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Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity

DigiTrad:
STRANGE FRUIT


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GUEST 03 Jul 00 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Peter T. 03 Jul 00 - 02:07 PM
Irish sergeant 03 Jul 00 - 05:01 PM
InOBU 03 Jul 00 - 05:15 PM
Bugsy 03 Jul 00 - 08:43 PM
Rick Fielding 03 Jul 00 - 10:34 PM
Rick Fielding 03 Jul 00 - 10:39 PM
Metchosin 03 Jul 00 - 11:35 PM
Callie 03 Jul 00 - 11:50 PM
Mbo 03 Jul 00 - 11:52 PM
Metchosin 04 Jul 00 - 02:04 AM
Mark Clark 04 Jul 00 - 02:20 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jul 00 - 06:19 AM
Bagpuss 04 Jul 00 - 06:22 AM
Lepus Rex 04 Jul 00 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,andy mööer 04 Jul 00 - 06:57 AM
sophocleese 04 Jul 00 - 08:23 AM
Callie 04 Jul 00 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Peter T. 04 Jul 00 - 11:18 AM
Rick Fielding 04 Jul 00 - 12:00 PM
Jon Freeman 04 Jul 00 - 01:02 PM
Crowhugger 04 Jul 00 - 01:26 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 04 Jul 00 - 03:04 PM
Mbo 04 Jul 00 - 04:32 PM
SDShad 05 Jul 00 - 10:35 AM
Whistle Stop 05 Jul 00 - 11:29 AM
Jim Dixon 05 Jul 00 - 12:35 PM
Mbo 05 Jul 00 - 12:37 PM
Peter T. 05 Jul 00 - 12:52 PM
Fedele 05 Jul 00 - 12:55 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 05 Jul 00 - 02:11 PM
DougR 05 Jul 00 - 02:41 PM
Peter T. 05 Jul 00 - 02:46 PM
Whistle Stop 05 Jul 00 - 03:38 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 05 Jul 00 - 06:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Jul 00 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Gobstruck 05 Jul 00 - 09:46 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 06 Jul 00 - 12:37 AM
TheOldMole 06 Jul 00 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,Gobstruck 06 Jul 00 - 09:14 AM
Peter T. 06 Jul 00 - 10:04 AM
Lanfranc 15 Jul 00 - 07:38 AM
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Subject: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 01:59 PM

This started out as a thought for today, but there was one already posted!

Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity:

"Strange Fruit", the song about lynching that Billie Holiday immortalized, recently appeared on Cassandra Wilson's Grammy-winning album ("New Moon Daughter", which by the way, contains a stunning version of Son House's Death Letter Blues, and a song, Until, that made its way into the Mudcat Tavern Enterprise saga). United Airlines put the album into its incabin rotation for music through headphones -- and cut "Strange Fruit" out of the album!!!!!

One has to wonder what can possibly have been going on in these dimwits brains. Would it offend black people? No, obviously not. White southerners? ("Excuse me, we would like to protest against the use of this song because...um...because... er....?") Somebody? ("This kind of music is unsuitable for an airplane flight, unlike, oh, let us say, La Trovatore, which only offends gypsies."). What is with these people?

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: GUEST,Peter T.
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 02:07 PM

Sorry, that was from me. Computer acting up today. Also, it is "Il Trovatore" -- apologies to any gypsies who may be out there (and many Mudcatters are romanies of a sort).

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 05:01 PM

Peter: I'm not one to advocate censorship in any form. Unfortunately in todays politically correct world (Or nation at any rate) apparently UA felt they hada to to avoid offending. We live in a litiguous society. Don't agree with it but hey, I still think the 19th century was a cool period of time. Neil


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: InOBU
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 05:15 PM

I suppose it is the same thinking that cut slavery (for the most part) out of the movie Patriot. This causeing well justified hisses and boos from the many black movie goers I say the film with in New York City this past weekend in responce to a lot of idiotic lines to show the love between the completely free balck Suth Carolina Black community and the generally loving or mildly racist few South Carolina whites...)
Larry


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Bugsy
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 08:43 PM

I believe there is a superstition about the song. Something about it being very bad luck to sing it and people who recorded it coming to a bad end.

Maybe someone with a bit more knowledge of blues history could expand on this.

Cheers

Bugsy.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 10:34 PM

When the Airlines have the guts to show "The High and the Mighty" (with John Wayne) they'll have the guts to play "Strange Fruit".

