Amazon.com Widgets RightWingBob.com blog » Rachel Corrie

You are in the RightWingBob.com archive.



Advertisements


RightWingBob.com
Another side of Bob and more!

Have you heard the news? he said, with a grin
The Vice-President's gone mad!
Where? Downtown. When? Last night
Hmm, say, that's too bad!


 

« « More on Israel, Gaza, the blockade and the blockheads | Back to the Red River shore » »

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rachel Corrie ...8:13 pm

With a boat called the “Rachel Corrie” about to be intercepted by the Israeli navy, I thought I’d reprint this post from 2006, which I titled “Philosophizing Disgrace”

Billy Bragg has rewritten The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (hat tip Clive Davis) as a paean to Rachel Corrie, the activist with the “International Solidarity Movement” who was accidentally crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza strip in March of 2003 when she attempted to block its movement with her body. Bragg’s performance is being distributed as a free mp3 here at The Guardian.

It’s excruciating to listen to — and this is from someone who was once a pretty big Billy Bragg fan, and still owns some of his stuff — and the lyric is atrociously bad, even if you should sympathize with its sentiments, which I do not.

Who is Rachel Corrie? Go see what her own International Solidarity Movement says about her (e.g., “she is the new Anne Frank”) or go to the Little Green Footballs blog to see an archive of entries about her and those who have exploited her death. Decide for yourself where the truth may lie.

Billy Bragg’s new ballad was particularly inspired by some difficulty in getting a play about her ( “My Name is Rachel Corrie”) produced by the New York Theater Workshop (it has already been performed in London and looks to be heading back there shortly). As Billy plaintively sings, “Is there no place for a voice in America /That doesn’t conform to the Fox News agenda?” That’s right, Billy: It’s all Fox, all the time, here in America now, even on the stage. Bill O’Reilly’s new one man show is opening on Broadway in the fall, soon to be followed by Romeo and Juliet, starring Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter. Get used to it.

It’s really too absurd to respond to, and yet the Dylan connection has compelled me to write this post. Does Bragg, or anyone, mean to suggest that there is “censorship” taking place here, as if anyone with the cash to put forth couldn’t buy out a theater and put this play on for as long they liked? How about all the royalties Billy must have earned from his years of singing songs to try and make Stalinism hip? Has he anted up or is mangling one of Bob Dylan’s great songs the extent of his contribution to the cause?

“Non-person” seems to be Billy’s latest favorite catchword, if this song is any evidence, as in the Palestinians “had become non-persons in the eyes of the media,” and

If America is truly the beacon of freedom
Then how can it stand by while they bring down the curtain
And turn Rachel Corrie into a non-person?

So, the Palestinians, who have received billions in aid through the years from the EU, the United States, the UN, and other international sources (while countless other people without the same spotlight on their troubles have died from malnutrition in Africa, or been murdered in death camps in North Korea) are apparently entitled to Bragg’s new elevating “non-person” catchword, as is Rachel Corrie, whose death has already garnered so much sympathetic ink and who has had a play written about her and performed to sell-out crowds in London.

Corrie’s death, at the age of 23, was certainly sad, not least because she did not have time to grow and potentially realize the extent to which she had been misled and used by movements and forces beyond her understanding. At 23, a lot of sensitive people can find themselves filled with a righteous passion against injustice in the world, and can feel compelled to focus on some piece of it and demand that it be fixed immediately. Which piece that is can depend on whose influence they have fallen under at that particular stage of life. Perhaps, given the time, someone like Rachel Corrie would have begun to question how long the people of Israel would survive if they displayed an unwillingness to defend themselves. Perhaps she would have perceived the restraint shown by a people with vast military superiority against those that sent terrorists and suicide bombers their way with regularity. Perhaps — maybe by the time she was thirty years old, say — she would begun to have understood that if Israel’s enemies ever possessed the same military superiority over Israel, there would be no restraint, but only another holocaust against the Jews. Perhaps she would have begun to perceive reality, in other words, instead of being seduced by the twisted glamor of “freedom fighters” versus bullying “occupiers,” and putting her trust more in slogans than in facts.

Billy Bragg knows the power of slogans, if he knows little else.

Bob Dylan’s original song, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, is a great song in part because it never resorts to slogans or catchwords. Dylan knows the relative value of songs which make their point without bashing the listener over the head.


He also knows a little something about how a people surrounded by enemies — enemies who are determined to see their death at the soonest possible moment — can be portrayed as bullies in a shadowy world where lies are often a lot sexier than truth.


The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive.
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin,
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Rachel Corrie
(Rachel Corrie demonstrating the burning of a mocked-up American flag to young Palestinian children in Gaza)

More from this site:









BACK TO MAIN



Original text copyright © 2004 - 2011 by RightWingBob.com
Quotes from the works of others are linked to their source or are as otherwise attributed, and are used in accordance with Fair Use guidelines. Contact: rightwingbob(at)gmail.com

Back To Main


NOTE: This website (which was launched in 2004) has NO AFFILIATION WHATSOEVER with an ebook from 2009 by an author named Weberman who used the title "RightWing Bob."


Right Wing Bob On:

Who Am I And What Is This Site About?

Q & A Series

Who's That Girl From The Red River Shore?

Prophets, Octaves and Blood

Tears of Rage: The Great Bob Dylan Audio Scandal (from The Cinch Review)

Follow the light: The heart in Bob Dylan's Christmas (from The Cinch Review)

What Bob Dylan Said On Election Night In Minnesota

Preserved in Desire

Mister Pitiful

Theme Time Radio Hour(s) with your host Bob Dylan (Dylan's show on XM Satellite Radio)

Argument With A Leftist

God On Our Side

A Christmas Carol

Chronicling Chronicles

Look My Way An' Pump Me a Few (Marcus, Ricks and Wilentz at Columbia University)

John Brown

The Whole Wide World Is Watching

Coming From The Heart

Also see: From the Weekly Standard, What Dylan Is Not

From First Things, The Pope and the Pop Star
-- Let There Be Music
-- Johnny Cash: One More Time

From The New Ledger, Bob Dylan: Keeping It Together

Follow me on Twitter

Also check out these posts at The Cinch Review:



Bob Dylan Interviews:

1985 20/20 TV Interview

Transcriptions of various Bob Dylan TV interviews



Remnants Of The Recent Past:

  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • November 2006
  • October 2006
  • September 2006
  • August 2006
  • July 2006
  • June 2006
  • May 2006
  • April 2006
  • March 2006
  • February 2006
  • January 2006
  • December 2005
  • November 2005
  • October 2005
  • September 2005
  • August 2005
  • July 2005
  • June 2005
  • May 2005
  • April 2005
  • March 2005
  • November 2004
  • September 2004
  • · August 2004 thru July 2005