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Merle Haggard on America: ‘We Peaked Somewhere Around 1975′ (PBS Special Airs Tonight)
WSJ ^ | 7/21/2010 | Speakeasy

Posted on 07/21/2010 10:29:23 AM PDT by mojito

A few years ago, Merle Haggard was diagnosed with lung cancer and nearly became the latest country music legend to be felled by the unforgiving combination of hard living and age. Haggard beat the disease, returned to touring and now, at 73, he’s the subject of a PBS “American Masters” special airing tonight.

The documentary, “Merle Haggard: Learning to Live with Myself,” portrays a man trying to come to terms with a life that took him from a train-hopping delinquent to an ex-con to a country music superstar, thanks to hits like “Mama Tried” and “Okie from Muskogee.” Haggard has always been a deeply personal songwriter, re-working the major events of his life — his father’s early death, his hardscrabble childhood, the years he spent in San Quentin — again and again in his songs. And in the PBS film he’s surprisingly emotional — more tortured poet than rabble-rousing tough guy.

Speakeasy caught up with Haggard on tour in Canada to talk about the film and his new album, “I Am What I Am.”

(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS: americaindecline; culturewar; jumpedtheshark; merlehaggard; reddiaperdoperbabies
I know a lot of folks don't like Merle's politics these days, and neither do I. And yes, the special is on PBS. I'm not too keen on them either.

But I do remember how Merle used to be, and I will be watching this "American Masters" segment tonight. I post this to give a heads up to other country music fans who might enjoy tuning in.

1 posted on 07/21/2010 10:29:28 AM PDT by mojito
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To: mojito

America peaked in the 1950’s.


2 posted on 07/21/2010 10:31:22 AM PDT by TSgt (We will always be prepared, so we may always be free. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: mojito

He probably means 1945.


3 posted on 07/21/2010 10:32:14 AM PDT by Chi-townChief
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To: mojito

Is he now a Dixie Chick who was too dumb to stop smoking?


4 posted on 07/21/2010 10:34:48 AM PDT by Frantzie (Democrats = Party of I*lam)
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To: mojito

So has Merle gone pro-gay like Willie Nelson has? God I hope not.


5 posted on 07/21/2010 10:35:01 AM PDT by Soothesayer9
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To: mojito

Is he now a Dixie Chick who was too dumb to stop smoking?


6 posted on 07/21/2010 10:35:05 AM PDT by Frantzie (Democrats = Party of I*lam)
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To: mojito
Just one more entertainer I have to try and separate what they do from what they say in order to try and enjoy what they do.

Shame he lost his sensibilities, but he does now get the pass of the old line "No fool like an old fool."

7 posted on 07/21/2010 10:37:39 AM PDT by TheClintons-STILLAnti-American
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To: mojito

I think he means HE peaked in 1975. As people get old they reflect back to their prime as the best times for the country.


8 posted on 07/21/2010 10:38:26 AM PDT by for-q-clinton (If at first you don't succeed keep on sucking until you do succeed)
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To: mojito

I’ve always liked Merle for his blunt honesty, and I still do. He also wrote and performed a host of great songs whose emotional range far surpasses most of the cookie-cutter crap that today passes for “country” music on the radio. And no true country artist ever phrased a song as well.


9 posted on 07/21/2010 10:42:04 AM PDT by andy58-in-nh (America does not need to be organized: it needs to be liberated.)
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To: for-q-clinton

As people get old they reflect back to their prime as the best times for the country. ................................ How true, but that’s because they also saw what happened post their prime.


10 posted on 07/21/2010 10:43:22 AM PDT by Bringbackthedraft (As Americans we must think We the People, not we the Party.)
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To: mojito

I saw him perform three or four years ago and it was a good concert. I was a little afraid that he might get into Bush-bashing but he didn’t.


11 posted on 07/21/2010 10:52:46 AM PDT by NRPM (America again in 2010!)
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To: andy58-in-nh
I’ve always liked Merle for his blunt honesty

I heard him flat out tell Art Bell he had never been in prison, what he had heard and read was only PR hype. Blunt enough for me.

12 posted on 07/21/2010 10:56:36 AM PDT by kbennkc (For those who have fought for it freedom has a flavor the protected will never know .F Trp 8th Cav)
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To: mojito

Can’t say I disagree with his sentiment, although with Reagan we tried to stem the decline.


