It’s Woody Guthrie’s 100th Birthday, Comrades! Let’s Have A Sing-Along!

  This Blog Irks Fascists

Your morning WoodyYou may have noticed, a couple weeks ago, that Google’s “doodle” for Independence Day was a tribute to Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.” Lord knows the Wingnutosphere noticed; where a sane person would stick to objective facts and condemn the doodle for its excessively busy, icepick-to-the-visual-cortex graphic design, Big Government’s perpetually Red-’bating Ben Shapiro decided to go full Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, pointing and shrieking at the doodle’s “communist-oriented” theme and the allegedly America-hating sentiments of the song’s original 1944 lyrics:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
This land was made for you and me.

Communism! It’s the American way.

Guthrie had another variation of the stanza he liked to use:

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

Same difference. The original lyrics also had another stanza asking whether America was really that great:

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I’d seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

Not exactly Founding Fathers ideology there. But Guthrie was no Founding Father. He was a Communist fellow-traveler who wrote a weekly column for the The Daily Worker.

Actually, these may be the most factual paragraphs Ben Shapiro has ever written; his only error is suggesting that any of that should frighten us.

Other rightblogs also noted, again correctly, that Guthrie wrote the song as a critique of “God Bless America,” albeit with a pearl-clutching note of horror that anyone might not worship that fine anthem (As an aside, could we just quietly say that, eleven years on, it would maybe not be an insult to The Troops if we went back to singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch? Yes, we know, why do we Hate America?)

So on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, let us take a moment to celebrate the career of Mr. Woody Guthrie, proud socialist and proud American, a man who saw no contradiction between loving his country and saying it NEEDED TO GET ITS SHIT TOGETHER.

We will not attempt a full retrospective of Guthrie’s career, because there are plenty of those out there already: Start with the official Woody Guthrie website. Then, for a good general piece, this Fresh Air story from the past week is awfully nice, as is this Democracy Now! show featuring singers Pete Seeger and Billy Bragg, as well as Guthrie biographer Will Kaufman. For a more thinky discussion of Guthrie’s career as a lefty, Scott Borchert’s 2011 review of Kaufman’s Woody Guthrie, American Radical is a good read — he even cites Gramsci and says “co-optation”! And so, some loose thoughts about Woody Guthrie and his Relevance for Modern American Society in Today’s Modern American Society of Today:

Occupy The Dust Bowl: “Pretty Boy Floyd,” 1939:

All during the Recent Unpleasantness, we had these lines going through our head:

Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered, I’ve seen lots of funny men
Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen

As through this world you travel, you’ll meet some funny men
Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen.

Add in some robo-signing and collateralized debt obligations, and you’ve got an anthem for Today.

Freedom, Social Justice, and Infrastructure: “The Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done,” 1941:

(Ignore the YouTube title; the actual “Grand Coulee Dam” song is good too, though the linked video lacks Bustling Industrial Imagery)

Like any good midcentury socialist, Guthrie saw the enormous dams of the Bonneville Power Administration as an unadulterated good: a source of cheap, clean power, flood control, drought relief, and prosperity. For Guthrie himself, they also meant a one-month, $266.66 contract in May 1941 to write songs for “The Columbia,” a film promoting the BPA (see Robert C. Carriker’s nifty “Ten Dollars a Song: Woody Guthrie Sells His Talent to the Bonneville Power Administration”). Worries about ecological impacts, especially on salmon migration, had to wait until later decades; the songs Guthrie wrote in the Pacific Northwest are full of muscular nature-subjugatin’ and can-do sleeve-rollin’:

Uncle Sam took up the challenge in the year of ‘thirty-three,
For the farmer and the factory and all of you and me,
He said, “Roll along, Columbia, you can ramble to the sea,
But river, while you’re rambling, you can do some work for me.”

Incidentally, production of “The Columbia” was interrupted by World War II and it was not released until 1949. In 1953, Dwight Eisenhower was so worried that Guthrie’s communist-inspired river songs might have the power to promote sedition that he ordered all prints of the film to be destroyed. Happily, this did not happen, and the film is now in the public domain, which sounds suspiciously Red in itself. In 1987, the Washington Legislature adopted Guthrie’s “Roll On, Columbia, Roll On” as the state’s official folk song.

