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Qin Shi Huangdi
01-28-2014, 01:05 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/arts/music/pete-seeger-songwriter-and-champion-of-folk-music-dies-at-94.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=AR_PSS_20140128&_r=0

RIP to one of America's greatest musicians... :(

usedtobe
01-28-2014, 02:13 AM
Ramble on, my ramblin' boy,
May all your rambles bring you joy...

-Weavers

Smapti
01-28-2014, 02:38 AM
The lion sleeps tonight.

aceplace57
01-28-2014, 03:16 AM
He brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. R.I.P.

My daughters loved singing Puff the Magic Dragon when they were young.

Charlie Wayne
01-28-2014, 05:16 AM
Oh. What a shame. I always considered him to be a very evolved human.

I feel like crying.

I'm so sorry Pete. I will miss you.

It's really a shame that somehow you did not impart your wisdom and philosophy of how to live life to other people in a way that got them to behave more like you. It's just my opinion. But, the world would be such a better place if people behaved more like you. I believe you were always someone whose examle was worthy to follow and I sure do wish I had lived my life more like you lived yours.

I don't see any failure on your part. I don't know what you could have done to get people to follow your example more than they did.

bienville
01-28-2014, 05:30 AM
Pete Seeger has died. (http://www.nbcnews.com/entertainment/iconic-folk-singer-activist-pete-seeger-dead-94-2D12008162#iconic-folk-singer-activist-pete-seeger-dead-94-2D12008162)

I only got to really know his work recently when I read a book about The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Reading the book, I would bring up the clips on YouTube as I read about various performances. When I watched Pete Seeger singing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" I knew I needed to search out more of his work. Very powerful.

Here's a YouTube link to that performance that CBS refused to air. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3SysxG6yoE)

septimus
01-28-2014, 05:31 AM
Pete Seeger was one of the great singers who tried to change America (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b24Ewk934g) during my impressionable years. Well done, sir.

My daughters loved singing Puff the Magic Dragon when they were young.

Unless I'm missing something, you're conflating with Peter Yarrow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Yarrow) of P, Paul, and Mary. This other Peter sang a lot of songs written by Seeger, but Puff was his own.

Charlie Wayne
01-28-2014, 05:51 AM
It is so difficult to separate a person's talent for songwriting and the wonderful songs they wrote and sang and the beautiful thoughts contained in those songs with the essence of the person themselves.

I know a little about Pete Seeger and what I do know is that he lived his life according to the ideas and ideals that he sang about in his songs. He tried to make the world a better place for us all. He seemed to always have the time to sit down and join a group of people and sing about the best ideals that people can express in this world.

What I was fortunate enough to have seen of him and his wife Toshi always left me envious of the day I might find a woman who I could love like he loved Toshi.

He died almost exactly 6 months after Toshi died. I would guess his heart was broken when she passed away. He seemed to love her with all that he had.

WordMan
01-28-2014, 05:53 AM
Much respect - for his music and his integrity. Thank you, Pete.

johnpost
01-28-2014, 06:20 AM
one of the greatest folk singers this country has ever had.

he had a body of work that was huge both solo and with others, many who we think the stars of folk music. he co-wrote quite a few significant songs. he had a lifetime of using his music to bring a message being a lifelong activist for a better world.

he accomplished a number of lifetimes in his one.

bienville
01-28-2014, 06:27 AM
O.K., I swear I did a search before posting this Thread!
Here's the Thread that beat mine by four hours (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=714296), mods may feel free to merge the two.

(I swear, I really swear. Not only did I do a Cafe Society search for Seeger, I also read down the Cafe Society front page!)

Slithy Tove
01-28-2014, 06:53 AM
Shorpy has this photo (http://www.shorpy.com/node/5689) of him when he was just a wee folkie

Bumbershoot
01-28-2014, 06:55 AM
RIP Mr. Seeger.

And bienville, the other thread was originally posted in MPSIMS, which is probably why you didn't see it.

Telemark
01-28-2014, 06:56 AM
I saw him in concert a few times, always an amazing show. He will be missed, he was a voice unlike any other.

Marley23
01-28-2014, 07:45 AM
O.K., I swear I did a search before posting this Thread!
Here's the Thread that beat mine by four hours (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=714296), mods may feel free to merge the two.

