Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Mea Culpa… Of Sorts-Down With The Trump Government!- Build The Resistance

A Mea Culpa… Of Sorts-Down With The Trump Government!- Build The Resistance      





A while back, last year, during the American presidential election campaign of 2016 at a point where the two major contenders, now President Donald Trump and now failed contender Hillary Clinton had been nominated by their respective organizations, I was under constant and hard-core pressure from personal friends and political associates to let up on my opposition of support to the candidate of either of the major parties. I had planned, and had made my stance clear early on to one and all, that I planned to cast a protest vote for Green Party candidate once socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign went down in disgraceful flames (disgraceful because of the horrible way he was treated by the Democratic Party establishment which went out of its way, way out of its way, to favor weak-kneed leading candidate Clinton). On November 8th I did just that here in Massachusetts whose Electoral College votes were overwhelming won by Mrs. Clinton. 

The gist of my opposition to the two major party candidates was that I could discern no qualitative difference between war-hawk Clinton and war-hawk Trump, the issues around war and peace being the central reason that I have steadfastly opposed both major parties since my military service during the Vietnam War. A war whose long duration like the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were started by one party’s president (Johnson in the case of Vietnam and avidly pursued by another before the fall of Saigon, Nixon/Ford). While I was not, and have not been, agnostic on my differences on other social and personal liberty issues that war and peace issue has always anchored my politic perspectives since the old days. And those personal friends and political associates have known that as well. Yet as the general election campaign progressed, if that is the right word for the down and dirty slug-fest between both candidates which nobody could rightly accept as reasonable political discourse, they continued their drumbeat. Something in that hard sell twisted me to become more adamant in my opposition-in my seeing that there was as the late great American novelist Gore Vidal no stranger to mainstream politics only “one ruling party in America with two branches-Democratic and Republican.”

I wrote a number of blogs and other commentaries as a result all along this line which not only included my opposition to the two parties but my fervent desire to get on with the real business of people with my brand of politics-organize against the endless wars and home and abroad. Here is a sample of my thinking at the time:

“Now several years ago, maybe late 2007, early 2008 when one Barack Obama made his presence felt on the American national political stage and sought to slay the dragon, to slay what we would come to find out was the dragon lady but who just then was in the first blush of her endless drive to win the Oval Office I noted that the Hillary-Obama race for the Democratic Party nomination looked like a breath of fresh air and although I would not have voted for either for love nor money I decided to try to chronicle the beginning storms of the campaign that year. (In the interest of full disclosure I voted for Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party that year a natural choice as a black and woman with a political past which she need not be ashamed of and who had at least a passing acquaintance with the truth-a big plus that year after all the bullshit was cleared away)   

“Early on though somewhere around the aftermath of the New Hampshire primary (which Hillary had won late by a hair and kept her campaign alive) in 2008 I gave up the enterprise as so much blather and as so much hot air and realized that the “promise” of 2007 had turned to ashes as neither candidate could give the approximate location of the truth in a time when all hell was breaking loose in the economy and working people, the working poor were being beaten down mercilessly by what would be called the Great Recession of 2008. And as we witness in 2016 working people, hard-working working people of all ethnic, racial and gender identifications have been taking it on the chin lo these many years. Taken it on the chin so they have in some cases fervently listened as one Dump the Trump (sorry I could not resist that slam, not the worst thing that will ever happen to that ill-bred bastard) lulls them to sleep with his balderdash, with his contempt for those who have so fervently supported him despite any good sense. We will find no truth coming from anywhere in that precinct. Worse this year milady Hillary has lost all her slight girlish charms from 2008 and is frothing at the mouth in anticipation of next week’s coronation as war-monger-in-chief.      

“Here is the hard truth, the truth neither billionaire Donald nor Wall Street Hillary have a clue about. For working people, for the hard-working people of this country who have been put up against the wall and blindfolded for a while now there is no salvation this side of capitalism, this side of that  defunct system that has had its day and had long ago lost any progressive content that it had in its golden age. “Speak the truth no matter how bitter” and that is the bitter truth as we will, once again learn over the next dreary four years. Yeah, Leon Trotsky, one of his books the place where I first read the truth of that “bitter” phrase, would have said it himself if he was not beyond the pale. You heard it here-think about it okay.”    

I was almost as surprised as everybody else come the morning of November 9th to find one Donald “Dump The Trump” (no apology for that now) had been an upset winner of the 2016 American election. Although maybe not as surprised as most as I kept hearing a small drumbeat from working class guys and gals too whom I would meet in my work, or somebody would tell me about that there something underground in the political world, something down at the base was happening for Trump. Hell I even heard stuff when I played golf with guys on public golf courses (not Donald’s private ones) in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire that Trump was their guy for jobs, for keeping black and Latinos down, keeping the fucking immigrants out and making America an armed fortress. 

