Using Your Microphone

“Stick to singing, sweetie.”

Those words will be familiar to many musicians. Artists in every medium have long been told not to speak out about conflict and injustice. They have been told that that’s not their job, that they shouldn’t alienate their audience, that it’s somehow unseemly to bring the struggles of the world into their art. Usually, this is just code for “I disagree with the stance you are taking.” To criticize a musician for expressing their opinions is to willfully ignore protest music’s long history, and artists’ important role in social change.

Since last weekend’s events in Charlottesville, and since last year’s election, I have been grappling with what that role should be. How do I, as a musician, respond to hatred and bigotry? What can I do when I see the long-ignored fault lines in my country violently cracking open around me?

Sometimes, music’s job is simply to make people feel good, to provide an immersive experience where listeners can discard their troubles for a moment. We all deserve to find joy and respite amid the tension wherever we can, and I believe that’s important. It allows us to continue moving forward, to continue the fight. Still, I sometimes feel like I’m quite literally fiddling while Rome (or America) burns. Sometimes we can’t be distracted. No matter your political beliefs, pretty much everyone can agree that America in 2017 is a country of deep division, a country where many people are underrepresented or under attack. It can be easy to get complacent and ignore those divisions, but we have to move beyond them somehow.

I’m reminded of Kaia Kater’s recent interview with Rev Sekou, where Sekou said that “There is no understanding of American Roots music without understanding the legacy of poor people who have struggled in opposition to elites. […] They are struggling to feed their families. And when they can do nothing else, they can sing a song. And that cuts across race.” That legacy is where my music springs from, and I am beginning to see that I have a duty to continue that legacy.

I struggle to write so-called protest songs. It doesn’t come naturally to me the way it does to Kaia, or to my bandmate Mali Obomsawin, who writes beautifully about the experiences and struggles of indigenous people. But until I begin to find my political voice as a writer, I’ll use the microphone I’ve been given.

The independent online music retailer Bandcamp donated their share of an entire day’s music sales to organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Transgender Law Center, and my band joined them in donating our share as well. Last November, we donated all the money we made on CD sales to the water protectors protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

I could dedicate several columns to my experiences as a woman in a male-dominated industry, but for now I’ll just say that I take my identity as a female instrumentalist very seriously, and I hope that I’m able to help combat sexism in music. I’ve also set a goal to spend more time amplifying the voices of other underrepresented musicians, and listening to them. On that front, I am deeply inspired by the work of my friends at Folk Fights Back, a collective of musicians based in New York and Nashville who organize multi-city concerts each month dedicated to a particular cause.

These are a few ways I’ve found to connect my music with my values. I know that I can do more, and I plan to do more. So if you disagree with my politics, just say so. We can have a conversation, and hopefully find some common ground. But please don’t tell me to stick to singing. Nowhere is it written that musicians must remain neutral, and I don’t believe that neutrality exists in times like these. Indifference is itself a political stance; it is a tacit agreement with whatever is happening around you.

I don’t know how we can overcome the rising forces of white supremacy, the dishonesty of many of our elected leaders, and the stark divisions that exist among us. I’ve been having heavy conversations with my friends over the last few days, asking questions like these: When would you employ violence or risk physical harm to defend the oppressed? How do we reconcile the America that enslaved African people and killed indigenous nations with the America where my Irish, Italian, and Acadian ancestors struggled for a better life, or the America that created jazz and bluegrass? When we call upon our communities to join and lock arms against hatred, how can we ensure that marginalized voices are included? I want to ask those questions not just in my living room or on social media, but with my music. Nina Simone said that it is an artist’s duty to represent the times in which we are living. I strive to accept that duty. 

Thanks for writing  and accepting the challenge.

Thank you for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Thanks for writing! I'm excited to see what comes out! (I'm an amateur songwriter myself and trying to flex my confidence in writing political songs, so I totally get it.)