(I swear, I really swear. Not only did I do a Cafe Society search for Seeger, I also read down the Cafe Society front page!)
Not a problem. I've merged the threads.

Leaffan
01-28-2014, 08:20 AM
Somehow our local talk radio had an interview with Pete and Arlo Guthrie together about a year ago. Very interesting conversation: more about current US politics than music.

Gagundathar
01-28-2014, 08:22 AM
R.I.P. for a great human. A genuine inspiration to those of us who were around when this country seemed about to tear itself apart. He lived a good life with a mate who was his sweetheart, and who among us wouldn't want the same?

Qin, thanks for sharing this.

JRDelirious
01-28-2014, 08:32 AM
I believe you were always someone whose examle was worthy to follow and I sure do wish I had lived my life more like you lived yours.

I don't see any failure on your part. I don't know what you could have done to get people to follow your example more than they did.

How does that final line go? "... I swear it's not too late"

eenerms
01-28-2014, 08:52 AM
When I was a young college student, he and Arlo Guthry were on the same flight from Madison, Wi to Chicago. They asked me to join them for lunch at Ohare.:) Both gentlemen.

RIP Mr. Seeger

Moe
01-28-2014, 09:01 AM
One of those wonderful human beings who could make you feel just a little bit better knowing he was in the world.

We really could use more like him.

Johnny L.A.
01-28-2014, 09:02 AM
I was just thinking about Pete Seeger the other day. I've always thought, 'Man, I can't believe he's still alive!' whenever I've thought of him. I frequently look up songs and song lyrics, and it's amazing how many were his.

septimus
01-28-2014, 09:12 AM
I've been alive 64 years, yet Pete Seeger was a famous activist singer long before I was born, and also sang very recently while marching with Occupy Wall Street. I'd never heard of the Weavers until I saw a documentary about their final reunion concert in 1980. (Lee Hays was in a wheelchair and dying, and was the star of that concert (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuAUG-AxweQ).)

BrainGlutton
01-28-2014, 09:42 AM
As a collector of albums from the Early '60s Folk Music Scare, I say R.I.P.!

Chefguy
01-28-2014, 09:59 AM
Probably the last of the great folk singers from the era of Woody Guthrie, and a name that I remember for as long as I've been aware of music. When I got into folk back in the 60s, Seeger was the first person I heard about, but by then Baez, Dylan, the Clancy Brothers and others had co-opted the genre. Still, they paid tribute to the greats. He was truly influential and is missed.

The Second Stone
01-28-2014, 10:10 AM
We shall live in peace.

JKellyMap
01-28-2014, 10:17 AM
He's been my hero since I was four years old -- no joke. I grew up not far from his Beacon, NY home, wore out his "Greatest Hits" LP by seven, and always loved his pioneering efforts in environmental awareness and American roots/world musical "educating" -- both of these things taught through fun and joy.

He was so modest: Once my mother took the Hudson Line train to NYC, and sat next to someone she thought was a homeless man. At some point (maybe it was the banjo case) she realized it was Pete.

Bridget Burke
01-28-2014, 10:29 AM
In The Mayor of Macdougal Street, Dave van Ronk reminisced about early folkie days in The Village. He was very political & recalls at which cafe you could witness the weekly fistfight between the Stalinists & the Trotskyites. Van Ronk considered himself a very different sort of Leftist than Seeger & satirized his politics mercilessly. But, in those fevered days, long before he mellowed, he also wrote this:

I think that the man is really great, in almost every sense of the word, and it saddens me to constantly find myself in the opposition camp every time he ventures an opinion. But when he sings—

Artists of Seeger’s genre are hard to come by in this day and age. He is, in my opinion, taste and honesty personified, and a Seeger concert is a lesson which no singer of folksongs can afford to miss. When he speaks on the stage, his voice rarely rises above a conversational level, and yet he is heard. There is no phony upstaging at all. As a matter of fact, “stage presence” of the Broadway variety is entirely absent. Seeger does not act; he is.

I think that this is the key to his entire greatness. The man has no need to act in order to establish contact with his audience. He genuinely respects the people who are listening to him and refuses to insult their sensibilities with insincere theatrics. And they respond, not to an actor or stage personality, but to the man. -

Van Ronk died before he finished this excellent book; his collaborator gathered his notes & published it. I last saw Seeger in a film about John Cohen--one of the New Lost City Ramblers; Pete's half-brother Mike was a Rambler & died a few years back. Now Pete's gone, too. But he had a wonderful life.