What this Machine Does: “All You Fascists Bound to Lose,” 1944:

Guthrie was passionate about defeating Nazi Germany, and saw ending racism and corporate capitalism as part of the same fight. In a wartime letter to his second wife (excerpted in the Borchert article linked above), Guthrie attributes his anti-fascism to

“a personal hate so strong that it makes you want to kill in order to keep the people you love from being slaves…because if you really love anybody or anything or any principle or any science or belief, you will hate, hate, hate, and keep hating anybody or anything that tries to hurt, or kill or destroy that which you love. Unless love has got this hate, it’s not love at all, it’s a cave full of mysticism, and one of the most dangerous forms of cowardice”

There’s no “With votes” in that statement. Unlike modern chickenhawks who cheer on wars from the sidelines, Guthrie put his guitar-slinging butt on a Merchant Marine ship, and surviving two torpedo attacks as well as a punch in the face from a crewmate who took exception to Guthrie shouting “God bless the Red Army!” — guts, yes, a sense of diplomacy, no. Guthrie also had no patience for the notion that America would defeat fascism all by its red white and blue self; “What Are We Waiting On?” (1944) explicitly invokes an anti-fascist “union” of nations:

When I think of the men and the ships going down
While the Russians fight on across the dawn
There’s London in ruins and Paris in chains
Good people, what are we waiting on?
Good people, what are we waiting on?

Yes, I thank the Soviets and the mighty Chinese vets
Allies the whole wide world around
To the battling British, thanks, you can have ten million Yanks
If it takes ‘em to tear the fascists down, down, down
If it takes ‘em to tear the fascists down

As Borchert notes,

Guthrie’s extreme passion began to show in songs that glorified the killing of enemy soldiers and even the bombing of enemy cities — a sort of glee that is off-putting from this distance, in full historical view of the sheer human wreckage of the Second World War. His songs captured the brutality of the war but in a way that was largely uncritical of the entire war-making enterprise.

Are you surprised at my tears, sir? Strong men also cry…

Finally, let’s go back to “This Land Is Your Land,” this time as performed by Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen at the Obama Inaugural concert, 2009. Note the inclusion of those lyrics that got pathetic fearmonger Ben Shapiro so exercised.

(Pete is pushing 90 here. God DAMN we are going to weep for a week when he goes…and maybe punch anyone in the nose — with votes of course– if they question his dedication to America)

So Happy Bastille Day, and Happy 100th, Woody Guthrie! We hope this little sampling will inspire you all to go destroy freedom help U.S. America get its shit together, or at least hum a good tune about doing that.

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About the author

Doktor Zoom lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his pseudonym after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom

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182 comments

  1. Reginald_Perrin

    Koch brothers have released an new version of the Guthrie classic.
    This land in my land, this land is my land, this land was made for me and me.

  2. Doktor Zoom

    Also, too: The text in that woodcut illustration, in more readable type:

    "I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard travelling.

    I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you.

    I could hire out to the other side, the big money side, and get several dollars every week just to quit singing my own kind of songs and to sing the kind that knock you down still farther and the ones that poke fun at you even more and the ones that make you think that you've not got any sense at all. But I decided a long time ago that I'd starve to death before I'd sing any such songs as that. The radio waves and your movies and your jukeboxes and your songbooks are already loaded down and running over with such no good songs as that anyhow."

  3. redarmyzombie

    I am going to take a moment, assume that all these conservatives happen to be gun owners as well, and laugh at them for being terrified of a dead man with a guitar.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      If you listen to a lot of conservatives, they'll tell you that the difference between them and us is that conservatives love America and that liberals hate America. That we 'blame America first'. That we're suspicious of patriotism and always think our country's in the wrong. As conservative radio and TV personality Sean Hannity says, we liberals 'train our children to criticize America, not celebrate it.'

      They don't get it. We love America just as much as they do. But in a different way. You see, they love America the way a four-year old loves her mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a four-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad, and helping your loved one grow. Love takes attention and work and is the best thing in the world.

