Friday, August 22, 2008
Lousy Country Star John Rich Misinterprets Johnny Cash's Life
"Somebody's got to walk the line in the country. They've got to walk it unapologetically. And I'm sure Johnny Cash would have been a John McCain supporter if he was still around." --John Rich, speaking for Johnny Cash at a McCain campaign event, and doing it poorly.
Nashville, Tennessee--To say that the boorish John Rich is a moron would be redundant. Apparently Mr. Rich is unaware of all the the Populist and "liberal" acts of the late country legend.
No, I'm not going to speak for Johnny Cash, because his life and the ideals he expressed are there for everyone to see, read, and hear. But let his works speak for themselves.
But in 1964, who else was releasing an album like "Bitter Tears-Songs of the American Indian"? On that LP, Cash sings "Custer ," a flat-out celebration of the destruction of the yellow-haired murderer of old men, women, and children, and 200 other cutthroats. Who was singing songs like this then? Nobody, not even Bob Dylan or Phil Ochs, and Cash got an earful over it from a very different--but similar--racist America.
And it didn't end there: as we all know, he played many shows in our inhuman prison system, out of empathy and an expressed belief that sometimes the men housed in those cells are merely victims of the times and blind justice.
If you know anything about Johnny Cash at all--something the McCain campaign and Rich are hoping you don't--it's that he and his first wife were harassed by the KKK because they thought she might be of mixed-race. Cash told them to kiss his ass, and that he was the biggest mongrel there was. He threw-in his lot with the dispossessed, the victims of American wrong-headedness and greed (his own failings aside).
What would he say to Rich today? We don't know, but daughter Roseanne's statements this week against those who would invoke Johnny's name and memory for their own agendas rings true, and John Rich should be ashamed...for the lousy, inane music he creates. Most genuine country music died in the 1970s. Would he tell people to vote for John McCain? It's doubtful. How dare you, Mr. Rich, you black liar. The exploitation of the dead continues...
"Roseanne Cash: Don't Speak for Johnny," UPI, 08.22.2008: http://enews.earthlink.net/article/ent?guid=20080822/48ae39c0_29e_67020080822219536628