GrandWino
01-28-2014, 10:31 AM
They said on the news that he was just out chopping wood about a week ago. That's how I want to live out the end of my days if I make it that far.

RIP to one of the greats.

BrainGlutton
01-28-2014, 10:37 AM
His LW activism did get him in trouble. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_seeger#1950s_and_early_1960s)

1950s and early 1960s

In the 1950s and, indeed, consistently throughout his life, Seeger continued his support of civil and labor rights, racial equality, international understanding, and anti-militarism (all of which had characterized the Wallace campaign) and he continued to believe that songs could help people achieve these goals. With the ever-growing revelations of Joseph Stalin's atrocities and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, however, he became increasingly disillusioned with Soviet Communism. In his PBS biography, Seeger said he "drifted away" from the CPUSA beginning in 1949 but remained friends with some who did not leave it, though he argued with them about it.[66][67]

On August 18, 1955, Seeger was subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Alone among the many witnesses after the 1950 conviction and imprisonment of the Hollywood Ten for contempt of Congress, Seeger refused to plead the Fifth Amendment (which asserted that his testimony might be self incriminating) and instead (as the Hollywood Ten had done) refused to name personal and political associations on the grounds that this would violate his First Amendment rights: "I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this."[68] Seeger's refusal to testify led to a March 26, 1957, indictment for contempt of Congress; for some years, he had to keep the federal government apprised of where he was going any time he left the Southern District of New York. He was convicted in a jury trial of contempt of Congress in March 1961, and sentenced to 10 years in jail (to be served simultaneously), but in May 1962 an appeals court ruled the indictment to be flawed and overturned his conviction.[69][70]

In 1960, the San Diego school board told him that he could not play a scheduled concert at a high school unless he signed an oath pledging that the concert would not be used to promote a communist agenda or an overthrow of the government. Seeger refused, and the American Civil Liberties Union obtained an injunction against the school district, allowing the concert to go on as scheduled. In February 2009, the San Diego School District officially extended an apology to Seeger for the actions of their predecessors.[71]

aruvqan
01-28-2014, 10:56 AM
I was just thinking about Pete Seeger the other day. I've always thought, 'Man, I can't believe he's still alive!' whenever I've thought of him. I frequently look up songs and song lyrics, and it's amazing how many were his.

As a collector of albums from the Early '60s Folk Music Scare, I say R.I.P.!
I grew up listening to [Smithsonian] Folkways Records stuff and we always added 3 or 4 albums a year. I do know that my Mom used to go to the small coffee houses and bars when she went on shopping trips to NY for the music.

Looking through my music collection, I seem to have a lot of Seegar, both Guthries, Dave Van Ronk, Phil Ochs ... mrAru also shares my liking for the same recordings and we have frequently joked that we were born 20 years too late. I have a folk music playlist of around 300 songs that we consider our favorites from the early part of the 20th century - Anthology of American Folk Music (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthology_of_American_Folk_Music) being a great source and one that my family has actually worn out 2 sets of the records and are now working on the CD set :p I can really recommend a really long and involved podcast (http://www.folkways.si.edu/explore_folkways/folkways_collection.aspx) on American Folkways for more great samples of recordings, and Smithsonian Folkways (http://www.folkways.si.edu/index.aspx) for a great source of Seeger family music.

aceplace57
01-28-2014, 12:40 PM
You're right. I have always got the two mixed up. They are both great folk singers.

Another great icon from my youth gone.
Pete Seeger was one of the great singers who tried to change America (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b24Ewk934g) during my impressionable years. Well done, sir.



Unless I'm missing something, you're conflating with Peter Yarrow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Yarrow) of P, Paul, and Mary. This other Peter sang a lot of songs written by Seeger, but Puff was his own.

BrainGlutton
01-28-2014, 12:50 PM
Unless I'm missing something, you're conflating with Peter Yarrow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Yarrow) of P, Paul, and Mary. This other Peter sang a lot of songs written by Seeger, but Puff was his own.

And I once heard him, in a PP&M concert on TV, insist -- singing -- that there is absolutely no subtext or hidden meaning in that song.