Very well put, and of course you as a musician, or anyone for that matter, should be able to express your opinion. To limit music to some sort of comfort blanket, just making the listener feel good, does it a huge disservice. We look to musicians to stimulate with their views and harness its power to speak up for those who can't. Protest songs have a long and honourable history so please keep it going. I look forward to reading your columns. 


Sounds like another vote to promote Rachel! 

I look forward to reading your future columns, based on the quality of this one...the other commentors here have covered several reasons why it resonated with me as well...

Thanks for this provocative post and I certainly agree that a musician, like every other citizen, has a right to express their opinion and also agree with Nina Simone that an artist should reflect and comment on the times in which they live and she certainly got a lot of flak for doing so. But there is another aspect to the dynamics of an artist expressing political opinions. I recently got in a heated argument with a man on this site who claimed to not be a Trump supporter but argued that since he was elected he deserved to be respected because of the office he held. He went on to slander me by claiming my progressive/liberal views were nothing but me mindlessly following what celebrities said which was a real insult as if I couldn't think for myself but had to be spoon-fed ideas from artists I admired.

I admit I pay attention to an artist's political views and either agree or disagree with them and if I agree I will be more inclined to take their art seriously. But to be charged with letting an artist tell me what to think is such horseshit it still makes me angry to think about.

Obviously music and art are great platforms for expressing all types of feelings and opinions.

What I don’t find a great venue for expressing feelings and opinions is stage chatter from an artist on their viewpoints.   Those sound bites don’t have the impact and can’t accommodate the subtlety of a subject like a song can.   Instead of “Lost in the Flood” or “American Skin” you get Bruce Springsteen saying “Blind faith in your leaders or anything can get you killed”.   Beg pardon?   

I disagree. (NSFW)


In general I agree with you Rudy, but it depends on who is saying it and how they say it. Chris Smither years ago referred to George W. Bush as "Dan Quayle with a Texas accent", saying a ton with few words. Phil Alvin once simply said "this one is dedicated to Barack Obama", without naming the song. The Blasters launched into One Bad Stud.  At a different show he simply said "this ones for Donald Trump" and the band played I'll Be Glad When You're Dead. No one wants to hear long winded lectures, but sly, sarcastic quips, sure!

I love Steve Earle and I've seen him live numerous times and several times his "lectures" went on way too long well after he had made his point of view known.  I doubt he changed (m)any minds and although I agree with his politics I felt like shouting "Shut up and play".

Note to artists: Never put your left or right leaning "lectures" on your live CDs. Please.


I don't find his F you's or point about rich and poor to be as powerful as this -

"As through this world you travel, you'll meet some funny men, some will rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen".  

If a musician is going to make a point, I agree with you on keeping it tight and spiffy Jack.   No musician is more political than Peter Garrett and he didn't belabor his points when I saw him in May in TO.  He said Midnight Oil was on the road again because they felt they needed to be with what was happening in the world today.   And then they tore down the house.   I’m going to see the Oils again next Friday too.      

Isa, Very timely discussion and well articulated. My Nine Volt Heart show will endeavor to showcase songs for social justice and other issues that current events continue to highlight for us. Kaia Kater will certainly be on that playlist. Sam Gleaves as well. I believe that the lyrics to our current generation's songs will become more politicized as the need to do so requires. I look forward to Lula Wiles' efforts to promote issues important to your social conscience. Keep the faith. Ed M

If the politics in the song need a long rambling explanation perhaps the songwriter needs to reconsider....but then again Rockin' Ronnie Reagan (who seems remarkably sane in these trying times)  tried to use "Born in the USA" and "Pink Houses" as a campaign songs so maybe the artists do need to lecture the/some listeners.

It's amazing that some people don't seem to go deeper in a song than the title.   The couples who lovingly hold hands during REM's "The One I Love" or U2 "With or Without You" for example.   

