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  • WI State Senator Saves Us From 'Dixie'

       January 07, 2005

    With all the troubles in the world, it's good to see that Wisconsin legislators and the media have their priorities in order. At yesterday's state Senate swearing in ceremony, state Senator Spencer Coggs objected to:

    the playing of the Southern anthem "Dixie" during ceremonies marking the swearing in of the new state Senate.

    The Richland Center High School band, which had been invited to perform by Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, innocently included the song in a trilogy of tunes it played.To his immense credit, Schultz apologized - noting that it was not appropriate to play a song associated with slavery in the Capitol of a state that so passionately opposed the sin of human bondage.

    I've never heard of such a strenuous objection to "Dixie" before, but apparently the song has been under fire for awhile.

    "There're too many symbols attached to that song and you can't strip them away," said Wright, a professor of music and black studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio. "It's a symbol of the old South. I don't know how you can clean up 'Dixie."'

    It would take quite a rehabilitation.

    Originally written by an Ohioan in 1859 for use in a traveling minstrel show, it became the anthem of the Confederacy and was played at the inaugural of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In the years since, it has assumed a life of its own, associated with stereotypes of a conservative, racist white South.

    "In all honesty, music is not independent of its culture," said Horace Clarence Boyer, a black professor of music theory and African-American music at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "The white people took it and used it to mean something."

    Some songs have a broad acceptance, Boyer said, but "Dixie" isn't one of them.

    "You don't have to explain why you're playing 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' You don't have to explain why you're playing 'America the Beautiful.' It has to be explained why somebody is playing 'Dixie' -- unless it's the Ku Klux Klan."

    It's just a song. I can't believe there are actually people who want to essentially ban the song from public performances because it was the unofficial anthem of the Confederacy. It's not like "Dixie" disappeared for 140 years and was just recently been rediscovered. In fact, it's been the unofficial anthem of the South all that time. And not just the "conservative, racist white South" either. The whole damn South.

    I think that the claim that "Dixie" is an evil, racist anthem is really just another way of saying that everything south of the Mason-Dixon line is not only Bush red, but a racist hellhole as well. It implys that there is no southern culture except for slavery and its legacy.

    Posted by at January 7, 2005 11:25 AM

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    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: KV Big Sis at January 7, 2005 01:30 PM

    The state senator did not "save" us from Dixie, he merely stated his objection to it being played in the State Capitol. And I'm glad he did - I think people learned something from the resulting publicity - you admit you did.

    As for saying it's just a song - if a group wanted to hang swastika banners in the capitol, would your reaction be "It's just a CROSS!" Would you write about the swastika's origin as an ancient sun symbol? I don't think so, because, like it or not, that SYMBOL has acquired a different meaning. And, for many people, the song "Dixie" means slavery.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: John Tant at January 7, 2005 02:10 PM

    That's fine, but I'd better not see Spencer Coggs, Horace Clarence Boyer, or any other "Dixie" opponent look askance at any criticism of rap music going forward. "Music is not independent of its culture" indeed. Groan.

    From where I sit, your average Fifty Cent single is way more objectionable than anything in Dixie. In fact, I'd wager 95% or more of the people who think Dixie is so horrible probably don't even know the words. And if music is not independent of its culture, are we to take the filth spewed on your average rap album, eagerly purchased by your average inner city black kid, as representative of their "culture?"

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Killdeer at January 8, 2005 09:17 AM

    So what now will some antiwar pansie declare that THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER as offensive to them? will they then demad it be repalced by some dumb song like AGE OF AQUARIUS? arnt you getting a little tired of these liberal whinning whimps who are trying to change the nation so it wont hurt the whinny self esteim? why dont those slivling whimps just grow up and stop acting like cry babies

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: kris at January 8, 2005 01:13 PM

    I don't think a Dixie and swastika comparison is valid. Dixie is a song of the south and was organically chosen as a representative song of the region. The swastika was specifically chosen by a political party as its symbol. Even after the Civil War, Dixie was played and enjoyed as a song. After WWII, you didn't see a whole lot of swastikas around unless they were specifically meant to represent Nazism.

    Finally, it's been 140 years since the Civil War and still just 60 since WWII. Perhaps in 80 years, even the swastika won't be seen as such an immediately evil symbol. You might laugh, but just think about all those Bush=Hitler people out there. If that's the world mentality, then soon Hitler will be just another Napoleon, or Caesar or Sultan whose specific evil deeds are lost to history.




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