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Saturday, October 20, 2018


I just watched the third in my series of video lectures on Ideological Critique as a refresher for a forthcoming lecture on Mannheim in my Columbia course.  I watched my discourse on Mannheim’s ideological analysis of time consciousness, and then my attempt at an extension of it to the case of  space consciousness.  I wrap that up with an ideological analysis of the revolutionary orientation toward space, which concludes with my story about a Columbia student’s remark in 1968.  I had forgotten that I managed to attach to the very end of the lecture a brief video of Pete Seeger singing “Which Side Are You On?”

I wept for what we have lost.


Anonymous said...

The moral grandstanding and sanctimony that drip from some of the posts on this blog make it almost farcical at times.

s. wallerstein said...

If you're weeping for the good old days of Pete Seeger, remember that Seeger had to testify before the House Committee on Unamerican Activities, was sentenced to jail for contempt of congress (sentence overturned by the Appeals Court) and was blacklisted for many years. Not even Trump has attempted to reestablish HUAC or to blacklist leftist singers. What's more,
I've never seen so many people who believe in socialism or at least social democracy in the U.S. I wasn't around in the 30's, so there may have been more then, but during my lifetime (72 years), I've never seen so many, not even in the 60's.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I am not weeping for the good days when Pete Seeger was around. I am weeping for what Pete Seeger meant to me and for so many others then. I know full well what happened to him. I am enough older to recall when a good many people believ ed in socialism, real socialism.

s. wallerstein said...

Then I'm sure that you also know that Seeger recorded a song after the Hitler-Stalin Pact calling on U.S. workers not to fight in an imperialist war, all the while Jews were being slaughtered in Germany and Poland by the Nazis.

I think that all in all the socialist movement in the U.S. and elsewhere is better off without a model in the Soviet Union or China or even Cuba. We're on our own, but that's healthier and saner than idealizing some very toxic societies as Seeger did in his time.

Being on our own, maybe we will not reach "real socialism", but I believe that we have a good chance if we struggle with intelligence and persistence to achieve a society where everyone earns a decent wage, everyone has the right to free healthcare and education including university education, everyone gets an old age pension that they can live on,
no one sleeps in the street and we reeducate most criminals instead of locking them up in monstrous jails.

David Palmeter said...

s. wallerstein

I think Pete Seeger was a young, pacifist, member of the Communist Party at the time. The Party supported the Hitler-Stalin Pact and so did he. I don't know if he ever gave up his pacifisism, but eventually he did quit the Party.

MS said...

I miss Pete Seeger, and Mary Travers, also.

But I particularly miss Phil Ochs.

It’s his rendition of I Ain’t Marching Anymore,

and Tom Paxton’s tribute to him,

that bring tears to my eyes.

Anonymous said...

This must be coincidence because I was just reading online about the Zhu and came across a paper by Lee rebutting Wilmsen. I couldn't access it as it was behind a paywall website. But I'm curious if Lee ever successfully refuted Wilmsen's critique.

MS said...


If you are referring to the debate between Lee and Wilmsen as to whether San speaking people had chosen to be an isolated hunter-gather society (Lee), or were an underclass who had been marginalized by others (Wilmsen), what constitutes refutation is subject to one’s biases. If you are prone to side w/ Wilmsen, you may not believe that Lee’s counter-evidence is sufficient to constitute a refutation. Lee did offer arguments, for example, that Wilmsen had misinterpreted the San word for “onion” to mean “oxen.” You can read a summary of the arguments and counter-arguments here:

DDA said...


MS said...


That is as brief and enigmatic a comment as I have seen on this blog.

Are you referring to John Prine? And are you saying that some of his songs bring tears to your eyes?

But I think we were referring to deceased song writers/singers who have written/sung inspiring and sometimes poignant political ballads. And, fortunately, Prine is still alive – concerned by your comment, I just checked.

And, though he has written some poignant songs, most of them are humorous.

Anyway, I agree, Prine is a great songwriter. Unfortunately, his jaw cancer has affected his singing delivery.

And, if we are including living writer/singers of powerful political ballads, I certainly would include Dylan -= Chimes of Freedom; Blowin’ In The Wind; A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall; With God On Our Side, etc., etc.

P.S.: I hope we are not going to get into another Hannah And Her Sisters vs. Sullivan’s Travels debate.

MS said...


Whoops, Your are partially correct - Tom Paxton is still alive.

My bad.

Which song(s) by Prine bring(s) tears to your eyes?

I just thought of one - There's A Hole In Daddy's Arm.

MS said...

For those of you who may be looking for a song titled There’s A Hole In Daddy’s Arm, the actual title is Sam Stone.

You can see a young John Prine singing it here:

Unfortunately, the ravages of time have taken a toll on his health and appearance, as it has on all of us old fogies. Here is a clip of a much older John Prine discussing why Johnny Cash refused to sing Sam Stone as written:

DDA said...

Actually, as the linked NYTimes piece claims, many of Prine's songs are protest songs. And many of them (and certainly the video linked in the TImes piece, Summer's End) bring tears to my eyes ("Hello in There").
And then there are tears from beauty, as when Bonnie Raitt sings Angel From Montgomery.

MS said...


This is sort of funny. When I read your comment above, I thought, “What N.Y. Times article?” The comments I wrote after yours, guessing that you were referring to John Prine, were written w/o my realizing that your reference to Prine was a hyperlink to an article. I thought you were saying that the youtube interview I referenced linked somehow to a N.Y. Times article, so I went back to that interview looking for it, and could not find it.

Finally, it dawned on me that the name “Prine” was a hyperlink. So now you know why my daughter looks at me and shakes her head w/ dismay when I ask her to show me how to negotiate my way around her computer. (I don’t know how to create such hyperlinks – that’s why I just copy & paste them.)

I agree, Prine has written many superb, poignant songs. A lot of people do not know that he wrote Hello In There, which Bette Midler made famous. And he demonstrates what a simple, common man, your local postman, can do w/ uncommon talent. He is, as one commentator noted, the Mark Twain troubador of America (the America between Canada and Mexico).

Here is another link to an interview that he had w/ Mike Leonard, in which his humor, humility and enormous talent shine through.