Monday, July 05, 2010

Whose Land is It Anyway?

Just about a week ago Arlo Guthrie closed out the 2010 Columbia Festival of the Arts in a sell out performance at The Rouse Theatre. Last week Alan Klein held a campaign fundraiser and was pictured in this story singing “This Land is Your Land” with David Glaser. Yesterday these two seemingly unrelated events came together as a blog post for me after reading Gene Weingarten’s column in The Washington Post.

Gene wrote about a recent conversation he had with Arlo. Arlo’s dad, Woodie Guthrie, wrote the song “This Land is Your Land” back in the 1940’s in response to “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin “which Guthrie considered unrealistic and complacent.


In the column, Gene chided Arlo for the literary license he took while writing the lyrics to Alice’s Restaurant, his anti war opus. For example, Arlo admitted that the “27 eight by ten color glossy pictures with the circles and arrows” were in truth black and white. This led to the following exchange:

Gene: Did you learn your ethics from your dad? Might it be that this land was really made for just him and a few of his cronies?

Arlo: You know, it's possible! I've heard that song sung at Republican conventions.

Gene: Ha-ha-ha-ha!

Arlo: Yeah!

Gene: Wait. What were you doing at Republican conventions?

Arlo: I'm a registered Republican now. "

"We talked a bit longer, Arlo and I, and it was amicable, but it all went by in a blur. My mind was cartwheeling. By becoming a Republican, Arlo Guthrie has shredded the last remnants of my faith that our hippie principles had any lasting meaning. How can he do this to us?

I'm a peaceable man, but if I had a hammer ..."

Very funny stuff.
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