      That's why we liberals want America to do the right thing. We know America is the hope of the world, and we love it and want it to do well. We also want it to do good…

      …It's called honesty. What do you think is more important to a loving relationship: honesty or lies?"

      –Al Franken, in Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

      1. HarryButtle

        I've said it before and I'll say it again…can we pleeeeeze make this man president already?

    2. Estproph

      They're just bullies. They want what they want, they don't care who they push around or what they do to other people to get what they want, and they expect everyone to suck up to them. The sooner we all realize that, the better we'll be able to make them all go away.

  4. Antispandex

    Well, this is why it is so important to home school. You don't have to cover anti-American subjects like slavery, the genocide against the Native Americans, the "let them eat cake" attitude of Republicans in the Great Depression…you know, all of that "blame America first" crap…which isn't even true, by the way.

    1. Ducksworthy

      And fortunately, now that the Texass school board sets the school curriculum in this country, all this nonsense about labor unions and people fighting for their rights against the bosses is gone.

    2. Jadetiger79

      HAHA that's exactly why I am homeschooling! I live in GA where there is no separation of church and state, so if I want to avoid all that bullshit, I have to teach her myself. Which I actually love because I point out things like revisionists and dominionists and what is currently happening without the albatross of deprogramming her after a day in our so-called "public schools" around my neck.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      I was surprised to see on another blog somewhere that Arlo is now "a registered Republican who had endorsed Ron Paul." The font of all knowledge was some relief, at least–he endorsed Paul in the 2008 primaries (haven't seen anything about this year), and says he's a Republican because "We had enough good Democrats. We needed a few more good Republicans. We needed a loyal opposition." So it sort of sounds like he was doing it for the lulz.

      1. bobbert

        "So this fella says to me, 'Arlo, I want you to take this song to Johnny Cash'. And I said, 'Suuuure, Steve'".

        – Arlo in concert, ca. 1980

  5. SheriffRoscoe

    You get a line and I'll get a pole, honey. There's a theme we can all unify around. Some of us just need to figure out what crawdads are.

  6. JoeHoya

    As an aside, most ballparks have stopped with the whole God Bless America" 7th inning patriotic circle jerk, except for on special occasions. Except for New York, of course, because of NEVER FORGET!!1!1! and Rudy Giuliani and the troops.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Good to hear it–silly of me to assume that the practice at Boise's AA park reflected national norms. Also, I don't have cable, so the only major-league game still on broadcast teevee is the All-Star game, which is still doing that thing.

      1. JoeHoya

        A little further research after my post, and as of last year it seems like there are still three Major League stadiums that do it every game — Yankees, the Dodgers (because L.A. is such a hotbed of patriotic fervor) and an unnamed third team. Some still do it on Sundays, and it's still at the All-Star game and all playoff games (although I suspect that has more to do with giving recording-studio-backed pop-heads another chance to shill in prime time for album sales).

      2. BerkeleyBear

        I was going to say the Cubbies got over that (if not sucking) pretty quickly. Then again, the guest celebs doing Harry Carey drunken imitations are a lot funnier with the original material to work with.

    2. DustBowlBlues

      I'm glad. That thing pissed me off in the first place. We do the patriotic shit at the beginning, but the 7th. Inning stretch is to sing "Take Me Out To the Ballgame." It's a fucking baseball game. It's supposed to be fun.

  7. Vecchiojohn

    Believe it or not, there were several verses to that song that we didn't sing in the rural grade school I went to.

    1. notgross

      In my small Southern town, back in the early '70s, my obviously Communist music teacher would sneak the more subversive verses in ("subversive verses" might be a good lyric if the Schoolhouse Rock people ever do a song about Woody).

    2. flamingpdog

      I am still amazed that we sang even the non-subversive verses in my urban (and I mean "urban' when I say urban) elementary school in Warshington D. C. in the earliest years of the 60s, at the height of the Cold War.

  8. SexySmurf

    Woody Guthrie died from Woody Guthrie's Disease. You think he would have seen it coming.

