Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pete the Clean and Pete the Dirty

A couple of weeks ago I listened aghast as the Ceeb's Michael Enright read this whitewash the late Pete Seeger's life and career on air. Here's but a taste of it:
He was by turns feisty, funny, insightful, argumentative and always fully engaged.
In a time when we feel we have lost agency over our lives, that forces which affect us deeply are beyond our control, Pete Seeger in his music, his passion and his life, shows us a way out.
As Bruce Springsteen told him on his 90th birthday, "You outlasted the bastards, man."
Seeger shows us a way out? Well, yes. But only if you agree that the "way out" is a cul-de-sac of leftist fantasy and self-deception. 
Here's another look at Seeger, by Ronald Radosh. Radosh, who once loved the man, and who even learned to play the banjo from him, sums him up like this:
In his last years, Seeger, who, in the period when the Soviet Union was briefly pro-Israel, sang songs in both Hebrew and Yiddish (including Israeli songs), gave his support to boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) against Israel, even to the extent that he handed over royalties from “Turn, Turn, Turn” to the movement. 
A great folk singer who contributed much to the American story, he was fatally flawed by the leftism he imbibed with his mother’s milk. How telling that a man who sought social justice, peace, and a livable world could, at the same time, believe that serving leftist tyrants was somehow compatible with his dream of universality and solidarity.  

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