Skip to comments.Pete Seeger: A Mean-Spirited and Vengeful Recollection
Posted on 02/01/2014 2:52:15 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
I first heard Pete Seeger perform when I was five or six, when I was a red-diaper baby and he was blacklisted and drunk. What I recall most about the encounter was that the tip of his needle-nose glowed bright red. He was performing for a childrens group of some sort at a time when his Communist background kept him out of public venues. His records not just the Weavers albums, but the early Asch 78′s of the Almanac Singers were daily fare in my home, along with Woody Guthries childrens songs. My parents knew Guthrie casually; my father once organized a concert for him at Brooklyn College, and my mother was Arlo Guthries nursery-school teacher.
I was not just a Pete Seeger fan, but a to-the-hammer-born, born-and-bred cradle fan of Pete Seeger. With those credentials, permit me to take note of his passing with the observation that he was a fraud, a phony, a poseur, an imposter. The notion of folk music he espoused was a put-on from beginning to end.
There is no such thing as an American folk. We are a people summoned to these shores by an idea, not common ties of blood and culture.
Seegers (and Guthries) notion of folk music had less to do with actual American sources than with a Communist-inspired Yankee version of Proletkult. The highly personalized style of a Robert Johnson and other Delta bluesmen didnt belong in the organizing handbook of the folk exponents who grew up in the Communist Partys failed efforts to control the trade union movement of the 1940s.
Im willing to forgive Seeger his Stalinism. Some of my most-admired artists were Stalinists...
(Excerpt) Read more at pjmedia.com ...
Same goes for that other fraud, Bruce Springsteen.
Thanks for the post.
I went through a rebellious lefty phase when I was young but even then I thought Seeger sounded phony, trite and possibly damn mean-spirited if you caught him wrong.
My sense was that he was in it, one, for the money and, two, (same as me) for the loose hairy chicks.
Thank God I grew out of it and in time for me to let my parents know how right they always were.
Those commie organizers systematically scoured the country, stealing every folk tune they could lay their hands on. They especially like taking Christian songs and replacing the words with communist propaganda.
May they rot it hell.
Wow! The author thinks that Brecht wrote the funniest song of the 20th Century. Guess Comden & Greene and all the other American musical comedy geniuses just can’t compete with a good German humorist...
Mario? Who just had to pay up for stealing his waiters’ tips? And who is trying to get rid of the hot dog vendors in Washington Square Park so he can move his upscale cart into the area? Ha!
Peter was another mason for brick laying on the road to hell with all his good intentions.
Congrats, Pete. You have finally been stricken from my Liste d’Merde. I leave you for The Ages to hate.
IMO he was a bum...couldn't play a legitimate instrument and like a few others, played his own stuff because he lacked the discipline to learn music.
Bertoldt Brecht, who once said of the victims of the 1937 Moscow purges, “The more innocent they are, the more they deserve to be shot!!”
Anyone who says he can forgive someone their Stalinism has already lost me.
Seeger was a presence at all sorts of demonstrations including somethat cold and did get violent. From their birth on, he always took his kids putting them in danger. An adult may choose to assume such a risk but the kids had no choice.
I’m sure he’s now with his pals Marx and Lenin.
Seegar and the Weavers put out the most stooped and insipid version of “Goodnight Irene!”
Leadbelly sang it with some vengeance!. The weavers sang “I’ll see you in my dreams,” Leadbelly sang “I’ll GET you in my dreams. The original is filled with violence and suicidal thoughts. Ry Cooder has the best modern version. Here’s the original. Not a happy-go-lucky love song!
Here’s Ry and Flaco. “I’m sorry you ever was born”
The Weavers version borders on the sacrilegious/ A total distortion
While I do not wish that on anyone, they will have their part in the lake that burns, and the smoke of their torment will rise forever. On the other hand, I do not mourn at Seeger's passing. I say good riddance to all communists and Muzzie POS too.
I suspect that Spengler and I grew up about the same time in NYC, and while I was not a red diaper baby, many of my friends were. They had gone to the “Little Red Schoolhouse”...no joke, btw...or to some other hotbed of leftist brainwashing, and in my neighborhood, the Upper West Side, they received more spiritual foundation at the Ethical Culture Society (the Jewish version of Unitarianism). Many of them went to Communist summer camps in New Jersey where they sat around and sang “folk songs,” or at any rate the 1930s leftist version thereof. Pete Seeger revived these for another generation and even added his own silly, clumsily strummed, tuneless propaganda songs.
However, I do have to give him credit for one thing: he used his clout to spearhead the cleanup of the Hudson River, which during my childhood, was an open sewer. Literally. You could barely breathe in Riverside Park when the wind was blowing off the Hudson, and I never did figure out how anybody could go boating on it. Much less fish...I used to see black people standing on along the wall of the marina, dangling their lines among the turds to catch eels. I guess they had inoculated themselves against cholera from years of fishing in this sewer.
There was also a tremendous amount of industrial pollution, so they should have been glowing in the dark, as well!
Many, many people worked on the project to clean up the Hudson, but it was basically Pete Seeger’s fame that got the city and state to finally focus on it and provide money for cleaner sewage systems, enforce better industrial waste disposal, etc. And now it’s lovely and I always go down without holding my nose and have a glass of wine at the café near the boat basin. So I have to give him credit for at least that good thing!
Eh, I read this piece and while he’s honest in his title and that part is all kind of amusing in a snarky way (and I really liked Seeger as a singer, even though i know he was an awful commie) but some of his other comments about music are pretty questionable.
Agreed. For example, the author states that "There is no such thing as an American folk." I suppose he's trying to say that there is no such thing as American folk music, and any American who claims to be a folk singer is a fraud.
That's just silly. Bluegrass, for example, is uniquely American folk. I sure don't see Flatt and Scruggs as frauds.