CannyDan
01-28-2014, 12:55 PM
RIP Pete! Say Hi to Woody and to Lee Hays. I'll be along to see y'all eventually, although I'm in no hurry. A few more decades, if I'm lucky. In the meantime, I and the rest of us down here will just have to depend on memories. And your music. And your social contributions. And... well, everything you've meant to so many of us. I miss you already.

Wile E
01-28-2014, 01:52 PM
I grew up listening to and singing folk music in my house. He wrote a lot of my favorite songs.

Baker
01-28-2014, 02:06 PM
I read the Washington Post article about his passing, and his life. Married when he was 23, in 1943, and the marriage lasted for seventy years, with Mrs. Seeger dying just last year, in 2013.

kenobi 65
01-28-2014, 02:40 PM
This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender. (http://gulfofmexicooilspillblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/peteseeger.jpg)

A man of principles, who influenced so many.

Annie-Xmas
01-28-2014, 03:00 PM
Here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=516189) is my thread about the Clearwater Concert, a celebration of Seeger's 90th Birthday.

He was an American icon, and his influence on music is immeasurable. It is safe to say that today's music would not exist as it does without Seeger's input. He was also a fine human being, never letting fame get to him.

Godspeed wherever you are, Pete. And thank you ever so much.

Ramble on, my ramblin' boy,
May all your rambles bring you joy...

-Weavers

Actually written by Tom Paxton, another person influenced by Seeger. It's often credited as a "traditional American folk song," which Paton considers to be the highest honor a folk song can achieve.

Annie-Xmas
01-28-2014, 03:29 PM
Our local newspaper has a good look at Seeger (http://www.northjersey.com/photos/Photos_Iconic_folk.html?photo=1&c=y) through the years.

JKellyMap
01-28-2014, 06:32 PM
Our local newspaper has a good look at Seeger (http://www.northjersey.com/photos/Photos_Iconic_folk.html?photo=1&c=y) through the years.

Thanks for this.

cjepson
01-28-2014, 07:05 PM
Other posters have already expressed a lot of my feelings... I'm not a person who has a lot of heroes, but Pete Seeger has been one of them for a long time. Just knowing about his life makes me feel a little better about the human race. I'm sad he's gone, but not in the way I feel sad about some others, because he had such a long and full life... what else could one ask for?

I saw him (along with his grandson and a couple of other folk musicians) in concert about four years ago. As he was 90, I wasn't expecting him to do much more than smile and wave, but he sang (in the same quavery voice he'd had for about 30 years), played, and told stories like a spry 60-something. When he walked out on stage with his banjo, rail-thin in his blue jeans like always, beaming, I immediately got choked up and kind of stayed that way for the whole show.

I know he wasn't perfect, and right-wingers have always had their criticisms, often heated. But there's one thing for sure... over the course of his life, he probably got more people to sing along with him than anybody else in the history of the human race.

Hari Seldon
01-28-2014, 08:50 PM
It pains me to write this because I always admired Pete Seeger, but I have been carrying this for nearly 21 years and I have to get it off my chest. It is the only flaw I am aware of in his otherwise utterly admirable character. He stood up to HUAC, to the FBI, etc., but he could not stand up to black antisemitism.

This happened on Feb. 25, 1993 (the night before the WTC bombing so I could look up the exact date). When my daughter moved to NY in 1989, she joined a group called The Streetsingers, which had been founded by and loosely guided by Pete Seeger. February is Black History month and The Streetsingers were invited by a HS in Brooklyn (I don't know the name) to participate in an evening dedicated to that. My wife and I were in NY visiting our daughter and she invited us to come along. She said that Seeger would be there too. On the way, we bought a couple of subs for our dinner and figured we could find a nice quiet corner to eat them, since we were getting there an hour before the show started. Someone suggested we go to the teacher's lounge to eat them which we did. A couple teachers were there and vented over being excluded from the evening's events because they were Jewish and the blacks didn't want them. This was the era when Al Sharpton was a political power in the black community in NY. Well Seeger didn't organize the event and this could not be blamed on him.

What followed can, however. Before the singing (which was in fact the main event of the evening), Seeger stood up and gave a little speech in which he celebrated "all" the ethnic groups that constituted NY: the blacks of course, the Dutch, the Germans, the English, the Irish, and the Hispanics. Not one word about the ethnic group that constituted a quarter of the population of NY, not one.

