So I listened to the latest Daily Shoah with Mike Enoch and Borzoi. One bit was about a singer called Early James that “re-wrote” the classic Robbie Robertson song “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” to be “woke.”
As the hosts said, it’s cringe. I got about half way through the Rolling Stone article and read the lyrics. It was so cringe, in fact, I couldn’t even really properly get mad – it would be like getting mad at the spaz kid in school that humiliates himself in front of the entire cafeteria trying to be cool.
I don’t think they are going to be able to “cancel” The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. It’s just too good of a song.
Before I get to the politics, I have to counter-signal Enoch on music, as my internet nickname is “Hipster.”
So, ok, I’m not going to particularly defend Tom Waits. Yes, Tom Waits is not a cowboy. I’m not a huge fan, but the songs I like, I like. All of his good songs are pretty similar, so if you’ve heard one, you’ve heard them all. I like the handful of his tunes that everyone else does.
But Enoch gets it wrong. Tom Waits isn’t “fake” – he’s not pretending to be a cowboy. It’s not even a “gimmick” – it’s a fashion statement. He is not – very much not – a hostile parody of a cowboy, or a rural southern country musician. He’s a hipster New York artist, and he doesn’t try to hide that, nor do his fans. His father was a real Texan, and a real American, as was his mother. But Waits grew up in California.
Also Enoch gets Elvis Costello wrong too. Costello was a “New Wave” act. His “Buddy Holly” thing, to be frank, was crypto-whiteness – as was “New Wave” as a whole, really. Elvis Costello has put out a lot of music, and a lot of it is mediocre, but when he gets it right, it’s right. “Alison” and “Watching the Detectives” are the absolute pinnacle of late 70’s analog popular music.
I can’t say I like the Eagles. I don’t hate them, and some of their songs are good. But whatever they are, it’s not music that speaks to me, individually.
But I can respect the craft. The Eagles wrote popular songs, and their studio work was the very height of that analog popular rock/country/folk, etc., of the 1970’s. These were the days when they had expensive studios, recorded on 16 track reel-to-reel tapes, and had absolute technical mastery over that process. The Eagles, in craft, were pretty much the peak of that entire production, until the synthesizer and digital revolution took over in the 80’s. They have top notch musicians, top notch arrangements, top notch production values, all supporting objectively good popular songs, both in lyrics and music, melody and rhythm.
Not my cup of tea. I prefer Elvis Costello. He also had top notch musicianship and the very best, top of the line 1970’s analog music production values. But personally, I like his songs a lot better.
Another band that hit the very peak of that particular musical culture – Steely Dan. Everyone else was playing rock or disco, Steely Dan went against the grain and played – whatever you want to call their music. Production wise? Pure sonic quality? It’s simply can’t be beat. Musicianship? The greatest in pop music.
Tom Waits is almost “spoken word” as the music is highly stylized, like Lou Reed, it’s simply meant to accompany the poetry, but unlike Lou Reed, it has zero kosher content, thank Jesus and Thor.
Steely Dan is more about the music than the lyrics, although the lyrics are great too. Elvis Costello had a balance of both, an excellent lyricist and a great songwriter and good performer.
Now even though Elvis Costello was almost certainly a lib, he wasn’t a shitlib. He was too old school to be politically correct.
Plus, Elvis Costello? He once got drunk and called Muddy Waters a “dumb ni**er” to his face – that incident, along with Eric Clapton’s on-stage speech against immigration, actually triggered the shitlibs so hard they started “Rock Against Racism” – later changed to “Rock Against Reagan” – because they were so terrified of popular music becoming a new vector of pro-whiteness in the post-Civil Rights collapse.
But, yeah, Mike, the Black Crows suck.
But Mike, understand: This is not “fake.” This is a “tribute.”
Now I’m not the slightest bit worried about Early James. There are plenty of liberals that like country music, both traditional and hipster country. But there are zero country fans that are “woke.” There are zero Antifa fans of country. As Mike Enoch quite eloquently put it, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down appeals to emotions that are pre-liberal, not just in the historical sense, but in the cognitive sense.
Forget Tom Waits. If you want to see Antifa LARPing as working class southerners, we have Redneck Revolt – utter cringe – and the John Brown Gun Club, also cringe. This is LARPing in the purest sense.
As they say, and as the sociological research shows, conservatives understand liberals, but liberals do not understand conservatives.
Case in point:
Go watch the Youtube video of the Punch Brothers covering the Randy Newman song “Sail Away.”
Then read the comments.
The “liberal” commenters make their disdain and hatred for Dixie and the South quite evident. They also truly believe that Southerners don’t understand what Randy Newman is doing in the song “Sail Away.”