Actually I CAN see an enraged passenger complaining about the song, the story hitting the papers big time, and all sorts of info coming out (like one of the writers was a communist) that would have the Airlines running scared. What would surprise me is if you notified us that it HAD been played.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 10:39 PM

When the Airlines have the guts to show "The High and the Mighty" (with John Wayne) they'll have the guts to play "Strange Fruit".

Actually I CAN see an enraged passenger complaining about the song, the story hitting the papers big time, and all sorts of info coming out (like one of the writers was a communist) that would have the Airlines running scared. What would surprise me is if you notified us that it HAD been played.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 11:35 PM

Well they don't have any compunctions about scaring the shit out of you! My daughter just returned to Canada on a flight from England last week and the welcoming music over the sound system as the plane took off, was by the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly and Richie Valens.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Callie
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 11:50 PM

What a great shame. It's not just an important song - it's a GREAT song. Don't know any superstition about it, in fact it's rarely heard in Australia, which is a pity.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Mbo
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 11:52 PM

I've never heard of it. What is this song?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Metchosin
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 02:04 AM

Ooh Mbo, surely you jest, one can't think of Billie Holiday without recalling this

Strange Fruit
(L. Allen)

Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves
Blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
The scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
for the rain to gather
for the wind to suck
for the sun to rot
for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Mark Clark
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 02:20 AM

I can tell you for sure, "Strange Fruit" gets played any time I'm on an airplane. I always travel with a selection of CD's or casettes to play during the flight and and at least one Lady Day album is always among them.

I heard a piece on Woody Guthrie and "This Land Is Your Land" on NPR this afternoon. They talked about it as an alternate U.S. national anthem and then added that some people consider it a communist answer to "God Bless America." They couldn't just let it be as a great song by a great poet.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 06:19 AM

Think they'd play "Plane crash at Los Gattos"?

Or maybe from a different Guthrie, "Coming in to Los Angeles"?


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Bagpuss
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 06:22 AM

Inappropriate films for aeroplane flights:

Alive

Fearless

That recent one I have forgotten the name of where the kid has a premonition of a plane crash and gets off the plane. Then the people who get off the plane start dying one by one.

Anyone else think of any (or songs).

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 06:31 AM

Bagpuss, that recent film was 'Final Destination.' Bad, bad, bad movie. The kid's vision of the plane blowing up is pretty good, though.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: GUEST,andy mööer
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 06:57 AM

Thought i'd add: Anything that even hints of plane crashes is edited from an airlines' screening material,I just thought it was kind of funny when I was once on a Japan Airlines flight and one of the news items was on a horrific plane crash in korea. The item itself was'nt funny ,more like tragic but it was a pretty unexpected thing to see on a plane.Must have been a nightmare for the people with a distrust of planes.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: sophocleese
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 08:23 AM

The latest Mission Impossible 2, starts with a plane crash.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Callie
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 09:05 AM

On a plane trip from Brisbane to Sydney I started a new book called "Romeo of the Underworld" which began with - yes, you guessed it - an emergency landing of a plane at Brisbane airport (blow by blow). What a small world.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: GUEST,Peter T.
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 11:18 AM

mbo, stop what you are doing, and go out and get a Billie Holiday album with this on it! Get off the computer!!!!Whatever you are doing cannot be nearly as good. Celebrate July 4 -- buy Billie Holiday albums!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yours, Peter T.
P.S. There is a rave from William Safire of the NY Times (not one of my favourite people, but there it is) about Ken Burns' new Jazz series coming on PBS in January. He says -- hold your breath -- that the series actually gives you a chance to listen to the music!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 12:00 PM

MBO, dig into your piggy bank and ALSO get Josh White's rendition of this song!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 01:02 PM

I don't know about planes but a group of us returning to Holyhead from Dublin on the ferry decided to sing Elin Vanin and that seemed to unnerve a few passengers.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Crowhugger
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 01:26 PM

Pardon my naivete, but even though I was aware 'Strange Fruit' was a song, I always knew it as a recitation. Literally a roots thing for us, I guess...


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 03:04 PM

Isn't United Airlines the one that's now owned by the workers?


