Mudcat Café message #4030379 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4030379
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
26-Jan-20 - 04:01 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Haven't got a lot further with Harker, though his chapter on 'balladry' i.e. some of those who came after Child contradicts (as far as I can see) vehement assertions I have read to the effect that Child and all who came in his wake firmly believed that 'the folk' created beautiful songs which have been smoothed like pebbles in the sea whereas in fact a lot of them seem to think that once ordinary people got their hands on the songs they got corrupted. It does this by quoting from the people concerned. Even if you don't agree with Harker, his list of references and sources gives you lots of places to find out more and make up your mind for yourself; as a survey you might not like his bias or his polemics (and they annoy me) but you could use him as a resource, and I think that is perhaps why Vic Gammon thought it would be an indispensable reference book for the future.

Another thing that seems to me to come across (and this has been gone over time and time again) is that having decided it made sense to categorise a variety of songs as 'ballads' people had no clear idea where they came from and seem to more or less have guessed, while writing as if conveying decided facts. This is the impression I get from Harker and it chimes with the impression you get on Mudcat, to be honest.

There have also been problems defining what these 'ballads' were: there is a quote where Child writes to Grundtvig asking for a definition.

On 'trolling': given the vehemence with which opposing views are debated on Mudcat it seems unfair to tag one person who endeavours to enter into the debates as a 'troll'. There are it seems to me competing ideologies on these threads (none of which might be happy at being described as an ideology - though in the broad sense that is the right word).

I'm not sure that 'the truth' is ever pure and simple, or objective and ideology free, come to that, when it comes to matters cultural, but if I have an agenda it is that I tend, in vain perhaps, to distinguish 'ideological commitment' or 'theory' from 'fact' or 'history'.