I wouldn't be posting this if it was my dentists cousin's wife who reported this, by I was there and witnessed it.

rowrrbazzle
01-29-2014, 01:23 AM
In May 1941, the Almanac Singers (which included Seeger) released Songs for John Doe (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_for_John_Doe), an album opposing the US's possible entry into WWII. A song from the album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o41PIaFOjx8

After the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, apparently opposing fascism had been put on the back burner.

Unfortunately, in July Hitler invaded Mother Russia. The CPUSA did a 180, and now the war was okay. The album was withdrawn, and the company asked people who bought the album to turn it in! In 1942 the Almanac Singers released Dear Mr. President (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dear_Mr._President_%28album%29), an album supporting the US's part in the war.

So Seeger was against war (WWII) before he was for it (WWII) before he was against it (Vietnam).

He inscribed on his banjo head, "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender". Except for Nazis and the USSR and, as Hari Seldon now reveals, anti-Semites.

Rhythmdvl
01-29-2014, 11:17 AM
This hurts. Such a loss. We lost Toshi (his wife) just this July.

Has anyone else been to the Clearwater Festival? We just got our tickets for this year, and both his and her presence will be sorely missed.


:sad:

Shodan
01-29-2014, 11:32 AM
In May 1941, the Almanac Singers (which included Seeger) released Songs for John Doe (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_for_John_Doe), an album opposing the US's possible entry into WWII. A song from the album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o41PIaFOjx8

After the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, apparently opposing fascism had been put on the back burner.

Unfortunately, in July Hitler invaded Mother Russia. The CPUSA did a 180, and now the war was okay. The album was withdrawn, and the company asked people who bought the album to turn it in! In 1942 the Almanac Singers released Dear Mr. President (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dear_Mr._President_%28album%29), an album supporting the US's part in the war.

So Seeger was against war (WWII) before he was for it (WWII) before he was against it (Vietnam).

He inscribed on his banjo head, "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender". Except for Nazis and the USSR and, as Hari Seldon now reveals, anti-Semites.He was a Communist back in the days when the American Communists took their marching orders from the Kremlin.

To his credit, he did manage to repudiate his support of Stalin, albeit decades after the monster in question was dead.

Regards,
Shodan

What Exit?
01-30-2014, 06:01 AM
I am very sad at the passing of Pete Seeger. I am a member of the environmental organization he founded and has nursed along for 50 years, Clearwater (http://www.clearwater.org/). I was lucky enough to meet him a few times including a sloop club meeting on board the Wavertree at South Street Sea Port in NYC. He had a lot of gravitas in person and it was impossible to dislike him. His concern for the environment and people came through in all he did and said.

I have mostly been an active member in one of the Clearwater Sloop clubs but he had provided the guiding principles for all we do. Working through Festivals and music and education to teach about environmental concerns. Running boat programs to teach an appreciations for our waters and especially our rivers.

We are currently building a new boat and will almost surely be naming it in honor of Pete. This legend was a good man, a great leader and managed to make a real impact in dozens of ways in his long an productive life. He will be sorely be missed.

The NJ Clearwater Festival (http://www.mcclearwater.org/festival.php)will be dedicated to Pete Seeger this year. I am fairly sure the much larger Hudson River Clearwater Revival (http://www.clearwaterfestival.org/) will also be dedicated to him.

Annie-Xmas
01-30-2014, 03:31 PM
Time magazine article: Arlo Guthrie remembers Pete Seeger (http://entertainment.time.com/2014/01/30/pete-seeger-arlo-guthrie/?iid=ent-main-lead)

Charlie Wayne
01-31-2014, 10:56 PM
The one point that he made to counter people who attacked him for being a Communist and therefore a bad American was that a good American is one who uses the laws of the country to try and change the laws in a peaceful way.

He certainly did that and he was a great activist for doing that.

IMHO, Pete Seeger was a truly great American and a great person as well.

RIP Pete!

outlierrn
02-02-2014, 07:33 AM
May the circle be unbroken.

Esox Lucius
02-02-2014, 12:20 PM
To show how much I knew about Pete Seeger and folk music, I thought he was the Peter in Peter, Paul and Mary. But after watching a PBS doc on him the other night, I came away with a new appreciation for the lyrical poetry of his songwriting as well as his life and the way he lived it. Especially the way he stood up to the HUAC, not by invoking the Fifth Amendment but the First. Even in interviews, he refused to answer questions about his affiliation because he had a right to keep it private and not be discriminated for it.