Then as the transition began its awful cycle on the turnover Trump daily almost shocked me, and everybody else like me, with his choices for who would aid him in his government. This is where the “mea culpa” of the title of this piece comes in. I now am ready to concede that there is some qualitative difference between a Trump government and what Hillary’s would have looked like- if only because she would leave us alone. I still stand by my vote of “no confidence” and am still glad, very glad, that I cast my protest vote for Jill Stein but we are in a mess for the next four years no question. Practically speaking though I was down in Washington on January 20th to express my opposition, no, my resistance to the Trump government on day one.


Down with the Trump government!-Build The Resistance   

As The 2018 Elections Raise There Under Heads- From "The Nation"-On The U.S. Constitutional Convention Process-Article V

As The 2018 Elections Raise There Under Heads- From "The Nation"-On The U.S. Constitutional Convention Process-Article V   










As We Enter The 100th Anniversary Of The Last Year Of World War I- Francis Tolliver’s “Christmas In The Trenches”-A Comment

As We Enter The 100th Anniversary Of The Last Year Of World War I- Francis Tolliver’s “Christmas In The Trenches”-A Comment



My name is Francis Tolliver. I come from Liverpool
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school
To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here
I fought for King and country I love dear
It was Christmas in the trenches where the frost so bitter hung
The frozen field of France were still, no Christmas song was sung
Our families back in England were toasting us that day
Their brave and glorious lads so far away
I was lyin' with my mess-mates on the cold and rocky ground
When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound
Says I "Now listen up me boys", each soldier strained to hear
As one young German voice sang out so clear
"He's singin' bloddy well you know", my partner says to me
Soon one by one each German voice joined in in harmony
The cannons rested silent. The gas cloud rolled no more
As Christmas brought us respite from the war
As soon as they were finished a reverent pause was spent
'God rest ye merry, gentlemen' struck up some lads from Kent
The next they sang was 'Stille Nacht". "Tis 'Silent Night'" says I
And in two toungues one song filled up that sky
"There's someone commin' towards us" the front-line sentry cried
All sights were fixed on one lone figure trudging from their side
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shone on that plain so bright
As he bravely strode, unarmed, into the night
Then one by one on either side walked into no-mans-land
With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand
We shared some secret brandy and wished each other well
And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell
We traded chocolates, cigarettes and photgraphs from home
These sons and fathers far away from families of their own
Young Sanders played his squeeze box and they had a violin
This curious and unlikely band of men
Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
With sad farewells we each began to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wonderous night
"whose family have I fixed within my sights?"
It was Christmas in the trenches where the frost so bitter hung
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung
For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
Had been crumbled and were gone for ever more
My name is Francis Tolliver. In Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War One I've learned it's lessons well
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we're the same

-- John McCutcheon "Christmas in the trenches


By Alex Radley
  
Jim Anderson’s great-grandfather whom Jim just barely knew before he passed away was very proud of his military service in World War I with what he always called Pershing’s American Expeditionary Force. And for a long time, certainly as long as he lived Jim was on his knee proud too. Jim’s grandfather in his turn was proud, quietly proud not speaking much about his experiences in the Pacific war part of World War II as was common among that generation according to Jim’s father who told him very little when he questioned his father about the medals that were tucked in a family chest covered in a heavy clothe jacket. Jim’s father in his turn, also quiet about the specific of his service in Vietnam, would say that overall whatever the “damn,” his word when he mentioned that war, purpose of fighting that war was which still eluded him that he was proud of his service. But Jim remembered distinctly nights when he would hear his father being consoled by his mother when he woke up screaming with what must have been nightmares although like Jim said not much was spoken about the matter. And Jim for a long time, having no reason to doubt it, held all of this family pride in his person. As much as a person who did not serve could. Then his generation’s war, the Iraq war of 2003 came and although Jim had no inclination to join up to fight what his grandfather called “the heathens” he did have to think, or better rethink some stuff about war, and guts and glory, and about the horrible waste.              

All of this was aided by his then girlfriend, Susan, whom he called Susan of the Flowers since she had that retro-something out of the 1960s hippie look, and who was now his wife who was fervently against the Iraq war build-up and dragged him  along with her when they were students at Michigan. Peace, really pacifism, came easily to Susan since she had been brought up a Friend, a Quaker, although she was “lapsed” if you can be in such a society unlike Jim’s own Catholicism where he would make people laugh (not his parents though) by saying being lapsed was almost a sign of grace. Jim remembered the first time that she gave him a copy of Christmas in the Trenches he was shocked, great-grandfather- derived shocked that enemy soldiers, close quarter combatants  would call their own short haul “truce” in that World War I that he had been so proud of. That got Jim looking into the matter more closely especially when after all the protesting they had done (along with millions of others throughout the world) in the build-up to the Iraq War Bush II went ahead and blew the place apart for what turned out to be no reason at all. “Fake information” in today’s fevered newsprint world.        