My favorite though was a city’s centennial celebration I went to several years ago.  The fireworks were supposed to be coordinated to music and two of the songs were “Born in the USA” and Jackson Browne’s “For America.  Not exactly flag wavers.   But then the first bars of “My Little Town” came on.   My friend turned to me and said “Are we being insulted”?   Nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town indeed! 

A friend of mine who sings at weddings always talks about the scary and inappropriate songs people pick to be sung during the ceremony..."Every Breath You Take"...Sting himself is creeped out about that one, as he has said that song came from the darkest period of his life and is about "surveillance"...lots of others...people don't dig very deeply...

Artists should be free to say and sing what they choose and if that's political then so be it.  A good artist can articulate their views in a way which resonates with their listeners.  No-one is forced to stay and listen if they don't want to.

Applying consumer pressure to get the artist to do anything else is to reduce them to the level of a performing seal.

Sing what you feel.

It should go without saying that no one should be telling an artist "shut up and sing," and the Dixie Chicks effectively rebutted that as well as anyone could in "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice," which was the best record of any genre that year.

That said, only the converted enjoy being preached to; to the rest, it feels like a lecture.  It's extremely doubtful that I've bought a ticket to see a musician talk about their politics.  I wouldn't contest the artist's right to do so, and shame on me I guess for having bought the ticket that first time, but when I don't the next time, it's shame on them.

I don't believe that artists have any greater insight into the issues of the day than anyone else.  Some may, but not because they are artists.  Dave Alvin's "California Snow" is not a great song because it's one with the platform of this or that political interest.  It's great because it addresses the human side, which I think artists do have a greater insight into (or at least the ability to express) than non-artists.  That, I have no complaints about paying to see.       

" I’ve been having heavy conversations with my friends over the last few days, asking questions like these: When would you employ violence or risk physical harm to defend the oppressed? How do we reconcile the America that enslaved African people and killed indigenous nations with the America where my Irish, Italian, and Acadian ancestors struggled for a better life, or the America that created jazz and bluegrass? When we call upon our communities to join and lock arms against hatred, how can we ensure that marginalized voices are included?"


What are your answers to these questions? When WOULD you employ violence, don't you know when you would? America ended slavery 150 years ago, have we not reconciled since then? It might be better if we just answered these questions rather than endlessly repeating them. Gimme some truth.

Hey Fake-

Feel to propose a few of your answers.

I do have one answer to a question that stumped the Trump.  "No. There are no good Nazis. There are no good White Supremacists."



Good talk. I'm not asking the questions, just trying to engage the person who wrote this.

<taps_mic> Is this thing on?


For me these are pretty easy. As a Jewish lesbian, these people want to erase my existence as well as those of my students and neighbors, who are POC and mostly immigrants. I think that deserves a punch in the face at minimum. Jail time is preferable though; I don't think anyone should die, period. As for your second question, it's clearly not. One way to start is to erase the visual vocabulary that upholds white supremacist culture: namely, the statues. But also the Stars and Bars. I was just up in northern New York and drove by three different houses with Confederate flags outside. Sorry but if you live miles from the Canadian border you don't even have the heritage fig leaf to hide behind. And if you're still flying it after Charlottesville then it's pretty clear you support genocide and murder. See goes for the Columbus statues. There are plenty of Italian Americans who didn't engender chattel slavery and genocide to build monuments to. But there are less overt methods through which white supremacy works: gerrymandering, overpolicing, underfunding schools and community programs and parks and public transit, college admissions processes, underpayment working-class people, erasing people of color and labor activism from history curricula, predatory loans etc. When Charlottesville renamed the park, they ALSO passed a "reparations package" which, among other things, provides for post-secondary scholarships and funding for the (or a new? I don't remember) community center. There's other impactful stuff in it too but my brain is more focused on education. That's the kind of thing that needs to happen across the country. On the individual level, if you are white, I urge you to go to So what does this have to do with artists? Not much. Things have changed with the advent of social media of course but artists still have more people paying attention to them than the average person. Protest songs are a start but they can also spread awareness of political movements, resources, signal boost, etc. That responsibility doesn't just fall to artists, of course. These are things anybody can and should do. But they can help lead the way.