And if ever a statue of Pete Seeger is erected, it should include his wife. They were an inseparable team. I wish now I had paid more attention to them when they were alive.

Esox Lucius
02-02-2014, 12:26 PM
He was a Communist back in the days when the American Communists took their marching orders from the Kremlin.

To his credit, he did manage to repudiate his support of Stalin, albeit decades after the monster in question was dead.

Right. Pete Seeger, who stood up for the First Amendment as much as anyone, took his marching orders from the Kremlin. Good one.:D

Merneith
02-02-2014, 12:52 PM
I'll miss him.

AuntPam
02-02-2014, 05:49 PM
So though it's darkest before the dawn
These thoughts keep us moving on--
Through all this world of joy and sorrow
We still can have singing tomorrow;
Through all this world of joy and sorrow
We still can have singing tomorrow.

From Pete Seeger's "Quite Early Morning"

As I sat at a great concert by Daniel Boling last night, he asked us all to sing this along with him. And all over the room, people raised their human voices, old and young, clear and cracked, sweet and salty. And we sang together. A great song about hope. What Pete left us.

septimus
02-03-2014, 01:00 AM
I keep clicking at YouTube. Here's Pete singing Guantanamera with his grandson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EJ1kZ0yBzg). He was almost my age when he learned that song, and then sang it in more countries than I've visited in total. At the same concert, Arlo Guthrie joins them to sing his father's most famous song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSIy0wq_-8A&list=RD1EJ1kZ0yBzg). Pete Seeger was a beautiful singer and a beautiful American.

Right. Pete Seeger, who stood up for the First Amendment as much as anyone, took his marching orders from the Kremlin. Good one.:D

Forget it, Jake; it's Redamerica-town. When Hillary's 94 they'll only want to talk about Benghazi.

puddleglum
02-03-2014, 10:05 AM
Right. Pete Seeger, who stood up for the First Amendment as much as anyone, took his marching orders from the Kremlin. Good one.:D
You should not let your admiration of his music blind you to history. Seeger was a member of the Communist party during the late 1930s to the late 1940s at least. During that time the Kremlin gave orders to the Communist party and good communists followed. Seeger was in a band that recorded anti-war songs after the pact between the USSR and Germany. That album accused FDR of wanting to kill people for the capitalists. As soon as the USSR was invaded they recalled that album and made a pro-war album.
He made great songs and tried to turn America into a communist hell hole. He failed in his politics so we can reject the horrible poltics and embrace the beautiful music.

ElvisL1ves
02-03-2014, 10:17 AM
Isolationism before Pearl Harbor and flag-waving militarism after it were pretty much the default positions for Americans. It's interesting to hear that Uncle Joe ordered it that way, and the orders were carried out so effectively by a few folksingers.

Esox Lucius
02-03-2014, 08:49 PM
You should not let your admiration of his music blind you to history. Seeger was a member of the Communist party during the late 1930s to the late 1940s at least. During that time the Kremlin gave orders to the Communist party and good communists followed. Seeger was in a band that recorded anti-war songs after the pact between the USSR and Germany. That album accused FDR of wanting to kill people for the capitalists. As soon as the USSR was invaded they recalled that album and made a pro-war album.
He made great songs and tried to turn America into a communist hell hole. He failed in his politics so we can reject the horrible poltics and embrace the beautiful music.

Communist hell hole? Psst, the Cold War is over.;) (Sorry, but anti-communist rhetoric like that sounds so 1950s.)

I think your modern view of communism has blinded you to Seeger's motivation in the Thirties when capitalism had failed a large swath of that generation, and the Soviet Union wasn't yet the Evil Empire it was to become. Here's Seeger describing how he got into the movement (from Pete Seeger: A Life In Song (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/pete-seeger/full-film-pete-seeger-the-power-of-song/2864/) that aired on PBS last week):

"I got involved in the American Student Union which was a temporary coalition between pacifists and socialists and communists. And we were arguing what to do about Hitler. Some said, 'Don't have anything to do with war, just be a complete pacifist.' The communists said the whole world should quarantine the aggressor, and I thought they were right. I ended up joining the Young Communist League...