World War I was an important watershed in the history of war because with the strategy of trench warfare on the ground killing would be done for the first time on an industrial scale (although for its day, especially at Cold Harbor, the American Civil War would give a gruesome preview of what was to come when things got out of hand. What had started out as something of a “jolly little show” quickly over by Christmas 1914 assumed by all sides including organizations like the international social democracy which had clamored for a decade or more before the guns started firing but who bowed to the nationalist fervor of their respective countries when the first shots rang out. And so Christmas in the trenches, several Christmases as it turned out. So that little soldierly truce story which  Susan would keep bringing to his attention each year when he needed an example of a small break from the madness down at the base, down where the guys fought the “damn” thing (this “damn” Jim’s).

After having completely failed to stop the Iraq war in 2003 Jim started what has now become a long if sporadic investigation of what could have made a difference, what could have stopped the madness in its tracks and that would always bring him back to those soldiers down at the base, down there in the killing fields of France. Not at the base of the Iraq war since there was very little dissension at the time in the ranks of the all-volunteer army and National Guard units sent to do the dirty work, the “walk-over.” Not the small action of the truce in in Christmas in the trenches but a little later, toward 1917 when all hell broke loose in Russia. A Russia whose armies were melting away on the Eastern Front. Melting away, and who knows to what extent before the February Revolution exposed the house of cards, with agitation from the Bolsheviks who Jim had believed in good family anti-communist from believed were the source of all evil in the world to hear his grandfather speak on the subject.   





Ideology aside, as hard as that is to dismiss in this kind of situation, the Bolsheviks had a hard and fast policy that their youth essentially would not volunteer to go in the Czar’s peasant-build Army but if drafted (dragooned really) they were to go and see what they could do in their units when and if a chance came up to break the stalemate. This was a very different policy from the individual acts of resistance, refusal to be drafted, that were epidemic during his father’s war which included many friends of Susan’s parents who were not Quakers but didn’t want to fight in an immoral war. Jim very carefully approached his father about what he thought of those draft resisters. His answer startled Jim when he said for a long time he held a very big grudge against the draft dodgers he called them but more recently he believed that they may have been right after all. Told Jim a story about a couple of guys in his unit in Pleiku who wanted the unit to refuse to go out on some half-baked mission. They quickly wound up in Long Binh Jail, LBJ, as it was called and the unit went out anyway and sustained heavy loses, got him wounded the first time. His father didn’t know what happened to those guys except he hoped they survived but even with them he said they probably were right. Maybe if a couple more guys had stuck with them something could have happened. Yes, Jim thought when he was thinking about it later, but that was music for some future. For now we have that little dust-up one Francis Tolliver Christmas.             

From Veterans For Peace-A Message from COL Ann Wright, former U.S. State Department Official Veterans For Peace 12/20/2017 4:55 PM To alfredjohnson34@comcast.net Quick reply allReplyForwardDeleteActions We are mobilizing like never before and have been using our unique voice as veterans to push back against hate and help build a world dedicated to peace. This past year we have spoken out against Islamophobia and white supremacy and used this unique political moment to garner support for a ban on nuclear weapons, expose the full story about the war on Viet Nam, develop a People’s Peace Treaty with Korea and continue to push to stop the deportation of veterans. I have been in the streets with you and followed your efforts and I am proud to be part of such a vital organization. This next year, Veterans For Peace is embarking on, what may seem, our most ambitious year in our history. And your support is vital. Can we count on you to join us by supporting our work with a donation? In 2018, we will mobilize veterans from around the world to participate in an International Veterans Peace Conference that will be held in part at the United Nations. I have had the pleasure of being on delegations with Veterans For Peace and in my travels, I can tell you that this conference has the chance to build deep and lasting relationships among veterans from a wide variety of countries, laying the groundwork for peace. Second, Veterans For Peace is proud to have joined the Poor People’s Campaign. Dr. King's memory has been largely sanitized in popular U.S. culture. Rarely do we hear of his anti-war stance, his work to end poverty or his full vision of racial justice. We must believe peace is possible both at home and abroad and we must strategize, resist and build together. The Poor People’s Campaign is a good place to begin to uncover those connections and take the message of unity, peace and justice with us as we march. Finally, next year marks the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day. The centennial anniversary is an opportunity for us as veterans to go bigger and bolder than ever before and to call on the U.S. public to say no to more war and to demand justice and peace, at home and abroad. We cannot do this alone and your support is critical, not only in organizing and mobilizing but with your financial support. Will you join us by donating today? Your contribution of $75, $100, $200, or $500 allows us to continue our efforts in this pivotal moment. I am so grateful to have met and worked with many of you over the years and Veterans For Peace has been an amazing home. I am honored and humbled that you all have embraced me among your ranks. I am continuously inspired by all of you and I am so excited to keep pushing and building resistance with you. I can’t wait to see you in the streets! Col. Ann Wright Col. Ann Wright is a Lifetime Member of Veterans For Peace. Ann is former U.S. Army colonel and a former U.S. State Department official, who resigned her position over protest of the Iraq War. Veterans For Peace apologizes if your donation and our email crossed paths. We also encourage you to join our ranks. Click to no longer receive updates from Veterans For Peace



