Leave a comment

From Bob’s archive: Doves and hawks

This is another one from the archive, from August 2007, when everything was about the Iraq war, and it seems like a good addition to the recent country music posts.

“A dove with claws”
I take this from a post on Shagya Blog, linking to a piece in In These Times that I linked to a while back. It comes from the great Johnny Cash, talking about the Vietnam war:

This past January we took our entire show, along with my wife June, we went to Long Bien Air Force Base near Saigon. And a reporter friend of mine asked, said, “That makes you a hawk, doesn’t it?” And I said, “No, that don’t make me a hawk. No. No, that don’t make me a hawk.” But I said, “If you watch the helicopters bring in the wounded boys, then you go into the wards and sing for ’em and try to do your best to cheer them up so that they can get back home, it might make you a dove with claws.”

Wade Tatangelo characterises Cash’s position as “anti-war/pro-soldier”, which is not a bad place to be. More here/here.

“An untamed hawk”
Merle Haggard takes it one step further. Asked “Do you feel like a dove with claws these days?” He replied:

How about an untamed hawk? I’m not going to be a part of the mainstream ever. I’m an American, and I think America is about differences of opinion, and it’s also about integrity and honesty and all those things. We need to gain that respect and that reputation around the world again, as well as in the middle of this country. I think the average American is in a state of confusion as to what to do or who to turn to for help.

By strange and extraordinary coincidence, Haggard’s wonderful “I wonder if they ever think of me” has just come on my shuffle. The opening line is “There’s not much a man can do inside a prison”, pretty raw for the time. After lamenting the prisoner’s loneliness for a couple of verses, you suddenly get this:

I wonder if they know that I’m still living
And still proud to be a part of Uncle Sam
I wonder if they think I died of hunger
In this rotten prison camp in VietNam.

About bobfrombrockley

South London family man. Eating bacon bagels on the 171 bus, listening to Johnny Cash while reading Hannah Arendt, the kid next to me playing dubstep on his telephone. Mostly politics at http://brockley.blogspot.com and mostly music at https://bobsbeat.wordpress.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: