Sunday, May 14, 2006

Southern Music and Resistence

Again with the procrastination. Well, to be fair, not so much procrastination as trying very hard to get my objects and affairs in order before I leave, and therefore haven't completely thought through the post I mentioned a couple of entries back.

In any case, Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon has a very interesting post on why pseudo-populists in the South tend to ignore Southern music.

Robert Johnson’s legend about selling his soul to play the blues is the classic example of this, a legend that speaks volumes about the stubborn existence of these forms in resistance to authority. Of course, it’s way more complex than that with regards to Johnson’s legend, because the “good” music of gospel is also a music that gave space to resistance. Black people were converted to Christianity in the slave days by slave owners who intended to use it to control them and turn them into joyless, obedient workers and there’s little doubt, I think, that gospel is part of a larger process of reclaiming religion...

The legendary stories of women scraping up from poverty and making it in Nashville–the two biggies being Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton–are stories that are only possible because the love of music in their communities was so great that they didn’t interfere with women who wanted to play so long as they were good at it....

The tension between Southern music traditions and the attempts of the Republican party to co-opt out culture completely are sufficient to make me imagine Karl Rove just wishes Southerners didn’t like music at all.

The full article can be found here.

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