This Land Is Our Land: Goodbye Pete Seeger, 1919-2014
Pete Seeger died last night in New York at the age of 94. Let's take a few minutes for some songs and a good cry, and one more look at this beautiful portrait by Michael D’Antuono. Musically, there aren't any bad places to start, so let's begin with "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy," the song that CBS censored out of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967 -- The network eventually relented and let him play it in 1968, and here it is, still able to make us angry at the big fool who says we have to push on.
Seeger later wrote of "Big Muddy,"
Did the song do any good? No one can prove a damned thing. It took tens of millions of people speaking out, before the Vietnam War was over. A defeat for the Pentagon, but a victory for the American people.
Of course, a song is not a speech, you know. It reflects new meanings as one's life's experiences shine new light upon it. (This song does not mention Vietnam or President Johnson by name.) Often a song will reappear several different times in history or in one's life as there seems to be an appropriate time for it. Who knows.
And by the end of March 1968, the big fool Lyndon Johnson had decided that he would not push on any further, and announced that he wouldn't seek reelection. It wasn't the song that did it, but the song was certainly part of the current flowing against Johnson's Vietnam policy. (We can of course thank Nixon for the following 5 years of American involvement.)
We'll be posting several brief "moments of Pete" during the day -- if you have a memory or a song you want to share, drop a note to doktorzoom at wonkette dot com.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.