Friday, August 30, 2013

Free Legal High (They haven't outlawed music yet)

I know that many poor souls have to work on this nice Friday before the Labor Day Weekend.  Some can't even leave early for the last drinking-eating-fun weekend of summer here in the United States.  That's not my thing - I don't work anymore, and my idea of fun is watering my hanging basket.  The wave Petunias have been wonderfully sturdy.  But I sympathize.  I get tired and depressed, too, and have to spend time on lots of things I didn't sign up for.

So this morning I consoled myself with this iconic* comic monologue-song.  Here you are, 18 minutes of pure pick-me-up laughing and dancing in your chair.  I was tempted to join the standing ovation at the end.

Those who were not alive and kicking up a fuss in 1967 can read all about this recording on Wikipedia.  Here is  something of a plot spoiler - this song was an incitement to subversion, an instruction on how to beat the draft nonviolently.

Remember 1967?  I do.  Littering was an issue, as it is in this song.  Arlo Guthrie, activist son of Woodie Guthrie, was so famous he would be an act at the Ohio State Fair years later.  (Yes, I saw him.) I was a 25-year-old housewife gone back to finish college now that my daughter was in school full-time.  All around me in the classrooms were weedy, pathetic boys who should have been going into a trade, but were desperately hoping not to fight in Vietnam.  They weren't conscientious objectors; it was pure selfish fear of dying, something veterans of earlier wars would never have owned up to.

Wars.  Some things never change.

But some things do.  Today we have young women that age joining the military of their own free will, fighting sexual harassment at West Point, wanting to be in combat.  I didn't envision this in those feminist anti-establishment days.  But I've come to believe that we have to be prepared to defend ourselves in a broken world, even as we practice nonviolence and pray for peace.
The Dalai Lama blessing his armed guards
Photo by Alison Wright, from an interesting interview in the New York Times Lens about her experiences photographing Tibetan nomads.
*I know, I said I'd never use that word.


  1. Afraid of changes…Landslide song

    1. Thanks - yes, that certainly goes to a key Buddhist insight - things change. And eventually one slips on the landslide and goes down.