V 
We are mobilizing like never before and have been using our unique voice as veterans to push back against hate and help build a world dedicated to peace. This past year we have spoken out against Islamophobia and white supremacy and used this unique political moment to garner support for a ban on nuclear weapons, expose the full story about the war on Viet Nam, develop a People’s Peace Treaty with Korea and continue to push to stop the deportation of veterans.  I have been in the streets with you and followed your efforts and I am proud to be part of such a vital organization.

This next year, Veterans For Peace is embarking on, what may seem, our most ambitious year in our history.  And your support is vital.  Can we count on you to join us by supporting our work with a donation?

In 2018, we will mobilize veterans from around the world to participate in an International Veterans Peace Conference that will be held in part at the United Nations.  I have had the pleasure of being on delegations with Veterans For Peace and in my travels, I can tell you that this conference has the chance to build deep and lasting relati
onships among veterans from a wide variety of countries, laying the groundwork for peace.


Second, Veterans For P
eace is proud to have joined the Poor People’s Campaign.  Dr. King's memory has been largely sanitized in popular U.S. culture. Rarely do we hear of his anti-war stance, his work to end poverty or his full vision of racial justice.  We must believe peace is possible both at home and abroad and we must strategize, resist and build together. The Poor People’s Campaign is a good place to begin to uncover those connections and take the message of unity, peace and justice with us as we march.

Finally, next year marks the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day.  The centennial anniversary is an opportunity for us as veterans to go bigger and bolder than ever before and to call on the U.S. public to say no to more war and to demand justice and peace, at home and abroad. 


We cannot  do this alone and your support is critical, not only in organizing and mobilizing but with your financial support.  Will you join us by donating today?  Your contribution of $75, $100, $200, or $500 allows us to continue our efforts in this pivotal moment.

I am so grateful to have met an
d worked with many of you over the years and Veterans For Peace has been an amazing home.  I am honored and humbled that you all have embraced me among your ranks.  I am continuously inspired by all of you and I am so excited to keep pushing and building resistance with you.  I can’t wait to see you in the streets!


Col. Ann Wright
Col. Ann Wright is a Lifetime Member of Veterans For Peace.  Ann is former U.S. Army colonel and a former U.S. State Department official, who resigned her position over protest of the Iraq War.
Veterans For Peace apologizes if your donation and our email crossed paths.

We also encourage you to join our ranks.  




In The Time Of The Second Mountain Music Revival- A Songcatcher Classic Song- "Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies"-Maybelle Carter-Style

In The Time Of The Second Mountain Music Revival- A Songcatcher Classic Song- "Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies"-Maybelle Carter-Style




As told to Si Lannon

A YouTube film clip of a classic Song-Catcher-type song from deep in the mountains, Come All You Fair And Tender Ladies. According to my sources Cecil Sharpe (a British musicologist in the manner of Francis Child with his ballads, Charles Seeger, and the Lomaxes, father and son when they headed south and west to fink the “people’s music”)"discovered" the song in 1916 in Kentucky. Of course my first connection to the song had nothing to do with the mountains, or mountain origins, or so I though at the time but was heard the first time long ago in my ill-spent 1960s youth listening to a late Sunday night folk radio show on WBZ in Boston hosted by Dick Summer (who is featured on the 2012 Tom Rush documentary No Regrets about Tom’s life in the early 1960s Boston folk scene) and hearing the late gravelly-voiced folksinger Dave Van Ronk like some latter-day Jehovah doing his version of the song. I know the next day I rushed over to the now exiled out in Utah somewhere Allan Jackson’s house and asked him if he had heard the song the previous night. He said hell no. This before he became a serious folk aficionado and was still hung up on some lollipop music that all the neighborhood high school girls were going crazy over, a bunch of Bobbies, I forget the last names, and so required some attention if he was to get anywhere with Diana Nelson. 

But that was high school dream stuff so I let it go then. A couple of years later when he was in college at Boston University he took a date to the long gone Club Nana over in Harvard Square to hear Dave Von Ronk play and where he did the song. He called me the next saying that he finally got it. By the way the way that Club Nana date came about was that his date was crazy for Dave Von Ronk. Some things never changed. In all quite a bit different from the Maybelle Carter effort here. I'll say.