The liberals truly believe that they are so much smarter – literally, in the IQ sense – and so much more sophisticated, in a general sense – than Southerners, conservatives, and especially country music fans … they truly believe that the Punch Brothers and their Charleston audience, just doesn’t understand what the clever Jew Randy Newman is doing in the song. That’s it’s about the horrors of slavery, etc.
But what is always funny about the woke is how un-woke they actually are. Randy Newman sings in the character of a slaver trader in Africa cajoling an African to get on the slave boat, to sail to “Charleston Bay.”
What the liberals don’t know, but hipster fans of country like yours truly, and almost certainly Randy Newman himself, do know, is that Newman’s character is a Jew.
The very un-woke liberals, knowing nothing of history, at all, actually think that “racist Republicans” sailed over to Africa and went into the jungles and kidnapped peaceful African tribesman.
Face it, these are the people who believe that Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln teamed up with Gandhi to free the slaves and defeat Hitler.
Newman knows, as do hipster country fans, that “Sail Away” describes the reality of a Jewish slave trader, not a “racist Southern Republican.” Sure, Newman meant the song as an attack on the South in the post-Civil Rights era, but sometimes the art gets away from the artist. Newman is the Jewiest Jew who ever Jewed, and it comes through loug and clear on “Sail Away.” That’s not the soul of a Southern Christian – that is the soul of a Jew. The mirage of America that Newman peddles to the African is the mirage of America that Jews invented, not anyone from Dixie. And despite his intentions, it comes through on that great song.
But the average “lib” – and that goes double for the average Antifa – doesn’t get it. After all, what could an Antifa possibly understand about the role of Jews in the Charleston slave trade? The Nation of Islam knows, but you’ll notice Antifa hates them too.
A couple of years into the Obama administration and when Youtube was going mainstream, there was an attempt to make a “viral video” by a “redneck” who “admits” that the Republicans had fooled him – and his redneck friends – with “racism.”
The talking point goes that white Southern conservatives are just white trash – no better than a ni**er, in fact – so they turn to racism to “prove” they are “better than blacks.”
This talking point comes from the Jew Steven Spielberg, who put the line in his “reformed Southerner” character in Mississippi Burning.
This appeals to the class prejudice of downwardly mobile white Yankees, the same ones who signal so hard to be “woke” because it’s literally the only way they can keep their jobs and not get “canceled” themselves.
But of course it quickly came out that the “redneck” in the “viral video” was actually a gay actor from California, who put on a flannel shirt and a ball cap and pretended to be a “redneck” who had “realized” the “Republicans” had tricked him into thinking he was “better than a ni**er.”
It fooled no one – except for the “libs” – because no actual conservative Southerner is naive enough to believe a guy in a flannel shirt repeating freshman year “critical race studies” talking points is a real southerner.
Everyone knows that Vermont is the “least racist” state because it only has like two black people. Alabama is the most “racist” state because it’s nearly half black.
Whatever anti-black sentiments a Southerner might have, it’s because they actually live and work next to black people, and know them. It’s not “ignorance” – it’s the exact opposite: it’s expertise.
Mike Enoch is known for “Anti-Semitism.” Is Mike Enoch an “anti-Semite” because he is just “ignorant” of Jews?
No. Mike Enoch grew up in New Jersey, and lived in New York City, and married a Jewess. His “anti-Semitism” comes from expertise with Jews – the opposite of ignorance.
Enoch is right about Early James, and no one is going to cancel The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. Early Jones’ musical career is already over. I’m one of the very, very few people who love country music, especially the most ultra-hipster country music. I’m in Early Jones’ target audience.
But I’m the opposite of “woke.” All the hipsters are hipsters precisely because it’s a white thing. Black people don’t do irony, after all. And if Early Jones can’t get me as a fan, who is he going to get?
Antifa types? Their only music is Rage Against the Machine, which was stale 25 years ago. No one who is woke could even allow themselves to like country music, because it goes against their class prejudice.
And they need that class prejudice because, in the new economy, that’s all they have.
If they went to college and got a degree in anything non-STEM, unless they are from a wealthy background and have an in to a law firm or a financial company – they are shit out of luck in the new economy. Indians and Chinese can do their jobs better. The wokesters are still white, which means they are just as racist as the most unreconstructed Southerner – and if they deny it, that just shows their white fragility.
So I’m not in the least bit worried that Early Jones is going to turn country music woke. His profile in Rolling Stone magazine is the highlight of his career.
If they keep this up, I’m going to re-write The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down to The Night They Drove Palestine Down about the Nakba.
Come on, dare me.
Khalil al-Shrouf is my name and I lived on the Jaffa plain Till Haganah came in Killed all Palestinians The Springtime of '48 With their tanks and their guns and their screams of hate But Autumn time, Gaza had fell Was a time remember oh so well The Night They Drove Palestine Down