    1. flamingpdog

      Oh the other hand, there is evidence now that Lou Gehrig did not die of Lou Gehrig's Disease, but from the cumulative effects of repeated concussions he suffered during his career.

  9. va_real

    Can we take this a step further & introduce a Constitutional Amendment changing our national anthem to "Take Me out to the Ballgame"? Most Americans already know it & it's a damned sight easier to sing than the Star Spangled Banner. And I'd be plenty cool with banning 'God Bless America' from all sporting events- what schlock!

    1. Vecchiojohn

      Well said. The only time I feel patriotic is at ball games. And when I see Rudy Giuliani in drag.

        1. va_real

          I know I'm in a minority, but I've always preferred Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row (& its sequel Sweet Thursday) & even The Moon is Down. Maybe I just need to re-read 'Grapes' away from a classroom setting where the 'preachiness' I recall may not have been integral to the text…?

          1. va_real

            He's a helluva writer- the above-mentioned items are some of my all-time favorites, so it's probably worth revisiting 'Grapes' anyway.

          2. viennawoods13

            I like Of Mice and Men. It makes me cry. Although, as a teacher of literature from time-to-time, I get a little tired of his hit-them-over-the-head symbolism. Subtlety was not his strong point.

          3. BerkeleyBear

            Well, when you are convinced that everyone around is acting like a bunch of dense morons, leaving things open to too much interpretation is probably hard.

    2. flamingpdog

      Last time I checked, the local Major League* team only plays it on Sundays and whenever they honor the troops by giving them tickets to the upper nosebleed seats in right field (binoculars not included). I love "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", especially these days when I can sing "if they don't win, it's no change."

      *not so much this year, or last.

    1. Mumbletypeg

      Hey, so now I see the origins of that post's title (and this one's tagline)!

      crapifoundatthelibrary.blogspot.com

      I embarked on developing an appreciation for Seeger and Guthrie when I checked out a cassette from the library of the small town where I dwelled at the time: a compilation of songs performed live at "Bread and Circuses Acoustic" concert in 1977. Hoyt Axton's "Bony Fingers"; Arlo Guthrie's "Al the Goose" and Seeger's "Sailing Down My Golden River" were included. I knew zero background of activist or advocacy movements cause I was still young but that lineup of tunes, listened to over and over, probably brought me closer to the awareness I know today.

      ETA: added links to songs mentioned. The Seeger one "Sailing…" is the same as from the B&R live performance. I'm welling up with tears hearing it again after so long!

  10. BarackMyWorld

    Alternate version I learned in 4th grade:
    This land is my land,
    This land ain't your land.
    I got a shot gun,
    Bet you ain't got one.
    I'll blow your head off
    If you don't get off.
    This land is private property.

    Oh, the joys of growing up in a red state…

    1. va_real

      Hey I learned that one, too- with only a few minor differences.

      They don't sing that in Blue States? Stoopid Librulz…

      1. BerkeleyBear

        Na, we sing it (at least if Southern Cal, where I grew up, can really be considered part of a blue state). Some of us just outgrow it as teenagers – and the rest move to Orange County and parts of San Diego.

    2. C_R_Eature

      " I see your Hi-neee,
      It's nice and Shi-neee
      You'd better Hide it,
      Before I Bite it!"

      That one got me sent to the Principal's office. Interrupting my English teacher's dramatic reading of Bram Stoker's Dracula was frowned upon.

  11. WhatTheHeck

    There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
    But our sign was painted, it said “Occupy;”
    Yet, too many people just walked on by;
    This land was made for you and occupy me.

    - Guthrie’s updated lyrics for the Twittez

  12. karlamarx

    i love woody guthrie with all my heart. sometimes i feel lonely living here in oklahoma and then woody's songs will float through the air and into my heart and i feel proud that i am breathing the air he once breathed.
    i love you woody.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      From that review of Woody Guthrie, American Radical:

      Kaufman begins with the context of Guthrie’s Oklahoma upbringing, pointing out that his oft-cited birthday, Bastille Day, is merely a coincidence; the year of his birth, 1912, is far more significant in that it marked the “near-zenith of the rising and falling tide of Oklahoma socialism,” the year when Eugene Debs’s Socialist Party won 16 percent of the vote statewide (compared to 6 percent nationally) (10). The socialist tradition in Oklahoma mixed populism with a dose of left-wing Christianity (The Grapes of Wrath’s preacher, Jim Casy, for instance) and drew much of its support from small farmers and immigrants. It was this milieu that initially shaped Guthrie’s independent and populist-minded radicalism, Kaufman suggests, and deeply influenced his later work—all presumably to the horror of Charley Guthrie, Woody’s father, a businessman and real estate speculator who wrote articles denouncing the local socialists.

