Tuesday, 26 August 2008

deny the legitimacy of difference, Murray!

I’m reliably informed by the one careful owner of a three-year-old daughter that a well-known brightly-shirted children's entertainment group has done a cover of the tune “Old Dan Tucker” on their latest release. The three-year-old cites it as ‘her favourite song’, which is saying something, because that one about fruit salad is surely hard to top.

Wikipedia tells us:

‘Old Dan Tucker entered American folklore soon after it was written. Its simple and malleable nature means that singers may begin or end it at any point or invent new verses on the spot. In fact, hundreds of folk verses have been recorded. These folk versions can be quite ribald. This one, recalled by a man from his boyhood in Benton County, Arkansas, in the 1910s, is one example:

'Old Dan Tucker was a fine old soul,
Buckskin belly and a rubber ass-hole,
Swallowed a barrel of cider down
And then he shit all over town.'

Tucker is an animalistic character, driven by sex, violence, and strong drink. He is ugly, unrefined, and unintelligent, even infantilized. As a stranger in town, his devil-may-care actions show his problems with or ambivalence to adapting to local mores. More broadly, Tucker's disdain for social norms allows the song to send up respectable middle class American society…’

It's unconfirmed, but rumour has it the group's next album will be a Kevin Bloody Wilson cover.

Aw, now. As we all quite well know, KBW is about "the denial of the legitimacy of difference" and "the politics of identity...in the context of the current 'culture wars' debate". Constructing the politics of identity; it's what all the college kids are calling it these days.

I wonder what Old Dan Tucker would have to say about that?

4 comments:

Pants said...

I feel you're not taking my people seriously.

That is, ethnomusicologists. We contribute to society, just not in useful ways.

Amber said...

Nonsense. Some of my best friends are ethnomusicologists.

Pants said...

Are they employed? I mean, as ethnomusicologists.

Amber said...

No, you aren't.

But when the apocalypse comes, and the rest of us are gathering firewood and figuring out ways to filter radioactive water, you'll be the modern equivalent of the medieval monks writing out our culture by hand, the druids passing on our history through storytelling, and the bards who carry our heritage in song.

So, you know. It might come in handy one day.