Thanks for writing and engaging. I've said it before (if anyone on the ND staff reads these comments) give Rachel Raina's abandoned every other week column seat at the table. Clearly Rachel is a voice that has something to say and needs to heard ( a straight white evangelical agnostic male).

True Mr. Mutt...alas, I'm not sure if our support helps or hurts...I am a paying subscriber for what that is worth...Rachel has something to say...

Rachel would be a wonderful addition!  Look at the participation and discussion she generates.  Whether I agree with her or not she writes well and is thought provoking.  And can't there be an outreach to Alan Harrison while we're at it?

I guess it depends on the direction ND wants to go. Clearly  the community aspect of the site is relatively unimportant.  While a few readers want a (miss the)  vibrant opinionated community the curent content plan appears to be based on featured "stories" that provide a link to interesting news sourced from Rolling Stone, NPR, etc.....and to save the "good stuff" for the print editions.

Thanks for your votes of confidence! I made some inquiries and there won't be any new staff columnists in the short-term but we can hope :)

then hope we the meantime Rachel, keep up the good work!

Rockin Magpie...Alan will tell you what he thinks!

Based on his past experience at ND I doubt he'd be interested.  

Yep...he definitely quit providing content, but he does do a fly over once in a while...

There is actually a very simple solution regarding the one of the questions that has arisen lately.   We need clear boundaries for taking down “historic” statues and we should lay them out for the Reality Show Con Artist and his confused followers so we don’t go down the “slippery slope” the alt right is talking about.   We don’t want to lose George Washington from Mount Rushmore so let’s be very clear.

Any historic figure that has NOT committed, participated in, or benefited from treason against the United States will be permitted public display and public maintenance.   For any “historic figure” that HAS committed treason against the United States, the Alt Right is welcome to collect funds, display on their own property and maintain their treasonous “historic figure”.   They can also deal with any of the repercussions.      

As I am sure these “good people” are aware and often tout, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences and they can deal with those issues that arise.   They can reference Colin Kaepernick if they are still confused.   Now Mount Rushmore will be safe from the newly minted “Alt Left”.    

Unfortunately I think it's a little more complicated. GW had denchers made from his slaves' teeth. And Mount Rushmore was deliberately built on top of sacred land to dissuade the Lakota from returning to it. But THAT being said, we can't uncarve a mountain and George Washington is a central historical figure. In many cases I think the way to approach this is to create markers (I'm not sure if that aspect of Mt Rushmore is addressed at the park) and change textbooks etc to reflect the threads of racism that run through our history and our daily lives. But taking down or destroying statues is a lot easier.

It is complicated...the great emancipator, Abe Lincoln, during his debates with Senator Stephen Douglas in 1858, made it clear that he did not believe Blacks were equal in any way to Whites...this particular quote is from the Dallas Morining News after the debates, but the Chicago Press and Tribune (a pro-Lincoln paper) had similar remarks...and so did the Chicago Times...Lincoln was against the institution of slavery for economic reasons (money or economic benefit, is really the motivation for almost everything historically), and believed that those whites who were wealthy enough to own slaves benefitted from an advantage in the marketplace that the person not wealthy enough to own slaves could never have (I have no idea what Lincoln would have said about a Jewish lesbian)...truthfully, if you study a lot about Lincoln, he never said much about race, and people who knew him well belived him to be deeply conflicted on the subject, but in general, he believed that blacks were entitled to basic human rights including the right to earn from their own labors, but that they were inferior to whites in every way, which is actually what most people in the North at the time believed...they were just anti-slavery because their commerce wasn't dependent on slave labor...:  “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races … I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”...

So there you go...and that's the guy that set them free...

