|Joan Baez – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down Lyrics||7 years ago|
I'm astonished that none of these commentators (and apparently not even Joan Baez) has noted the twisted political implications of this song, particularly in the historical context when it was composed and sung. It is a nostalgic paean to "old Dixie," whose political and economic order was based on the enslavement and brutalization of millions of African Americans. It is not, as some might say, the celebration of a morally neutral "heritage." It is an elegy to the poor white advocates of the Confederacy sung at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.
Instead of testifying to the evil of enslavement and the evil that so many poor boys killed and died in its defense, this song pretends that what's sad is that the old South was forced to change.
What's most disgusting, though, is that this 1960s nostalgia for the old South (including the sudden insertion of the Confederate flag design into state flags all over the South) is obviously a thinly-veiled metaphor and populist emblem of poor whites' wish to preserve their superiority to black people at a time when black Americans were rightly demanding human equality for people of all colors and classes. Shame on them and on the composers and singers of this song.
I am so disappointed by the lack of critical discourse around this popular and seductively beautiful song.
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