Last week, FOX TV host and all-around nutjob Glenn Beck assaulted one of Oklahoma’s beloved sons, Woody Guthrie.
Seventy years after it was first written, Beck now takes issue with Guthrie’s trademark song “This Land Is Your Land”, specifically two verses Guthrie added to the song four years after it was first written:
As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?
While those two verses are essentially Marxist, they simply speak to the injustices of capitalism in the late 1930s and early 1940s. You could even say they aren’t even an attack on capitalism, but on injustices and inefficiencies in general.
Beck calling Guthrie a communist makes me wonder when Beck is going to change his name to Joseph McCarthy. Maybe it will be a gradual process, starting with Joe Beck, then Joe McCarthy.
Beck certainly doesn’t let the fact that Guthrie never joined the Communist Party (although he had close friends in it) get in the way of his right-wing propaganda.
From the Oklahoma Gazette:
“They said he was a Communist,” (Guthrie biographer Ed) Cray told the Gazette in 2004. “Well, technically, he wasn’t a Communist. Technically, he was a fellow traveler; he was sometimes in line with party doctrine and sometimes he wasn’t.”
And what did Woody call himself? “Left wing, right wing, chicken wing — it’s all the same to me,” Guthrie reportedly said. “I sing my songs wherever I can sing ’em.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Beck has tried to find hidden leftist messages in popular music.