"A couple years later, just before World War II, I actually became a card-carrying member. I was against race discrimination, the communists were against race discrimination. I was in favour of unions, the communists were in favour of unions."

Doesn't sound so bad, does it. Punish Hitler, stand up against racial discrimination, support unions in a time of widespread poverty caused by the gross excesses of capitalism. That's why Seeger joined. His idealism probably blinded him to some of the later realities of the Soviet Union (which he later admitted), but propagandistic criticism for being an Evil Commie(TM) is unfair.

ElvisL1ves
02-04-2014, 09:55 AM
Peter Yarrow tells (http://gregmitchellwriter.blogspot.com/2014/01/petes-final-night.html) how many of Pete's friends and family were gathered at his bedside to sing him through.

It happened the way it should have.

puddleglum
02-05-2014, 11:49 AM
Communist hell hole? Psst, the Cold War is over.;) (Sorry, but anti-communist rhetoric like that sounds so 1950s.)

I think your modern view of communism has blinded you to Seeger's motivation in the Thirties when capitalism had failed a large swath of that generation, and the Soviet Union wasn't yet the Evil Empire it was to become. Here's Seeger describing how he got into the movement (from Pete Seeger: A Life In Song (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/pete-seeger/full-film-pete-seeger-the-power-of-song/2864/) that aired on PBS last week):

"I got involved in the American Student Union which was a temporary coalition between pacifists and socialists and communists. And we were arguing what to do about Hitler. Some said, 'Don't have anything to do with war, just be a complete pacifist.' The communists said the whole world should quarantine the aggressor, and I thought they were right. I ended up joining the Young Communist League...

"A couple years later, just before World War II, I actually became a card-carrying member. I was against race discrimination, the communists were against race discrimination. I was in favour of unions, the communists were in favour of unions."

Doesn't sound so bad, does it. Punish Hitler, stand up against racial discrimination, support unions in a time of widespread poverty caused by the gross excesses of capitalism. That's why Seeger joined. His idealism probably blinded him to some of the later realities of the Soviet Union (which he later admitted), but propagandistic criticism for being an Evil Commie(TM) is unfair.
Joining the communists because they were against racial discrimination is like joining the KKK because you are against rape.
By the time he joined the party the USSR had commited the terror famine in the Ukraine which killed 3 times the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. That was right during the time of the show trials in Moscow. Even though the worst was yet to come, communism was already guilty of killing people by the tens of millions. This was not just a youthful flirtation, even though he left the party after fifteen years of so, he remained a self described communist all his life. Even after the full horror of the gulags had been revealed, even after the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and even after the Killing Fields. Idealism is no excuse for aligning with the most bloody movement in the history of mankind.

PastTense
02-05-2014, 06:09 PM
Here's something about "Get up and go"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J0Q5SMTEM0

Esox Lucius
02-06-2014, 11:51 AM
Ha! That was a great way to start off my day.:)

Leaffan
02-06-2014, 11:57 AM
Here's something about "Get up and go"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J0Q5SMTEM0
The Rutles, I assume? (I'm blocked at work.)

Esox Lucius
02-06-2014, 12:21 PM
Joining the communists because they were against racial discrimination is like joining the KKK because you are against rape.
By the time he joined the party the USSR had commited the terror famine in the Ukraine which killed 3 times the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. That was right during the time of the show trials in Moscow. Even though the worst was yet to come, communism was already guilty of killing people by the tens of millions. This was not just a youthful flirtation, even though he left the party after fifteen years of so, he remained a self described communist all his life. Even after the full horror of the gulags had been revealed, even after the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and even after the Killing Fields. Idealism is no excuse for aligning with the most bloody movement in the history of mankind.

You're still conflating the ideology of communism with the worst abuses that some political leaders carried out in its name. Stalin and Pol Pot weren't made bloodthirsty psychopaths by communism any more than they were by atheism, unless you believe the propaganda of the Cold War. It should be plainly obvious that they didn't give a shit about human equality of any kind. This is what Seeger has said about being a "self-described communist all his life":


"I still call myself a communist because communism is no more what Russia made of it than Christianity is what the churches make of it."

“I’m still a communist in the sense that I don’t believe the world will survive with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.”


