I took this picture in Tippecanoe County…unless I was in Montgomery County. I don’t really recall where I was. I know that I took the picture around three weeks ago. Sorry, that’s the best I can do.
A short while ago I shared some political/topical songs from the 1960’s with a friend of mine. They were songs that I enjoyed back then, and still enjoy today. I knew that my friend would not enjoy them as much as I, but I hoped that she would listen and understand my political feelings when I was a youth.
Upon reflection, I see how silly I was. After all, my friend does not live in the U.S., nor has she, I believe, ever visited here. Also, she is very young, and wasn’t born until decades after the songs were new and relevant. What could I do?
“Hmmm,” thought I, “I can write out an explanation of the social, cultural and political references made in the songs. To make sure that I could do it, and to be prepared to offer explanations if asked, I took one of the songs and wrote an explanation. I chose “The John Birch Society” by Michael Brown, as sung by The Chad Mitchell Trio. I printed the song lyrics on left side of an 8 1/2″ by 11″ sheet of paper, and set to work putting my explanations on the right side of the sheet.
I tried to keep the explanations as brief as possible so that I wouldn’t have to add another page. That was my first mistake. I came to realize that what was so obvious to me would need a lot more explanation than a one half page précis. But even if I expanded the explanations, it wouldn’t work.
After mulling it over, I came to realize that even if I wrote a spectacular explanation that answered all possible questions, it would not work, because I couldn’t take my friend back to be in the moment. The song worked for me and others because it didn’t need to be explained. We were there. I cannot describe the cultural/political atmosphere, for lack of a better word, that we were experiencing without telling our views about the Cold War, Indochina, McCarthyism, and a ton of other topics. It was all part of whole that can’t be broken apart and then expect to tell the same story. I can’t recreate that, though I wish that I could. It just doesn’t work.