades have ever done.

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