Tuesday, January 24, 2017


There are precious
few moments, over
the course of a
lifetime, when we
get to actually see
things unblemished
by the influences of
others. In grade school,
they had assemblies
and we all has to sing,
as a group, to things
like Santa Lucia and
Old Black Joe. I guess
they were considered
American Songbook
kind of stuff, even
though that very
trendy phrase wasn't
in use back then.
Now it's all over
the place, and
every reformed
rock star claims
to be salvaging
their old age by
suddenly singing
standards or by
rediscovering the
horrid old tunes
of some cheeky bastard
from fifty years ago
and more.  As they
see them anyway. But,
as I was saying, we'd
get to sing these
songs never knowing
what they were about.
We were never given
story-line explanations
of the precise songs.
So we had to interpret
them  -  unblemished
by others  -  in whatever
way we worked out;
each of is for ourselves,
I guess. What does a
captive 11 year old
sixth grader, or
whatever it is,
know from history?
What narrative goes
with this stuff? What's
meant? What was
with all these people
and their sad times?
Mostly all I ever got
from these things
were sensations of a
big, heaving American
sadness that hung
over everything. But
I never knew why that
was so. I thought they
said, on the other hand,
that we had everything,
were the best and the
greatest, and the free.
Nothing ever seemed
happy, certainly
nothing ever seemed
free and unburdened.
Everyone was always
walking around, in
most of these songs,
with some big problem
or sad memory to be
worked out  -  the wide,
open, sorrowful sea,
magnolia trees and old
horses and whips and
canals. I don't think
school officials ever
worked these ideas
out very much  -
nor had committee
meetings and things
over them, because
if they did someone
would surely have
asked why they
should be messing
with these sensitive
areas of kids' minds
without proper
explanatory stuff
first. That's how
stupid our 'educations'
had gotten to be. It
was never for
anything  except
the system of
learning, not the
content of the
learning  -  the
idiot teachers had
only been taught
how to push and
advance the system,
not the content. That
was a pretty serious,
and glaring, mistake,
as I saw it.
It leads to errors.
Errors are the worst
things ever. I always
felt that there was
nothing worse to be
than to be a person
who misunderstands
life. Now that was some 
some sad doings just 
living in the dark 
(This isn't the same
sort of sad that I meant
from these songs, that's
a wistful sadness. This
one is the major sadness
of a lost opportunity or
of some really poor
screw-up). What I
mean is 'living' the
life all the while having
it all completely wrong;
misunderstanding it.
Kids today do it by
the cart-load, and
kids before them
did it too, and before
them. It goes all the
way back, to Heaven
and Hell, and all those
opposed, alternate
versions of 'Reality'
which are pumped
into our heads,
differences where
there are none, values
where none exist;
having Santa Lucia
pumped into your
silly little head when
young will do that
to a kid. It's no
different than those
Gypsy myths, as I
was saying before
this, where all the
negative attributes
of the bad-world's
activists get instead
pushed off onto another
race of people. That's
the genuine sadness,
that should be around.
Sadness over that.
But no one ever talks
about that  -  the
injustice that comes
from lying and ruining
others' lives  -  kids,
parents, aunts, uncles.
By the time it's all
over everyone is
screwed up. Buffalo
Bill in rags, and
whatever's left after
that. General George
Armstrong Custer
as a hero. 'Gary Owen'
as a accompaniment
song to murder and
death. One fallback
motif I always have
is the 'Chinese guy
out front of his little
Chinatown shop
always hosing
down his storefront
sidewalk.' I use
that when I get
confused enough
to have to make
sorting out ideas
more important
than they should
be. What's that
guy's referential
sad songs? Is there
a Chinese songbook
that he's always
carrying around
in his head? You
bet there is  -
probably Chairman
Mao ditties and some
bunch of communal
worker songs. Talk
about trouble.