People say that the confederate memorials are about history, and taking them down is "erasing history"...the truth is that there was no pride in the Confederacy at the end of the Civil War because they lost badly and had no stomach to celebrate losers, and these supposed heroes were actually traitors who could've been hung for treason and would have been post war in most situations...obviously, they didn't erect any of the monuments until government sanctioned Jim Crow was in effect, and the South was violently persecuting Blacks via the Klan, etc...the monuments they built were not about preserving history, but about about whitewashing it and pretending it was something other than what it really was...if we are preserving the "history", where are the monuments that show slaves being whipped by their owners, or slave families being divided as family members were sold off to other plantations?...any statues of plantation owners with their black mistresses and kids?  Statues of slaves being sold at auction?  These things are are well documented in history as standard practice...yet somehow that part is missing when the Confederacy celebrates it's "history"...


Excellent points about Lincoln Jim.   The state of mankind isn’t the greatest now and we get uglier the more you look back into the past.   Lincoln wasn’t a perfect person yet look at what he ACCOMPLISHED.  Liberals think that everyone who runs for office has to be perfect and that purity test has cost us the House, the Senate, the Presidency in three of the last 5 elections and now the Supreme Court for at least two generations   But talking about Lincoln is exactly the conversation that the Right wants to dominate and it is why Steve Bannon was rightly salivating that Liberals will take up the Washington and Lincoln bashing cause.   We do that and we lose Independents.   Then we lose elections.   You have to WIN elections in order to govern. 

The conversation to keep out confederate monuments is easy – treason.   That’s an argument we can win.   Start talking about Columbus, Washington and Lincoln and we might as well do it in a classroom in Berkeley if the Right allows us that privilege after they change the constitution because they have enough states to be able to do it.                

I guess all of this presents a problem for a country which was established by conquest with the vast majority of the population reprsenting the conquerers. Australia is having a discussion currently about a statue of Captain Cook designated as the discoverer of Australia - the indigenous people argue it was already there and occupied and therefor couldn't be "discovered".  The arguements in the US at the moment are framed between the decendants of the conquerers as to which group of them committed the worst atrocities with respect solely to the slaves they brought with them or imported and their descendants.  For an artist to step up and attempt - generally indirectly - from the perspectieve of the oppressed is a difficult task and requires much courage as a substantial proportion of whatever group they come from is likely to regard them to some degree as treacherous.  I assume a chunk of the "stick to the singing" faction are expressing their frustration feeling they are being forced to choose.


I think the "stick to the singing" faction are just expressing their desire to hear singing, not political diatribes.

That is the other side of the argument points are true, but I cannot convince a certain segment, and I no doubt make them more resolute by stating the actual truth, and that was one reason why I did mention that the Confederacy was an outlaw nation and it's soldiers and leaders were guilty of treason ...however, your point is this, and I actually was making it for you is that most all of government is about the satisfying of economic interest...there were already many anti-slavery delegates during the 2nd Continental Congress, but no Declaration was going to be signed unless slavery was retained...Both sides benefitted from the practice, the South using them for labor, the North building ships and capturing and transporting to it is always about money...and so government is always a compromise bowing to the whims of finances to a considerable extent...we can affect very little by attempting to one up the opposition every time...but since Fake Name showed up with his fake questions, I figured I owed him a history lesson...

Indeed no one is perfect...and most people really don't care about the history because they are too busy with their lives and never learned it in the first you can't forget it...but you can't take your eyes off of the larger prize either...the GOP was so concerned with winning the office that they hitched their wagon to the most bankrupt of candidates, the Reality Show Con Man...what they make of it we will see...he's sabotaged them so far...but the Generals appear to be closing him off, and leaving him to tweet away...that's dangerous many military coups have there been throughout need hope that the Generals have a higher purpose, since Trump is a hollow man who stands for nothing...

" I think that deserves a punch in the face at minimum. Jail time is preferable though"


Who gets to decide who it's acceptable to assault and throw in jail? Serious question.

I mean, I'm not the one to throw the first punch but I'm happy to defend myself.

Fair enough but that's different from what you said earlier. You know, about jailing people.


