After tormenting the rest of us for nigh on a century, last week that unrepentant communist and multimillionaire folk “singer” Pete Seeger was shipped off to the Devil’s gulag.
I awoke to the welcome news via a friend’s email that had the subject line “Finally.” (This friend and I really need to relaunch our old website “Boomer Deathwatch” one of these days.)
Naturally, most mainstream media tributes to Seeger left out his refusal to (kind of) denounce Stalin until 2007 (!) and his nasty (and lucrative) little song-stealing habit.
About that Uncle Joe business: A few years back, a firm but gentle scolding in the New York Sun by Seeger’s former banjo student turned anticommunist “neocon” Ron Radosh prompted a letter from his old teacher.
“I think you’re right,” Seeger conceded weakly. “I should have asked to see the gulags when I was in [the] USSR,” he said, oblivious to how much that sentence sounds like the setup to a grim Russian joke of Soviet-era vintage.
Seeger also sent Radosh the lyrics to a new “song” which, in a refreshing change of pace, he’d apparently written all by himself. Stalin”make that “old Joe””had blown his “chance to make/A brand new start for the human race/Instead he set it back/Right in the same nasty place.”
Of course, having been penned by a dimwitted leftist, this song begins with a premise of dubious desirability, then concludes with the exact opposite of the truth. Before Stalin, there had been no “same old place””and certainly no capitalist place”littered with between 20 million and 60 million corpses.
Now, on to humble “man of the people” Pete Seeger’s career as a colonialist, imperialist exploiter.
Seeger’s numerous “progressive” celebrants last week praised his curation of the nation’s folk songs, saving them from sure extinction out of the goodness of his heart. I even read a similar sentiment expressed from the right:
…Seeger toiled in near obscurity at times to lovingly preserve this priceless legacy of Americana. The Smithsonian couldn’t have done any better.
Except the Smithsonian did. Alas, Lomax pere and fils are no longer available for comment.
In the first place, what Seeger “kept alive” often wasn’t authentic American “folk music” at all“it was more like a collection of musical bumper stickers created expressly for the Communist Party USA.