    2. DustBowlBlues

      Will you be my new best friend? I feel lonely, too. If you are Jane's mother, send me a morse code message to that effect. Affect? I've been cleaning house all day, so cut me some slack. I'm tired.

  13. JackObin

    I admire Mr. Guthrie's passion, but let's face it. This land is highly overrated. There never was anything but a small chance that America would live up to its promise, and it is most certainly not going to happen in our lifetime. Human nature may change, but it will take centuries. Two things must happen. First, all the god nonsense must end. Second, Socratic education must be the norm. Until then, see you at the tatoo parlour.

    1. Jadetiger79

      That's why I am homeschooling. I live in GA, where there is no separation of church and state, and that's totally unacceptable to me. So, I've taken on the responsibility. I actually love it, more than I thought. I feel I am somehow making a difference.

  14. Biel_ze_Bubba

    Before some Wonker posts it here as a LOLworthy absurdity, be advised that some of the dumbfucks posting at BrightFart are actually asking if there's a "conservative search engine" they can switch to. (It's possible that a prankster got them going on the topic — they never know when they've been "Poed" — but they've taken up the howl.)

    I can see the appeal: Something that puts Conservapedia, WND, and Faux News articles at the top of their search results would pretty much perfect the conservatard echo chamber.

    1. va_real

      I thought search engines already worked that way- i.e., don't they deliver your results based on your past search preferences?

    2. Ducksworthy

      Hmm. I see another excellent investment opportunity (for the stupids) to invest in. I think I'll look for investors to create a totally pure conservative search engine. I have several brothers-in-law who would be prospects for a "startup" monies.

    3. C_R_Eature

      I see that they haven't climbed far down enough into the Misty Mountain of Epistemic Closure and too much light is getting through.

      "It burnss! It Buurrrnns us, my Precioussss!"

    1. BerkeleyBear

      Just heard that for the first time this week on the NPR appreciation/interview with his daughter – beautiful tune.

      1. C_R_Eature

        Thanks. Lovely. I heard that interview too, a good one. Off of the album Mermaid Avenue. The whole album is great but that's one of my all time favorites.

        That song – and all the others – were just written lines in Woody's songbook, unpublished and probably unpreformed, before Billy Bragg and the guys at Wilco borrowed it from his daughter. They worked up music, scored and recorded this. I think they did an extraordinary job.

  15. metamarcisf

    There have been a lot of times lately when I've thought that Bob Dylan's seldom-heard version of "This Land is Your Land" should be the real National Anthem. But then I listen to the Clash singing "I'm So Bored With the USA" and think, heck, maybe Spiro was right. "Kill them all"

  16. LagunaB

    I was so happy after the election and inaugural day.
    And here I am, 3 1/2 years later dealing with a crazy road rage (white) male at 5 fucking AM. He then proceeds to follow me, block my car and starts screaming at me. So I roll down my window, pulled out my water gun and start hitting him in the mouth, eyes and crotch. As he was screaming, yelling, hopping around I only said one thing. "If you do not leave me alone, I will kill you". And he left. Happiness to wanting a stranger dead.
    God I hate the repubs/teatards. With votes and a water gun.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Was he provoked by your displaying some kind of violence-inducing librul bumper sticker or something? (I have seen this happen)

      Or was it a case of Nonspecific Douchebaggery?

      1. LagunaB

        Non-specific Douchebaggery.
        But I do have a Obama sticker on its way. And I plan on a yard sign. It is called marketing. We need more signs up just to show we are not bullied by them.
        Someone wants to have a conversation with me regarding my signs, I say bring it on. Never give up, never surrender.