I don't have much faith in the "justice" system but there are laws about assault. Unfortunately, the lack of arrests in the aftermath of Charlottesville (in spite of clearly documented evidence of white supremacists BEATING A MAN IN THE PRECINCT'S PARKING LOT) goes to show that these laws are very selectively enforced. That all being said, not all forms of speech are protected. Calling for genocide is not protected in the same way that shouting "fire" in a crowded theater isn't. If you're calling for violence then expect to get it in your direction. My humanity is not up for debate.

I have faith in one thing.   It is even more effective than singing, stage chatter and even “protests”.   Voting.   In the last election, a vote for Hillary Clinton would have avoided our national demeaning.   Yet many "educated" liberals saw "no difference" between her and the Reality Show Con Artist. Really?           

They are outraged at his moral equivalency about Charlottesville yet they made the same argument in the last election.   We get the government we deserve and liberals, more than anyone, deserve every minute of the eight years we will have of this charade.   Now let’s all talk about how great single payer is when we have no power to stop the people who can’t yet decide how many millions of citizens should lose their health care.           

True enough...and lots of conservatives knew exactly who this guy was, but they were never going to vote for Hillary...Mr. Mencken, the moment has arrived:

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."  

Mencken was better than Nostradamus, huh Jim?



He was Rudyjeep...funnier too...

It feels like 8 already, Rudy, but he's one and done, he won't go 8. Formal and informal checks and balances are already working, albeit slower than we'd like. He's 71 now and will be 75-76 by the next election.  His party doesn't want him now and it won't want him then. Same with the voters.  Those who liked the idea of Trump -  a non politician businessman/deal maker who would shake up the status quo and reform tax, immigration, healthcare, are finding the reality of Trump beyond their ability to suspend disbelief and tolerate his many negatives. Yes, there will still be some die hards, just not enough. He's neutering himself and that's about as good as we can hope for now. I hope.

"Calling for genocide is not protected in the same way that shouting "fire" in a crowded theater isn't."


No, that isn't true. All speech is protected except in very narrow circumstances (see Brandenburg v Ohio) . It's in the first amendment. Your "humanity" doesn't override that

The test before the court in Clarence Brandenburg was Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous "clear and present danger" that such speech would produce a harm that Congress had forbidden as established by Schenck v. US (the shouting fire analogy that Rachel was a case about a Communist leaflet distributed during World War I that sought to encourage men to avoid conscription)...with Brandenburg, the Supreme Court established the standard of "imminent lawless action"...does the speech in question incite "imminent lawless action"?.  That's the standard...over the years, the Supreme Court has wrestled with both standards...context (such as, are we at war or not?) and the ideological makeup of the court can affect how that standard is applied.  Attorneys are trained to argue either side of an speech and what that means is always up for interpretation and definition, but in general, you can say what you want...doesn't mean that you won't spend years in court and exhaust your finances defending yourself...

Having some "humanity" would dictate that a lot of things that are said wouldn't be expressed in the first place...but the price of speech being free is that one can, for the most part, express whatever they choose to...for the most part, limiting any kind of speech is a slippery slope that should be avoided...IMO





I think not referring to my humanity in scare quotes is a good place to start, friend.

Must be nice to go through life not having to worry about someone bashing you for the way you look. For the rest of us, the compassion you supposedly espouse is vital.

You don't know anything about me. My point is our rights don't revolve around you. They are universal for all Americans.

There's nothing more fundamental than my right to physical safety. That's true for everyone. What's LEGAL is that Nazis' and white supremacists' speech is not protected because it incites violence. What's LEGAL is that antifa and other vigilantes don't punch them out. But what's LEGAL and what's ETHICAL aren't always the same. If you think the Klan deserves a "fair hearing" then, well, stick to singing.

I think everyone deserves a "fair hearing". You don't?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Freedom of speech doesn't mean I have to listen.  

And while I'm at it Freedom OF religion means Freedom FROM religion too.   