[By the way that “or so I thought” about mountain music later turned out to be not quite true. My father from coal country Hazard, Kentucky out by the hills and hollows (I refuse to write “hollas”) and my mother left Boston for a time to go back to his growing up home to see if they could make a go of it there after World War II. They could not but that was a separate story while they were there I was conceived and being carried in my mothers’ womb so it turned out the damn stuff was in my DNA. Go figure, right.]     

COME ALL YE FAIR AND TENDER LADIES
(A.P. Carter)
The Carter Family - 1932
Come all ye fair and tender ladies
Take warning how you court young men
They're like a bright star on a cloudy morning
They will first appear and then they're gone
They'll tell to you some loving story
To make you think that they love you true
Straightway they'll go and court some other
Oh that's the love that they have for you
Do you remember our days of courting
When your head lay upon my breast
You could make me believe with the falling of your arm
That the sun rose in the West
I wish I were some little sparrow
And I had wings and I could fly
I would fly away to my false true lover
And while he'll talk I would sit and cry
But I am not some little sparrow
I have no wings nor can I fly
So I'll sit down here in grief and sorrow
And try to pass my troubles by
I wish I had known before I courted
That love had been so hard to gain
I'd of locked my heart in a box of golden
And fastened it down with a silver chain
Young men never cast your eye on beauty
For beauty is a thing that will decay
For the prettiest flowers that grow in the garden
How soon they'll wither, will wither and fade away
******
ALTERNATE VERSION:
Come all ye fair and tender ladies
Take warning how you court young men
They're like a star on summer morning
They first appear and then they're gone
They'll tell to you some loving story
And make you think they love you so well
Then away they'll go and court some other
And leave you there in grief to dwell
I wish I was on some tall mountain
Where the ivy rocks are black as ink
I'd write a letter to my lost true lover
Whose cheeks are like the morning pink
For love is handsome, love is charming
And love is pretty while it's new
But love grows cold as love grows old
And fades away like the mornin' dew

And fades away like the mornin' dew

Keep The Presses Rolling-Humphrey Bogart’s “Deadline-USA” (1952)-A Film Review

Keep The Presses Rolling-Humphrey Bogart’s “Deadline-USA” (1952)-A Film Review   




DVD Review

By Kenny Jacobs

Deadline-USA, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore, directed by Richard Brooks, 1952 

I am thrilled to be doing my first review, first film review, in this space of a film, Deadline-USA, starring Humphry Bogart an actor whom my parents would forever be quoting lines from one of his films like “Play it again, Sam,” “We will always have Paris” stuff like that since they had “discovered” him at a second-run artsy theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan where they met and went to school back in the 1980s. Of course Bogie (and his sweetie wife Lauren Bacall) was, is a legend, somebody to watch go through his paces whatever your age. Whenever they got nostalgic for their youth my parents would find some re-run retrospective theater and they would take me in tow to see things like The Big Sleep (which would make me hungry later for everything crime detective novelist Raymond Chandler ever wrote), Dark Passage (a film I never understood what with the face change and all in some back alley with a doctor who looked and acted more like a barber), and To Have And Have Not (where he and Bacall steam up the screen with some of the sexiest stuff with clothes on you will ever see but that observation was not made until much later-post puberty later having seen the film a few more times). Although Deadline is nowhere in the same category as the aforementioned films it nevertheless has a plotline about the fate of the modern newspaper business and freedom of the press that interests me.    

Now freedom of the press as my father, Lester, an editor of the famous These Times when he was in college said the best lesson he ever learned about press freedom  was given to him by an old English professor who had been through the red scare of the 1950s (the time frame of this film although none of those press self-censorship and acting on governmental directives issues were addressed by this film), had been something of a radical and had suffered the fate of plenty of people in those day not being able to find work in newspapers. That professor, I forget his name, told my father that freedom of the press was important to those who owned the presses the rest of us want to defend the freedom of expression part wherever we land. For a long time I thought that myself but this film brought out something else that professor had not mentioned and that was the death of the presses was the death of democracy. Although non-linear social and commercial on-line media is now a primary and growing place for people to get their news and that has dramatically portended the ellipse of the hard-copy versions that point is still worth thinking through.          

Some film critic when I was doing background for this piece, Roger Evans from the American Film Gazette I think, has called Deadline the best film about the inner workings of the hard copy newsprint industry ever made. Maybe he is right although every filmed newspaper story, and that includes sent-ups of front page sensationalism like The Front Page, serious investigative journalism like the Watergate expose All The President’s Men, and the recent The Post about the fight to publish Daniel Ellsberg’s The Pentagon Papers has extolled the notion of the big story which motivates the newsrooms and makes careers driving the plotline to culmination. Deadline is no different in that regard and so maybe that critical remark should be the beginning of further research rather than the last word on this film.