    2. ttommyunger

      A move like that in Ga or Fl would surely get a man shot….and not with a water gun.

      1. LagunaB

        I don't care.
        You have no idea of the verbal and other attacks I as a women (white) have experienced in the last couple of months due to the dog whistle of fox news. And I said , enough. Hence the water gun. Works great.
        I refuse to be denigrated, insulted, hit with a grocery cart, etc.
        I also use my i-phone to take pictures/video of the assholes. That makes them leave as well.

          1. LagunaB

            Thanks.
            I fought and won a landmark legal litigation. That was tough. I refuse to have all my hard work protecting the women and children of America go to naught.

          2. ttommyunger

            You are braver than I (Not too high a bar, however). My gun is always with me-and it shoots bullets, not water.

          3. LagunaB

            You are a guy. Different dynamics.
            Me using a water gun is insulting and belittling to a man.
            Can you see him telling his friends? No.
            Then how does he explain the wet crotch to them?
            For a man it would be seen as a joke to use a water gun. You have to have a gun, you know the guy rules of engagement.
            I have had to learn how to get over, around and through men to get ahead.

        1. LionHeartSoyDog

          Be careful, Laguna.
          Displaying a replica gun is a "valid" excuse for someone to use a real gun.

          I am with you in the struggle to protect women and children in Murka.
          Best Wishes.

          1. LagunaB

            I understand.I have read NJ gun laws which state that guns need to be in a locked trunk and the ammo in a separate location. We do not have SYG laws either.And my water gun is a small bright turquoise and yellow. Clearly a toy.Sent from my iPhone

          2. Geminisunmars

            LagunaB — you are my hero(ine).

            Sent from my (soon to be purchased) turquoise and pink iWater gun.

          3. LagunaB

            Alice's Restaurant.If you have….. 50 + people doing it, you have a movement. You take control.Non-violent, peaceful, non-cooperation.Sent from my iPhone

      2. Jadetiger79

        I know, I live in ATL and I have a big STOP WALMART yardsign in my yard from a local campaign here to stop them from crushing an older shopping center filled with thriving local businesses and steamrolling everything and bringing down property values. I find it missing, or mangled, or garbage on my yard, or what have you. Just….wow, you know?

  17. el_donaldo

    Ever since the wingnuts took Jonah Goldberg's dull joke seriously, there's been a sickly, ahistorical abuse of the term fascist. We need to pick the word up and use it rightly again, or risk losing whatever we've learned about it. The Tea Party is, largely, a fascist political movement. Ron Paul supporters are, more or less, authoritarians with strong fascist leanings. "This blog irks fascists" is a welcome start.

    1. Jadetiger79

      I agree completely. Once we name it for what it really is, and it starts with a whisper and builds to a scream, then that's when things begin to change for the better for everyone. Once you name it, and you take away it's "boogeyman" status and get over the fear of saying out loud that the Emperor has no clothes, well, things can only get better from there for all, exponentially.

  18. C_R_Eature

    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life."
    — Theodore Roosevelt

    1. va_real

      “Every nation that has ended in tyranny has come to that end by way of good order. It certainly does not follow from this that peoples should scorn public peace, but neither should they be satisfied with that and nothing more. A nation that asks nothing of government but the maintenance of order is already a slave in the depths of its heart; it is a slave of its well-being, ready for the man who will put it in chains.”
      ― Alexis de Tocqueville

      1. C_R_Eature

        Thanks, that's a good one.
        It's boggled me, for a long time, that self-styled "Historians" of the Right – Newt Gingrich – can read de Toqueville and blithely toss out quotes that seem to support their authoritarian worldview, but completely miss passages like this.

        1. va_real

          I wonder if all great thinkers aren't at least a little conflicted. They try on different ideas for size, and discard the notions that don't weather well. Self- contradiction can be the sign of a mind large enough to 'contain multitudes'- it isn't always a mark of hypocrisy as it is with politicians…

      2. bikerlaureate

        "Those who already walk submissively will say there is no cause for alarm. But submissiveness is not our heritage. The First Amendment was designed to allow rebellion to remain as our heritage. The Constitution was designed to keep government off the backs of the people. The Bill of Rights was added to keep the precincts of belief and expression, of the press, of political and social activities free from surveillance. The Bill of Rights was designed to keep agents of government and official eavesdroppers away from assemblies of people. The aim was to allow men to be free and independent and to assert their rights against government."
        Justice William O. Douglas
        (Laird v. Tatum, 1972)

  19. Callyson

    “a personal hate so strong that it makes you want to kill in order to keep the people you love from being slaves…because if you really love anybody or anything or any principle or any science or belief, you will hate, hate, hate, and keep hating anybody or anything that tries to hurt, or kill or destroy that which you love. Unless love has got this hate, it’s not love at all, it’s a cave full of mysticism, and one of the most dangerous forms of cowardice”

    Next time some mushy middle type tells me that I should try to find common ground with the wingnuts, I'm quoting this gem…

    Happy 100th, Woody–we'll keep fighting on for you!

  20. ttommyunger

    Ben Shapiro would have to stand on his grandmother's shoulders to look Woody in the fucking eye. Fucking fear-hate-mongering cunt.

  21. One_Man_Band

    Yeah but how many jerbz did Woody ever create?

    I want an America where Woody Guthrie is revered and the Koch Bros. are reviled, not the ass-backwards one we've got now.

    1. BenGleck

      Not that my grandfather made a living pressing his original recordings. . . but don't you think he created hundreds of jobs with this music?

      1. One_Man_Band

        Um, I kinda figured the snark would be self-evident in that post, but since it wasn't to you, let me erase all traces of humor by over-explaining everything:

        "How many jerbz did Woody ever create?" is the kind of question a wingnut would ask, because they think that being a "job creator" (aka: rich asshole) is the only thing that matters in America. Woody Guthrie was obviously an important American, regardless of how many jobs he may or may not have created, because there are some things more important than whether an individual is a so-called "job creator" or not, and even bringing it up when talking about somebody like Woody Guthrie is patently ridiculous.

        Better?

  22. C_R_Eature

    I wrote this earlier as a reply, but I'd like to formally nominate this for "Wonkette Blog Post of the Year."
    The timely remembrance of a little-appreciated though true American Woody Guthrie, the comprehensive, well represented treatment of his life and work and the audio visuals were particularly well done.
    What got me however was the tag line "THIS BLOG IRKS FASCISTS", for which I am awarding the never-before assigned Solid Gold Medallion and Star-Spangled Sash of Awesome Wordsmithery. So Say I.
    Congratulations, Doktor. Well done.

      1. radio-of-owls

        No matter, old chap, I daresay any Johnny-come-lately commenter will make but a poor stand should he act fool enough to challenge this bulwark of brilliance. Bully, I say, bully!

          1. C_R_Eature

            [Shhhh! I've suspected this ever since Rebecca bought a controlling interest in the Diebold company. don't let on]

      1. C_R_Eature

        Capitalist Self-Promotional Golden Opportunity FAIL. Ah, well, I'd go and leaven the Wonkette Drinky Thing Photo Post with some reminders, if you haven't already!

        You Must resurrect Vlad! If for no other reason than "Vlad The Impala" is the funniest vehicular nickname since the Land Rover called "The Antichrist" in The Gods Must Be Crazy. It's also prime Red Shark material.

        Lastly, as your Resident Cephalopod and contributor, I advise you to print out one of These for your rear window.

          1. Extemporanus

            Do you have a fucking frog in your throat, or are you deep throating a fucking frog?

            HENGHH?!

    1. Mumbletypeg

      I think a number of pond-dwelling peepers suffering a bump on the noggin would ask that you refrain from throwing stones in glassy lake surfaces!

      1. Extemporanus

        After getting stoned every day for a week straight, they finally hopped off their water bonged asses and evened the score. (Bath salts are a helluva bubbly drug.)

        R.I.P. Skippy – We hardly threw ya… :-(

  23. Spurning Beer

    It's also the 150th birthday of Gustav Klimt. Will we have another commemorative post today? Maybe there's a Youtube clip of the Back to School scene:

    "Mr. Melon, your wife was just showing us her Klimt."