13 posted on 07/21/2010 10:57:20 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: TSgt

I can tell you the exact day we peaked: July 20, 1969—when we landed a man on the moon. After that, we listened to the Leftists, abandoned manned space exploration, and turned inward to fix “problems” here at home. Of course, the problems we sought to fix (like poverty) were largely unfixable, because they eminate from the human psyche. If we had gone into space (for real), a lot of current problems here on Earth would have been solved or rendered irrelevant. Liberals, of course, recoil at the thought of space travel. It is simply too good an escape route from their policies and it is too reminiscent of “frontier independence and adventure”.

IMHO, it speaks volumes that it is almost 40 years since the last moon shot and we are nowhere near returning to the moon, let alone going to Mars.


14 posted on 07/21/2010 11:01:49 AM PDT by rbg81 (When you see Obama, shout: "DO YOUR JOB!!")
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To: mojito

America before 1975?

That’s before we cut loose Jane Fonda and other traitors.

That’s before we began the slaughter of 50 million babies.

That’s before the Baby Boomers started to take over Congress and news rooms and academia.


15 posted on 07/21/2010 11:02:53 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (I wish our president loved the US military as much as he loves Paul McCartney.)
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To: rbg81
Of course, the problems we sought to fix (like poverty) were largely unfixable, because they eminate from the human psyche.

Poverty will never be erradicated in America because we keep importing tens of millions of poor immigrants supposedly to do the work no one else wants to.

Pay people $20 to do a good job of cleaning toilets rather than $6. Problem solved.

16 posted on 07/21/2010 11:05:49 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (I wish our president loved the US military as much as he loves Paul McCartney.)
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To: a fool in paradise

Pay people $20 to do a good job of cleaning toilets rather than $6. Problem solved.


Not quite. You can’t pay some people enough to do a good job, no matter what the cost. Some people are just terminally stupid or lazy. Not many, but some. Even if you gave one of these people $5M to make them “rich”, they would pi$$ it away in no time flat. As long as that is true, you will have poverty.


17 posted on 07/21/2010 11:10:11 AM PDT by rbg81 (When you see Obama, shout: "DO YOUR JOB!!")
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To: Soothesayer9

funny how these “stars” make their living off the common man of faith and loyalty to country, yet once they get their billions, belittle that same group...


18 posted on 07/21/2010 11:10:57 AM PDT by cherry
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To: kbennkc
I never heard that, but it's surprising, considering he gave several interviews in the early 70's in which he openly talked about his time in prison, including a stint in San Quentin for a botched robbery. In fact, I recall that it was during a stretch in solitary confinement that he decided to turn his life around. Interesting and strange. He's not been shy about his past - at least in the past...


19 posted on 07/21/2010 11:13:40 AM PDT by andy58-in-nh (America does not need to be organized: it needs to be liberated.)
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To: rbg81
I can tell you the exact day we peaked: July 20, 1969—when we landed a man on the moon. After that, we listened to the Leftists, abandoned manned space exploration, and turned inward to fix “problems” here at home. Of course, the problems we sought to fix (like poverty) were largely unfixable, because they eminate from the human psyche. If we had gone into space (for real), a lot of current problems here on Earth would have been solved or rendered irrelevant. Liberals, of course, recoil at the thought of space travel. It is simply too good an escape route from their policies and it is too reminiscent of “frontier independence and adventure”. IMHO, it speaks volumes that it is almost 40 years since the last moon shot and we are nowhere near returning to the moon, let alone going to Mars.

Agree 100% on all points. I've bookmarked your reply. It neatly sums up everything I think about the rise of the modern liberal, and the current state of America in general and spaceflight in particular.

20 posted on 07/21/2010 11:17:13 AM PDT by Spirochete (Just say NO to RINOs)
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To: mojito

The lefties love Merle now that he’s spouting jibberish. I still like the old tunes.


