Miles Coverdale (manos74) wrote,
Miles Coverdale

Four Years On

A day or two later--shortly before Halloween--Nate got an album by a guy I'd only vaguely heard of: Phil Ochs. A folkie, but not the blunk-blunk banjo kind who used to show up on Hootenanny. the album cover, which showed a rumpled troubador sitting on a curb in New York City, went oddly with the covers of Nate's other records--Dean Martin looking tipsy in a tux, Mitch Miller with his sing-along smile, Diane Renay in her middy blouse and perky sailor cap. The Ochs record was called I Ain't Marchin' Anymore, and Nate played it a lot as the days shortened and turned chilly. I took to playing it myself, and Nate didn't seem to mind.
There was a kind of baffled anger in Ochs's voice. I supposed I liked it because most of the time I felt pretty baffled myself. He was like Dylan, but less complicated in his expression and clearer in his rage. The best song on the album--also the most troubling--was the title song. In that song Ochs didn't just suggest but came right out and said that war wasn't worth it, war was never worth it. Even when it was worth it, it wasn't worth it. This idea, coupled with the image of young men just walking away from Lyndon and his Vietnam obsession by the thousands and tens of thousands, excited my imagination in a way that had nothing to do with history or policy or rational thought...
Nate was still studying his cuticles. "What I think is that Johnson is sending American boys over there to die for no reason. It isn't imperialism or colonialism, like Harry Swidrowski believes, it's not any ism at all. Johnson's got it all mixed up in his mind with Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone and the New York Yankees, that's all. And if I think that, I ought to say that. I ought to try to stop it. That's what I learned in church, in school, even in the darned Boy Scouts of America. You're supposed to stand up..."
--Stephen King, "Hearts in Atlantis"
Tags: iraq war, politics, serious business
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