It just doesn’twork

Somewhere in the country
Somewhere in the country

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.

2 thoughts on “It just doesn’twork

  1. When we were younger and foolisher (as my nephew puts it), we used to protest at university, as students do. And we would sing Dylan songs and pretend we were part of a revolution. I wouldn’t know the exact feeling that you were trying so kindly to recreate but I think I know the sentiment. Also, I seem to be watching a lot of movies that match the lyrics of some of the songs you shared with me. Maybe imagination will come closest to it but not completely capture it.

    1. I’m glad that you understand. In a similar vein, I can only imagine the feelings you were having at university. Which movies have you been watching? Perhaps I could watch them and wallow in nostalgia for a while.

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