21 posted on 07/21/2010 11:17:34 AM PDT by Poison Pill
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To: mojito

I believe he transposed his numbers. It was 1957, not 1975


22 posted on 07/21/2010 11:24:31 AM PDT by autonomist942
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To: andy58-in-nh
Yep, it seemed to be a clumsy way to say he would rather talk about something else. It was the same interview in which he surprised Art, by not sharing the opinion the importance of the death of Lady Diana was was being overplayed. My memory holds decades old things I don't care about and I can not remember if I fed the dog.
I love Merle's music and it always makes me recall long trips in my GTO. I had two or three newly invented cassettes and his was one of them.
23 posted on 07/21/2010 11:24:33 AM PDT by kbennkc (For those who have fought for it freedom has a flavor the protected will never know .F Trp 8th Cav)
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To: mojito

America peaked in somewhere between Gulf War 1 and the Dot Com bubble because of the foundation for phenomenal economic growth put in place by President Reagan.

Daddy Bush refused to read his own lips and raised taxes....BJ Clinton refused to acknowledge the brewing Islamic threat and GW Bush decide to play nice with the lefties.


24 posted on 07/21/2010 11:29:21 AM PDT by Le Chien Rouge
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To: kbennkc

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merle_Haggard
He was in prison. He was also pardoned by California Gov. Ronald Reagan.


25 posted on 07/21/2010 11:30:51 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: All

Ted Kennedy’s Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

A Boston Globe article attributed Barack Obama’s win in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election to a marked reduction over the preceding decades in the percentage of whites in the American electorate, attributing this demographic change to the Act.[3] The article quoted Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of the New Democrat Network, as having said that the Act is “the most important piece of legislation that no one’s ever heard of,” and that it “set America on a very different demographic course than the previous 300 years.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_and_Nationality_Act_of_1965


26 posted on 07/21/2010 12:00:41 PM PDT by VU4G10
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To: cherry

I know Merle, have known him most of my life. He has always been an a$$. He would have to have changed quite a bit over the years since I have seen him to not be an a$$.
I still liked his music though. ;)


27 posted on 07/21/2010 1:06:24 PM PDT by sheana
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To: a fool in paradise
"Poverty will never be erradicated in America because..."

...poverty will never be eradicated. You will always have some people who have less than others. That motivates some of them to work harder to get ahead, and it motivates others to declare themselves poor.

By 17th or 18th century standards, we have pretty much eradicated poverty. Our "poor" today generally have a better standard of living and quality of life than many of the "wealthy" who put everything on the line to found this country.

28 posted on 07/21/2010 1:14:07 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: mojito
Interesting documentary so far ...


29 posted on 07/21/2010 7:52:02 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Liberty Valance
I enjoyed it quite a bit. I especially liked the moment when Merle gave a heart-felt acknowledgment that the greatest award he ever received was the pardon given to him by then Gov. Ronald Reagan.

Also, I liked Robert Duval’s vigorous defense of the sentiments expressed in “Okie from Muskogee.”

30 posted on 07/22/2010 8:53:12 AM PDT by mojito
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To: VU4G10
Ted Kennedy’s Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965...

That, along with the massive Illegal Alien Amnesty of 1986, which Kennedy also played a major role in getting passed, drastically changed the demographic makeup of this country, enough that allowed a marxist like Obama to be elected President.

25 years ago, this clown would not likely have been elected to the U.S. Senate from any state, let alone even come close to winning the nomination for President from either major party. Obama might have won the nomination for President from Communist Party USA or the Socialist Workers Party 25 years ago, but that would have been as close as a clown like Obama would have gotten to the Presidency then.

31 posted on 07/22/2010 9:24:41 AM PDT by AmericaOne (Sneaking In is NOT Immigration!!!)
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To: mojito
"I enjoyed it quite a bit. I especially liked the moment when Merle gave a heart-felt acknowledgment that the greatest award he ever received was the pardon given to him by then Gov. Ronald Reagan."

The program was outstanding. I was surprised so many pro-American comments made it on to PBS.

"Also, I liked Robert Duval’s vigorous defense of the sentiments expressed in “Okie from Muskogee.”

Duvall is a national treasure as well. He doesn't speak out often but when he does you don't have to wonder on what side of the political spectrum he comfortably resides.

One of the best programs ever broadcast on PBS. I appreciate you posting the heads-up about this program. I might have missed it otherwise.

Merle Haggard

32 posted on 07/22/2010 9:58:43 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: NRPM

“I was a little afraid that he might get into Bush-bashing but he didn’t”

He bashed Clinton a hell of a lot worse than he ever bashed Bush. What Merle despises is BS wars that don’t need to be started in the first place and then abandoning the veterans that had to fight those wars.


33 posted on 01/28/2014 8:16:44 PM PST by NKP_Vet
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