Greg Green, the site manager here, knowing this is my maiden effort has asked me especially when reviewing older films, in this case a film when I wasn’t even born and my parents weren’t  either to give a few details about the film. This is truer still of Deadline which in the great Bogie list of film credits had almost disappeared from sight until last year when it was released on Blu-Ray. A little against type considering such roles as the hard-boiled private detective Phillip Marlowe, the old salt Captain Harry Morgan and the framed-up escaped con Victor Parry Bogie plays the idealistic, if heavy-handed, crusading editor, Hutchison, of a major daily newspaper in what is New York City in the days when there were many newspaper for every taste and readership competing dog eat dog for the public’s acceptance. As stated in one of the dialogues between Hutchison and the hard-pressed owner, played by Ethel Barrymore, he was all newspaperman and would have as she said “married the paper if it had legs” (which is true since he was estranged from his actual wife until late in the film).    
      
That hard-pressed publisher had trouble keeping up with what was needed and so a lot of the story revolves around that aspect of the business and her decision to sell the paper which would be sold to parties who would close it down tight. The other big part, the part that sells newspapers by drawing the public to the headlines created is “the big story.” Here the big story is not the red scare effects like I mentioned above or the world going to hell in a hand-basket but your “bread and butter” crime and corruption story. The crime. A young woman who turns out to be connected to a known mobster, a bad guy to mess with, is found murdered after she would not reveal where the money he had given her to hold to pay off some crooked politicians in her apartment. Hutchison sends out his investigative reporters to sniff around. They make the connections, dot the i’s and cross the t’s and come up with a big story connecting that mobster to the murder and the corruption. That despite all kinds of threats against hard guy Hutchison by him who keeps spouting Fourth of July picnic oratory about the beauties and hard-fought struggles to keep that free press intact against all the pressures to fold up shop and run. A story that seemed very appropriate today what with all the talk about the press being “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.” Yeah, very much a film for these times.            


Tell Me: What Does The Resistance Looks Like-This Is What The Resistance Looks Like-Join The Resistance Now!!

Tell Me: What Does The Resistance Looks Like-This Is What The Resistance Looks Like-Join The Resistance Now!!  



From The Veterans For Peace- The Twelve Days, Maybe More, Of ......The Struggle Against The Endless American Wars

From The Veterans For Peace- The Twelve Days, Maybe More, Of  ......The Struggle Against The Endless American Wars


Friday, December 22, 2017

The Young Women With Long-Ironed Hair- With Joan Baez, Mimi Farina, And Judy Collins In Mind-A Female Take

The Young Women With Long-Ironed Hair- With Joan Baez, Mimi Farina, And Judy Collins In Mind-A Female Take

By Leslie Dumont








[You never know how things will turn around in the media business. One day you can’t get a thing published for love or money and the next you have more offers than you can shake a stick at. I originally was a stringer, a free-lancer, on this site a number of years ago when Allan Jackson was running the show but never got past that status despite submitting a number of articles that would later be published in places like Progressive Nation (both hard copy and on-line) and Women’s Weekly. Never got past a few short reviews of folk music when Allan decided to go all out and feature the folk revival of the 1960s, long dead except for devoted aficionados like myself. That fate for my major work despite the fact that at the time I had a relationship with Josh Breslin who Allan had known ever since they met out in California in 1967 during their Summer of Love adventures. I wasn’t expecting to be given a by-line gratis but did feel my work was good enough to see the light of day as it did later. 

Recently with the changeover in management after Allan retired (there have been other rumors of a coup and such but knowing guys like Josh and Sam Lowell, who knew Allan from back in high school, involved that is boys will be boys stuff from their youthful political intrigue when every move had some such ramification) the new manager Greg Green contacted me, contacted from what I heard a number of women writers to give this site a better-rounded and more inclusive look. Finally (and maybe while he is at how about some black writers, women ones too). That contact started an avalanche of offers from some other on-line sites asking for articles mostly on folk music and books, maybe an occasional film. Some I have taken or will do so soon but I committed myself to a series of articles for Greg. Recently Sam Lowell mentioned above wrote a nostalgia article about his folk music experiences-The Young Women With Long-Ironed Hair- With Joan Baez, Mimi Farina, And Judy Collins In Mind where he talked about the almost universal phenomena among college women folkies of emulating the leading straight long-haired women folk singers of the day Joan Baez, her sister Mimi, and Judy Collins. Greg when he contacted me asked as my first piece to give the women’s side of the story since he had heard from Sam who had heard it from Josh that I had a story to tell. Tell from what he quaintly called the distaff side like this was about 1960.  So here goes. Leslie Dumont]     
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Sam Lowell was as much a folk music junkie as I was back in the 1960s which he or somebody called the “folk minute” and strangely that seems about right since it got swamped by the British invasion and later acid-laced rock. I am a couple of years younger than him so I missed the very start when guys like Bob Dylan was working his way east to sit at Woody Guthrie’s feet (literally I think if some documentary I saw at the Orson Welles Theater out of Harvard Square on a college date about Woody and Arlo is right), Dave Von Ronk was switching from jazz combos and creaky-voiced folk song poetry session clear-outs and Joan Baez and her younger sister were walking around Harvard Square trying to get somebody, anybody to listen to their traditional folk song gigs featuring old-time Child ballads. My baptism came in 1964 but was nevertheless a big deal for me in breaking out, like a lot of us of whatever was happening at the time to make us jump out of our skins. 