Sixty years ago, he made the mistake of thinking that just because a country had the label "communist" that it embodied the ideals that he held, but he learned his lesson. You'd do well to follow his example and learn the same lesson about labels.

Esox Lucius
02-06-2014, 12:36 PM
The Rutles, I assume? (I'm blocked at work.)

It's Seeger in a more light-hearted vein. You should watch it when you get home.

Leaffan
02-06-2014, 12:39 PM
It's Seeger in a more light-hearted vein. You should watch it when you get home.
Thanks.

puddleglum
02-06-2014, 02:47 PM
You're still conflating the ideology of communism with the worst abuses that some political leaders carried out in its name. Stalin and Pol Pot weren't made bloodthirsty psychopaths by communism any more than they were by atheism, unless you believe the propaganda of the Cold War. It should be plainly obvious that they didn't give a shit about human equality of any kind. This is what Seeger has said about being a "self-described communist all his life":


"I still call myself a communist because communism is no more what Russia made of it than Christianity is what the churches make of it."

“I’m still a communist in the sense that I don’t believe the world will survive with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.”


Sixty years ago, he made the mistake of thinking that just because a country had the label "communist" that it embodied the ideals that he held, but he learned his lesson. You'd do well to follow his example and learn the same lesson about labels.
Stalin, Pol Pot, Lenin, Mao, Castro, Mengistu, it must be just coincidence that bloodthirsty psychopaths just happen to become leaders of communists countries. If there were a couple of counter-examples where countries became better off after communism, it would be one thing. However, everytime a country becomes communist poverty and genocide follow. That is because of a defect in communism, not bad luck in leadership. Lots of people of that era were attracted to the siren song of communism. Those with intelligence and a modicum of human decency left. To still call yourself a communist after communism killed 100 million people in under a century if morally indefensible.
If he was so concerned about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer he should have done a better job getting royalties to the guy who actually wrote "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".

Esox Lucius
02-07-2014, 02:08 PM
It's a pity that Seeger didn't have the foresight to have your hindsight.

And that's all I'm going to say about it in this thread.

Ulf the Unwashed
02-07-2014, 09:25 PM
You certainly seem to know a great deal about him, puddleglum--more than I would guess most people, fans or otherwise, would know. Did you do the research yourself just now, have you been saving up his controversial statements for some time now, or are you on a mailing list of some kind? I am actually quite curious.

(I'm not a particular fan of Seeger's, but I don't dislike him either.)

Bridget Burke
02-08-2014, 03:13 AM
I quoted Dave Van Ronk's appreciative essay on Seeger some posts ago. More from The Mayor of Bleeker Street on his experiences as a young Leftist:

...within a few weeks was signed up as a full-fledged member of the Libertarian League. (In those prelapsarian days, the word “libertarian” was still in the hands of its rightful owners: anarchists, syndicalists, council communists, and suchlike. The mean-spirited, reactionary assholes who are currently dragging it through the mud were not even a blot on the horizon. We should have taken out a copyright.) The league was a loose-knit anarchist group run by an elected steering committee. Discipline was voluntary—hell, everything was voluntary. It was almost purely a propaganda operation, mainly concentrating on running the forum and publishing an eight-page newsletter, Views and Comments. Unlike the Marxists, who expected “History” to descend like a deus ex machina and pull their chestnuts out of the fire, the anarchists knew how long the odds were, and they went about their business with a kind of go-to-hell, cheerful, existential despair.

Later,
.....I continued to devote myself to other literary ventures, acting as editor of a slim, mimeographed folio titled The Bosses’ Songbook: Songs to Stifle the Flames of Discontent. The genesis of The Bosses’ Songbook began with Roy Berkeley, who had written a series of parodies of old folk chestnuts in the Almanac-People’s Artists style, but turned around to make them the targets. His masterpiece was “The Ballad of Pete Seeger,” a viciously funny reworking of “The Wreck of the Old 97” that began “They gave him his orders at Party head-quarters, / Saying, ‘Pete, you’re way behind the times. / This is not ’38, it is 1957, / There’s a change in that old Party Line.’”

So, Dave Van Ronk knew all about Seeger's political failings--although he was not critiquing from the blacklisting Commie-baiting side. But he truly loved him & considered him a great man. Life is complicated & Van Ronk was there. Really, anybody interested in the era needs to read his book..

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