Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pete Seeger R.I.P.



Folksinger Pete Seeger passed away.

He was a real icon, and a complex guy. From all I've heard he was a friendly fellow. His musical accomplishments are protean. He was great on the civil rights movement, and some of his environmental work made things better (he campaigned to clean up the Hudson River, where I grew up, and it is sure a lot cleaner now than it was when I was a kid.)

He was atrocious on several other things. He endorsed an anti-Semitic boycott of Israel. Worst of all, he was a long-time member of the Communist Party who spent a half-century licking Stalin's boots and working tirelessly to advance communist totalitarianism.

Tellingly, in the mid-1930's he demanded rearmament against Hitler, but from late 1939 to mid 1941 (during the Hitler-Stalin pact) he suddenly opposed American entrance into WWII, and then he publicly turned on a dime again and emphatically supported American entrance into the war when Hitler invaded his buddy.

Hitler didn't get nicer or less dangerous from August 1939 to June 1941, unless you're taking the Soviet perspective. The only asynchrony between Seeger's politics and Stalin's policies was when there was a delay in the telegrams from the Kremlin to the CPUSA.

In Seeger's later years he recanted his Stalinist water-carrying-- which is a manly thing to do-- but the tens of millions of victims of the ideology he loved might be a bit reluctant to let bygones be bygones. You know how stiff reactionary capitalist-roader imperialists can get.

In a sane world, Seeger would have spent the last 50 years (politely) relegated to the pariah section of humanity alongside Nazi-supporting entertainers and other totalitarian-worshiping artistes.

He will, however, be the undeserving recipient of all manner of hagiography and forgetting. But let's not be too hard on him. He had a lot of talents, some of which he used for good, some not. The same could be said for many of us.

We could all use a lot of mercy, and a lot of forgetting. I sure need it.

May God forgive his sins, and bless him. 

7 comments:

  1. He was a communist party stooge. When I heard that he died, I remarked to myself that I hadn't known he was still alive.

    I think he was really an idealist who just thought that communism sounded like a fairer deal for the little guy. It isn't really, and it can't be implemented without massive restrictions on freedom and personal initiative. Furthermore, even when it is implemented, it never lives up to its billing because it never abolishes economic classes. If a society wasn't a two-tiered system before communism, it will be afterward. The party elite represent a tiny upper class, and everyone else represents a massive proletariat. The party elite let the proletariat believe that they run the show, but it's all a sham.

    Seeger is a fool for believing in the hammer and sickle.

    JQ

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    1. Communists always get a lot of credit for their supposedly good intentions. Such nonsense.

      The Torch

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    2. I wasn't trying to excuse him on the grounds of good intentions.

      JQ

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  2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 29, 2014 at 7:28 AM

    You're a nice guy, Doc. Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie were troubadours of the political movement that included SDS, the Weathermen, and watermelon greentards. It may well have been his songs they were humming when they bombed Sterling Hall, gunned down Marcus Foster with cyanide-laced hollowpoints, and busted Tim Leary out of jail. Affiliating with such political scum is the one great regret of my life.

    Still, Seeger's "Turn, Turn, Turn" was one of the best songs the Byrds ever did.

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  3. If he hadn't recanted his hatred of capitalism, he might have ended up with a chair at Berkley, but I think you have to actually kill somebody to qualify.

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  4. Yeah, he finally denounced Stalin in 1997, sort of, more than 40 years after the monster died. Even Nikita Khrushchev didn't take that long, and he was Stalin's protege.

    Seeger - a useful idiot or a willing stooge. There's no other possibility.

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  5. I knew little of him because he didn't accomplish much to note . he was just famous for left wing reasons and some hit songs.
    I saw a good PBS bio on him.
    He came from privilege or rather smart circles. Yet he wrongly didn't see American values as right in all ways.(Probably not Canadian either)
    Stuff on WW11 is typica; left wing sillines.
    He probably thought music would be good propaganda for left wing causes but rock knocked them out.
    He was blacklisted as a threat in the '50's and today he's exalted as a great influence. So the blacklisters had a point about the issue of influence.
    They didn't as singers don't matter. Its a myth.
    in the end he's a celebrity for being important to the left wing
    A few good songs. Its sad and all the best to those who loved him or cared. I guess he is a bit of history although from left wing control of the media.
    .

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