Tuesday, January 28, 2014

You got shackles on your feet? This man has the answer.

Yesterday a great Teacher died. Start the above video playing, and pay attention when it gets to about minute seven.

We had the good fortune to see Pete Seeger in person here in Columbus, Ohio, test city of America. His opening act was a girl group whose name I've forgotten, but I'll never forget them singing a feminist treaty titled, "Show Us Your [obscene slang for penises]." The governor, whose name was Dick, though "dick" was not the word, was there, and you could see him in his box laughing his ass off.

Gosh, that was a long time ago. Around then my brother bragged about how he'd been to a nude beach somewhere exotic. This turned out to be where men and women alike wore bikini bottoms, or Speedos, I suppose, and nobody wore a bikini top. Huh. For one thing, that's not what "nude" means.  More correct to call it a breast-display beach.  For another thing, it didn't seem fair. If women are going to show off their sexual characteristics (as defined by this ridiculous society), you'd think men would, too. My family didn't understand me, but Pete Seeger would have.

I first heard folk music when I was 18 and pregnant. I'd iron my husband's uniform in the basement, playing The Kingston Trio over and over. So, second-hand folk music, better than nothing. Much later I developed a desire to do something I never was fit to do, play folk guitar. And sing. . . . Listen to Pete here~

". . . I fell asleep. When I woke up I had shackles on my feet. That's everybody's history."

By God, that's Zen. Like the man said, these old songs will never die. They are our condition.

At that concert, Pete ended with Guantonamero. He came forward on the stage in this rather intimate hall, just him and his banjo, and we all sang and swayed. Years later I ended a church service with that song.  Everybody uplifted, swaying.  Almost everyone.  Later somebody told me there were too many verses. That's public life for you.

Listen to this one.  In one place he translates, "For the evil one, I do not cultivate thistles.  I cultivate the white rose."  If it sounds like the Dalai Lama, it is.

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