Amen to exactly ALL of that...





Annoying when that happens...

Waiting for you to make a coherent counter argument Mr. Fake.....

It appears to me Rachel has won on a TKO.

I'm pretty sure Rachel can speak for herself. Or are you mansplaining for her?

TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsR.Mutt was one of the ringside judges for Mayweather/McGregor...he knows a TKO when he sees it...

Actually, this has been an interesting back and forth...

Fake, it seems you approach every discussion trying to marginalize/minimize the writer/commentor and their viewpoint by insinuating that they are overly sensitive and just need to get over it, whatever "it" may be, thier race, their sexual identification, the overt and covert discrimination that they have faced in their life...your tone is derisive, and that is clearly how you intend you get back what you put out there, and then act as if you are the one who has been injured...empathy is an endearing and necessary quality Fake...we could have real conversations about all of this if everyone had some...

Just so you know, the number one reason that humans employ a fake name on the internet or social media is so they can act like irony there eh?







I totally disagree, I am just asking questions, please refer to my posts if you missed that. I'm not "insinuating" or being "derisive" or "act(ing) if I have been injured". If you think Nazis should be attacked or jailed (as Rachel did), then I ask "who gets to decide the definition of Nazi"? It's a perfectly logical and fair question. So far no one has answered, they have merely attacked me personally, as you have done here.

Also, if TAFKAM is a judge then why is he using a fake name?

R Mutt.  Look it up. 

Should Hitler have been jailed?  It is not the fallacy of the slippery slope and it is not difficult to define pure evil. Should Manson?

Please look it up...

If it's not difficult then define it.

Of course you disagree...

R. Mutt is a real name...

Earlier Fake Name post in this same thread:

"Good talk. I'm not asking the questions, just trying to engage the person who wrote this."   

Current post: "I am just asking questions?

Who gets to decide the definition of Nazi?  Probably not a guy/girl who is identifiable only as Fake Name...


Correct, not me. So back to the question, who does? Apparently no one wants to answer.

I'd answer but for the life of me I can't recall what your question was Fake Name.

So let me propose another query.

"Who put the "bomp" in the bomp-shooby-dooby-bomp?
Who put the "ram" in the rama-lama-ding-dong?"

The answer to that question is obvious to anyone with good taste in music .....okay okay now who gets to define good taste.

I do.

I do baby.


And you did...nuff said...

Maybe no one wants to answer you Fake...that would be different than no one wanting to answer at all..,

Gotta be careful thinking in absolutes...

I was only commenting on the coherence of Rachel's commentary. She doesn't need me to defend her. I was simply observing.

I agree, she doesn't need you to defend her. Still waiting on her response.

Your question just brings us back to the beginning of this discussion so feel free to re-read the thread.


Hmmm...How do I make TAFKARM  a superlative? Well played Fake Name.


Make it a Fabulous Superlative...Marty Stuart won't mind...!

Wow, I'm so glad to see that my post has generated so much great discussion. Rachel, thanks for everything you've shared – I haven't had a chance to really jump into this discussion but I am totally in agreement with pretty much everything you've had to say on this thread. 

And thanks for starting the fire.

Here, here...

Thanks, Isa!

American Songwriter is wading into this discussion as well:

When I first heard Bob Dylan sing in "Desolation Row" "They're selling postcards of the hanging..." I thought he was being hyperbolic or provocatively satirical. It was only later that I learned taking photos of lynchings, of mostly blacks but other minorities too, and turning them into postcards were popular souvenirs from the 1890s to the 1920s. For supposedly "normal" people to do such a thing is about as sick as you can get and a sobering lesson about our sad history. Dylan manged to shine a light on this practice with just 6 words in a song.

Trump pardons Arpaio.  


Use your microphone indeed!

Yep...a guy who made his own law...we are either a nation of laws or we aren't...founders are right and Trump is the Reality Show Con Man...if you don't understand that, you need to go somewhere that men rule instead of law