A Pennsylvania Reader Wonders If Joan Baez Is As "Racist" As Hank Williams
October 15, 2011, 01:46 AM
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Re: Hank Williams Jr., THE NATION’s David Zirin, And The War Against The White South

From: Craig Henry: (e-mail him)

The war on the Confederacy is a strange thing. Mostly because of the newness of it campaign. Hard to believe that Joan Baez—a secular saint to the Left—could have a hit with The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down".

Was she channeling her inner racist?

And if we are supposed to shun Southerners who do not reject their heritage root and branch—should we do the same to those who refuse to denounce Stalinism and its American acolytes and defenders?

Oh wait, Zirin works for the Nation. If he denounced Stalin and his stooges, he'd have to start with the magazine that employees him, and his old editor Navasky.

Craig Henry runs the Lead And Gold Blog.

James Fulford writes: In a 2008 blog post, I wrote that

"[T]he evil of the Confederate flag is a fairly recent discovery—it was no problem for the "Dukes Of Hazzard" to have a car called the General Lee with a Confederate flag on the roof from 1979 to 1986, but it did become a problem in the movie remake in 2005.

What happened in between? A sustained campaign of hatred against Southern heritage symbols, punctuated by whining, griping, and economic boycotts.

In the meantime, if you want actual symbols of slavery, remember that Saudi Arabia only abolished slavery, (officially) in 1962, and they still treat migrant labor like slaves. If you want a symbol of slavery, which still exists throughout the Muslim world, what about all those people dressed in headscarves and burnooses?"

As for Baez, she was copying The Band's version by ear, singing, for example, "so much cavalry" for "Stoneman's cavalry.". If she's a racist, it's (weirdly) in the other direction, and I believe she thought of Virgil Caine, the song's narrator, as a member of the American "proletariat."