    "You too, huh? She's shown it to everybody."

  24. HarryButtle

    Just found a version of "This Land…" on YouTube performed by Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and Los Lobos. Full of Mexicans and hippies, it's guaranteed to piss off your rightwing relations and Facebook acquaintances!

        1. Jadetiger79

          Another arrow in my quiver to shoot down those breathless email chain letters in 24pt comic sans bright pink font.

  25. Angry_Marmot

    /snark off/

    Who the fuck is this mental midget Ben Shapiro and in what election did we appoint him minister of culture? You presume too much, Sir.

    /snark on /

  26. ASHLEIGH_Joe

    Woody Guthrie had a sticker on his guitar that said, "This Machine Kills Fascists".

    Breitbart's Ghost/Michelle Malkin/et al. were super-pissed about Google quoting Woody Guthrie lyrics.

    Draw your own inference.

  27. mavenmaven

    Well, according to Glenn Beck, the nazis were really liberals, and up is down, and if we had a Woody Guthrie around now he'd kick a Glenn Beck in the nads.

  28. DahBoner

    If you mess with Woodie Gutherie, Bob Dylan will come to your hospital bed and knaw your feet off…

  29. DustBowlBlues

    Woody Fest is going on down in Okemah OK at this typing. I am not going because in this year where the vortex of American history is here in Okrahoma, I'm focusing on the Real Dust Bowl, both because I just read a book about it but also in prep. for the Ken Burns doc. on–where else–pinko PBS.

    Also, it's hotter than hell down here and Woody Fest requires that I be outdoors much of the time. On my Indepence Day mini-break we saw the Dust Bowl from the windows of our air-conditioned car.

  30. DustBowlBlues

    Bought one of those ceramic travel-type mugs–you know, the tall ones with the sippee-cup top? Anyway, bought one for my daughter from This Land (Tulsa) that reads, "This hot beverage kills fascism."

  31. DustBowlBlues

    Yet another Woody story: In college, John Ratliff, famous OK U radical, borrowed my Library of Congress recording of Alan Lomax and Woody Gutherie. It was 2 or 3 long play records–a big investment for me. When I demanded that Mr. New-Left return it, he offered me hash in exchange. I declined. He still never returned my fucking record, so I had neither the recording nor the hash. I heard, however, that the culprit eventually went to prison (can't imagine why) so I guess he suffered. But he still owes me.

  32. OneYieldRegular

    I have a ukelele on which I painted: "This machine kills fascists." I used to have that painted on the outside of my laptop as well, but the looks I got were sometimes terrifying. Anyway, I agree with all the above: this is a great post. Thanks.

  33. BenGleck

    Happy 100th birthday, Woodie. I can't believe that we a so lucky as to still have you with us.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Um… You know, I really shoulda mentioned in the main post that he died in 1967. Pete Seeger, from the final video up there, is still with us, though he merely 93.

  34. Jukesgrrl

    So-called American Patriots are full of respect for private property unless, of course, it's populated by Native American tribes.

  35. davishank

    Thanks, Wonkette, for your July 14th post "It’s Woody Guthrie’s 100th Birthday, Comrades! Let’s Have A Sing-Along!" I enjoyed the irony of your quoting the "forbidden" verses of "This Land Is Your Land" from a right-wing diatribe. They never seem to quit, even though Woody's place in American history is secure.

    Bill Murlin of The Wanderers saw that Woody was honored while he worked for the BPA in the 1980s, and he and his partner Carl Allen have been bringing Woody to life for decades. Local pickers here in Seattle have organized gatherings to honor Woody's centennial.

    For more on Woody's 1941 visit to the Northwest, where he wrote 26 songs in 30 days for the Bonneville Power Administration and was paid $266.66 for them (ten dollars per song), see my article "The Wanderers: We Remember Woody" in the January, 2011 Victory Review (www.victorymusic.org — click my name for my VR Author's page). The section "Woody Guthrie's Columbia River Songs" is full of references to more on that project. Cheers.

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