I grew up in Ardsley-on-Hudson (we just called it Ardsley but that was, and is, its official name) about thirty miles from New York City and when I was in high school there, a senior, I had a boyfriend, Lenny, from town who went to NYU not far from what turned out to be one of the serious folk meccas, the Village. He would, for the eternal college boy cheap date which every guy who was into folk music blessed to high heaven and which I will give my view on soon, take me to the arch in Washington Square where every weekend budding folk singers would strut their stuff. Some good, some frankly bad who maybe knew a couple of chords and tried to work that into something mainly I think as a way to meet girls since if you looked at the obligatory guitar case “basket” it would be empty of donations. That was the cheapest of cheap dates which I didn’t care that much about because I was just thrilled to be in New York City away from stuffy Ardsley. When Lenny had some money we would move up a step he would take me to a coffeehouse for a cup of coffee, a lingering cup of coffee, and a sandwich or pastry. Occasionally when I had some money, allowance money, I would take pity on him and we would go “dutch treat” but I will go further into that social custom so more later.

Like I said what did I know about what in those days a guy was supposed to do for dating purposes since Lenny was my first serious boyfriend. I thought it was great that a college guy was interested in me, would take me to New York City (usually without telling my parents where I was going since they would have had a fit if they thought I was going  to “sin city” especially at night), and buy me a meal. I know a few of my girlfriends were jealous that I had a boyfriend in college when all they had were stupid high school guys whose idea of a date was to go down to the river and try to “feel them up.” I heard a few guys who wouldn’t give me the time of day suddenly let it be known that they were interested in me. (Probably figuring if I was with a college guy I was “easy” knowing the guys although it did not turn out like that with Lenny whom I still talk and meet occasionally when I am in Boston for a conference or some event.) It wasn’t until I was in college that I found out that guys in those days who were interested in me would spring for a real dinner in a nice place. Were supposed to do that. But that had nothing to do with folk music which I did seriously get into with Lenny and would continue to like to hear until this very day.              

Of course knowing Sam, although we hadn’t been in contact for a number of years since when I was a stringer, he had to go on and on in his article about every trend that led a certain small section of our generation to grab onto folk music as a way of showing our rebellion and, here I agree with Sam, a revulsion of what was passing for our youthful rock and roll which seemed to have run out of steam. Had to do all of that just to get to the point about how in a short while, particularly after the mainstream media of the time, Time magazine for one, dubbed Bob Dylan the king of the folk scene and long straight raven-haired Joan Baez the queen, his queen the silly bastard, young women, women who included me as well, were wearing their hair longer-and straighter. He seemed to think this was something from out of space or something when it was merely us keeping up with a fashion which women have been doing one way or another and not just for men don’t’ forget since  Eve.                

What had gotten Sam in a tizzy was an old photograph of Joan Baez, Mimi Farina (her married named then being married to hell-bent songwriter-poet Richard) and Judy Collins at Newport in I believe 1963 where he noticed the long-haired effect. The photograph graced one of the months in a New England Folk Song Society calendar. That got him wondering once again about how they were able to keep it that long or get it that straight. That is when he thought back to the whole hair-ironing experience and a story about one of his dates at the time.  

Sam also made an outlandish comment and I will quote here just to make sure I don’t fumble up what he said:        

“Looking at that photograph now, culled from a calendar put out by the New England Folk Archive Society, made me think back to the time when I believe that I would not go out with a girl (young woman, okay) if she did not have the appropriate “hair,” in other words no bee-hive or flip thing that was the high school rage among the not folk set, actually the social butterfly, cheerleader, motorcycle mama cliques. Which may now explain why I had so few dates in high school and none from North Adamsville High (located about thirty miles south of Boston). But no question you could almost smell the singed hair at times, and every guy I knew liked the style, liked the style if they liked Joan Baez, maybe had some dreamy desire, and that was that.”

