The Song Journal

Miscellaneous news and writing by Bob Franke, mostly about songs as a portable art form, and the process of creating them and enabling them to do their work in the world.

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Location: Peabody, Massachusetts, United States

from www.bobfranke.com: Bob Franke began his career as a singer-songwriter in 1965 while a student at the University of Michigan. Upon graduation in 1969 with an A.B. in English Literature, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has since made New England his home. Bob has appeared in concert at coffeehouses, colleges, festivals, bars, streets, homes and churches in 33 states, four Canadian provinces and England.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Pop and Protest"

I watched the PBS program about protest in popular music this evening. It was good to see Chuck D put rap in a historical perspective. It was good that it wasn't a show about white people's music. But watching two hours about protest music on TV didn't do as much for me as hearing a single Phil Ochs song, and Phil wasn't mentioned once on the show. I am reminded of something I wrote to a Boston Globe reporter who had written an article lamenting the "lack of protest songs about the Iraq war." She was looking in the wrong place. Looking for protest music in the corporate industry makes as much sense as it would have made to look for protest writing in the Soviet era among members of the Soviet Writers' Union.

I believe that this is not a fascist country in its heart or its institutions. But it is being run by a fascist regime at the moment. Look up the definition in the dictionary. That's the elephant in the living room, folks. That's the bit of evidence that stuns me into silence, that leads me to being paranoid about one out of every two people I run into, the one who might have voted for W. You can hear this news on the street, but you won't see it on the TV, not even PBS, the poor bastards.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Russ Jennings said...

Hear, Hear, Bob - I try to attend the Kate Wolf Festival every year I missed it this year, but in 2004 every single performer had a deeply felt and powerfully writen protest song. For most of them it was very unusual, but they fealt they had to.

You go, Bob!!!

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Russ Jennings said...

Forgot to mention the most important part. The hip-hop generation is coming up with amazingly powerful protest songs, raps, and spoken word. Even though, I'm a certifiable old fogy, I can't get enough of the stuff. Check out Spearhead and Michael Franti, and so many more.....

(OK, I'm done now.)

9:07 PM  
Blogger Bob Franke said...

Michael Franti was a guy on the show whose work it seemed I could relate to naturally.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Baller said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:08 AM  
Blogger The Subversive Librarian said...

Bob, thanks for your thoughtful post. I've enjoyed your music since I lived in Boston from '86 to '89.

This administration is like none other I remember. The press hated Nixon, so there was some balance there; that seems to have gone by the wayside. I don't remember a time when the government could actually change scientific facts in reports -- publicly! -- with such impugnity. Funny that the far right seems to think "mainstream media" is all on the left...

10:23 PM  

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