The world is one screwed 
up place. It's mostly in
the presentation where it
goes wrong. Like, again,
the false parallel of the
gypsy folk with the idea
of theft and deceit  - which
is exactly the treacherous
story-line we should have
had presented to us
about Jay Gould and Jim
Fisk and the Vanderbilts
and Morgans. The one
main reason for any of
that wistful sadness we
were told to sing about
(forced to sing about in
some mass-conversion
communist-style enforced
sing-along  -  go figure)
was because of the way
these deceitful and
crass financiers had
managed to rip the heart
and soul of the country 
open for their own
disgusting and mercenary
purposes; and we were
never told of that.
Our entire lives, the
crass physical part, are
in hock, always, to liars
cheats, swindlers,
and thieves.
So I'd say before anyone
gets all high-minded about
ideals and rightness, there 
are plenty of things to 
consider: Let's just look at 
postwar (Civil War, that is; 
which is also the era of many
of these songs) New York,
as one example of when the 
rot began. First off, during 
the war years, an entire 
underground economy 
in NYCity had been 
sustained, in the continued 
profit-making endeavor
of these sorts of 
financiers, heading, nay, 
forging, steadily ahead to their 
own days of atonement, (how
come, back then, the wrong
people always got strung up?)
by the making of uniforms,
armaments, clothing and
the fulfilling of the vast need
of supplies of cloth, bandages,
hard-goods and other things,
for the Confederate Army. 
Moved under cover of the 
night, ships were packed and
loaded, untouched and
unscathed, by a city that
favored the Confederacy.
By a city that was, at one
point, had its city fathers
brightly considered secession
of their own so as to be able
fairly by 'neutral' and then
trade and make money from 
all three sides: Confederate,
Union, AND the vast Euro-
sea-trade than underway
into and out of its own 
ports, if only they could
keep it.
They applauded the president's 
(Andrew Johnson) grant of
amnesty to most ex-Confederates,
and raised no objections when
state legislatures passed 'Black
Codes, imposing a virtual
peonage on freed slaves. You
must remember that Lincoln
never carried NYC, and was
considered a threat to business
and finance the entire time.
The only people in NYCity
mourning him were the
rabble in the streets, and not
all of them either. NY 's envoy
to the South was sent to announce
that 'money in vast quantities was
awaiting the chance of safe and
profitable investment;' with
northern capital to build railroads,
textile mills, and to exploit
mineral riches. All these New
York manipulator bigwigs had
their tongues hanging out.
Propertied and monied northerners
balked at any confiscation of
southern lands, plantations,
or financial structures  -  wishing
for immediate return to pre-war
status for their trade and commercial
venturing and networks. In the
meantime, NYCity itself was being
savaged by the likes of Jay Gould,
James Fisk, Boss Tweed, Morgan,
Vanderbilt, etc. Acreage being 
secretly bought and sold, at 
ridiculous prices, in the 
secret knowledge of the 
roadway and railroad 
deals coming (which they 
controlled). Fortunes 
were made. Masses of 
people were turned away, 
set loose to nothing. 
Shanty towns and 
encampments, black 
and white, destroyed. 
Need more? This gets 
tiresome. I have twenty 
more paragraphs of this 
crap. Names? Horatio 
Seymour, Ulysses S. Grant, 
A.T. Stewart, Cornelius 
Vanderbilt, William B. 
Astor, Hamilton Fish, 
Thomas N. Conway, 
Junius Spencer Morgan, 
John Pierpont Morgan, 
House of Rothschild, 
House of Belmont, 
Charles Tracy, Anthony 
Drexel, House of Seligman, 
Abraham Kuhn, Solomon 
Loeb, Daniel Drew, 
Leonard Jerome, John M. 
Tobin....These wee the 
real crooks. These were 
the nasty shysters who 
took us down. You want 
sad songs, start singing 
these names. You wanted
thieves, killers, and crooks,
you've got them. You don't
need Gypsies.

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