He stands in the dock condemned by his words. Stands condemned for his small part in “forcing” women into making a certain fashion statement if they wanted dates from folkie guys. Maybe it was too early although maybe it was more gentile Lenny but he never made a big issue about it, never insisted that I “do something with my hair.”  But standing in the docket with Sam is Stan Gower, a guy whom I was dating when I was in college in Boston at Boston University, and who had the same nasty attitude as Sam although he was slier about it. I had first met him at the Joy Street CafĂ© around Charles Street near Boston Common one night when they had their folk night (before every night was folk night at the place when Eric Von Schmidt put the place on the map by writing Joshua Gone Barbados which he sang and which Tom Rush went big with on the local folk radio programs) and then we had a coffee together, That night I had my hair kind of, oh I don’t remember what they called it then but something like beehive or flip or something which highlighted and enhanced my long face. I thought I looked fine. I was not then hip to the long straight hair thing and so I thought nothing of it while I noticed many of the young women, they were almost all young women in a place like that then unlike now when it is almost all older women in the occasional coffeehouse venues hiding out in church basements and a few remnant places in Harvard Square or Berkeley but I kind of let it pass without any comment.

Then one night many weeks later after we had had a couple of subsequent dates and I hadn’t seen him for a while wondering what had happened to him since I was very interested in “going out with him” he called and asked for a date saying some nonsense about being busy with school work. I startled him when he picked me up at my dorm at Boston University to go over the Club Blue in the Square to see Dave Van Ronk hold forth in his folk historian gravelly-voiced way. I met Stan at the door with the mandatory long-stranded hair which frankly made my face even longer. He smiled that Stan smile that always got to me and said the real reason he didn’t call me up was because he was not sure that he liked my hair the way it was. Instead of showing him the door, I really was interested in him, I blushed like crazy. When Stan asked me a couple of minutes later why the change I did have a good comeback, did lie to him, when I declared that I could not possibly go to Harvard Square looking like somebody from some suburban high school not after seeing my idol Joan Baez (and later Mimi and Judy Collins too) with that great long hair which seemed very exotic, very Spanish. He smiled that Stan smile again but I think he knew I had done it to please him.

Of course Stan then compounded his troubles by making the serious mistake of asking me if I had it done at the beauty parlor or something and I looked at him with burning hate eyes since no self-respecting folkie college girl would go to such a place where her mother would go. Still silly schoolgirl me let that go. Little did he know then or later that just before our dates I would get the iron board out and either I or one of my roommates, proably best friend Anna, and try to starighten out as best I could my hair that would turn kinky every time I washed it. So I joined the crowd, Stan always when we were together said he loved it and after a while I did begin to look like a folkie girl (and started wearing the inevitable peasant blouses that Sam mentioned his girlfriend started wearing instead of those cashmere sweaters or starched shirt things I used to wear under strict orders from my mother to essentially show no signs of having shape to tempt errant boys with).    

That recollection by Sam got me thinking about other funny ideas we had back then.  About the occasions when Lenny and  had to go “dutch treat” which I never told my high school girlfriends about or they might not have thought it was not so cool to be dating a college guy, a poor college guy. That “dutch treat” thing was thus not very popular then unlike now when it is no big deal although there were slight changes and essentially has gone the way of one breadwinner fathers in the household economy. As much as I liked Stan that “dutch treat” is what happened when we went to see Dave Van Ronk at the Club Blue thing. Stan and I were thus by definition not on a heavy date, by definition neither supposedly had been intrigued by the other enough to be more than very good friends after those first few dates and so no social stigma attached to this understanding although I was hurt having let my hair grow long with certain expectations. Folk music was our bold.  Despite my persistent BU dorm roommate rumors what with Stan hanging around all the time listening to my albums on the record player we had had never got to the serious lovers stage. A few years later I mentioned that Club Blue night to Stan, who after all that dorm hanging around and rumor stuff actually was hanging around to see my best friend roommate Anna Jacobs who was by his side that night, as we waited to see Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie with me and my companion, Jim Lawrence, to see if he remembered Van Ronk’s performance and while he thought he remembered he was not sure.

He asked me, “Was that the night he played that haunting version of Fair and Tender Ladies with Eric Von Schmidt backing him up on the banjo?” I had replied yes and that I too had never forgotten that song and how the house which usually had a certain amount of chatter going on even when someone was performing had been dead silent once he started singing.

As for the long-ironed haired women in the photograph which jogged Sam memory their work in that folk minute and later speaks for itself. Joan Baez worked the Bob Dylan anointed “king and queen” of the folkies routine for a while for the time the folk minute lasted. Mimi (now passed on) teamed up with her husband, Richard Farina, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle crash in the mid-1960s, to write and sing some of the most haunting ballads of those new folk times (think Birmingham Sunday). Julie Collins, now coiffured like that mother I was beauty parlor running away from and that is okay, still produces beautiful sounds on her concert tours. But everyone should remember, every woman from that time anyway, should remember that burnt hair, and other sorrows, and know exactly who to blame. Yes, ladies, the photo is still around.