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Mbo
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 04:32 PM

Sorry, I've only evet heard Billie Holiday sing one song "The Very Thought of You." And did I hear "Fearless" by Pink Floyd mentioned? What's so scary about that one?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: SDShad
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 10:35 AM

Mbo, I think Bagpuss meant the Peter Weir film "Fearless," with Jeff Bridges as a plane-crash survivor. Hey, it even has John de Lancie as someone who isn't so lucky in the crash....

Chris


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 11:29 AM

Mark, "This Land Is Your Land" actually WAS written as a reaction/answer to "God Bless America," which had just been written by Irving Berlin. Whether it was a "communist" answer is another matter. Woody was the kind of guy who would call himslef a communist one day, and something else the next -- anything to keep his free agency, basically (anything but a fascist -- his "machine" killed them).

I actually don't blame United Airlines for keeping "Strange Fruit" off their playlist. It's a disturbing song -- it's supposed to be a disturbing song -- and airlines (like elevator operators and dentists) usually like to keep things a little more bland than that.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 12:35 PM

"Strange Fruit" is in DigiTrad. "Lowlands Of Holland 4" also contains the phrase "strange fruit." Coincidence?

"God Bless America" is not in DT, but I did find lyrics here. It's rather short. Is something missing? It's kind of sappy by today's standards, but I don't see anything offensive about it. After all, it was 1940, war was raging in Europe although the US wasn't in it, so it seems like an appropriate time to celebrate "a land that's free" it contrast to what Hitler was doing in Europe. Why did Woody Guthrie feel that it needed an answer?


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Mbo
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 12:37 PM

I don't know, but North Carolina gal Kate Smith (Up NC!) singing "God Bless America" sure helped the Philadelphia Flyers win loads of games!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Peter T.
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 12:52 PM

Woody was going around the country at the time, and it was such a smash hit that he heard it everywhere and got sick to death of it, and thought it was a tad fascist. The original title of his version was "God Blessed America" (You can see it crossed out on the lyrics sheet). Woody was right too -- you can see the films with Irving and Kate (a fat, blond Valkyrie) and the massed soldiers on parade and they make you very, very nervous.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Fedele
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 12:55 PM

Just note that "This land" has got very classist verses at the end, and they are often omitted 'cos they are a bit embarassing if you (wrongly) sing it as a nationalist anthem. DT got the whole song.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 02:11 PM

Just a small point--Berlin had apparently written "God Bless America" in about 1920, and never used it for anything, and thought that it might be just the thing for Smith--

As for "Strange Fruit", I have always found it a bit disturbing as well. However I think that I heard that tape on the plane not very long ago, though, with the song in it--my bet is that it was removed because there were complaints.

And not withstanding what they claim, I have seen planes blow up in those intrusive commercials that they now can show on every flight, because the wonderful new retractable digital screens--


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: DougR
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 02:41 PM

Peter T: Perhaps I misunderstand you, are you saying Woody Guthrie thought "God Bless America" sounded fascist? How in the world would he draw that conclusion?

Jim Dixon:today's standards? Sappy? Who established today's standards?

DougR


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Peter T.
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 02:46 PM

Then, MTed, I return to my original question: WHAT COULD YOU COMPLAIN OF? What do you do -- and who is on the other end of the line or desk? "We would like to complain because -- "Yes, go on? what would you like to complain about?" "That song". "Yes, and why?" That is my question.

The alternatives:

1)Offensive to black people. That makes no sense. We're talking getting white people to remember what they did.
2) Offensive to white people. Who would admit it? "I am offended because it didn't happen? Isn't relevant? Makes me uncomfortable because of guilt?"
Reply: "Er, of course sir, you shouldn't be reminded of your guilt, we'll take this off immediately".
3) And? Not appropriate for a plane flight? What on earth has a plane flight got to do with it? They ain't hanging people from the overhead bins.
I just don't get it. Really. Makes no sense to me at all. I can't picture the scene. "Oh, stewardess, while you are getting me some peanuts, could you do something about this song?" "Why?" "Oh, I don't know, I just don't like it." "There is Neil Diamond on the other channel, sir." "I know, but this is disrupting my enjoyment of a black jazz singer who does such a fine job of Son House's Death Letter Blues"." Makes NO SENSE.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 03:38 PM

I don't think it has to be that people are offended by the issues, or taking sides on them. They may just be looking for music that's a little more superficial, given the setting. If people are on edge anyway (fear of flying), mightn't it be a good idea to keep things light, and save the more troubling tunes for another time?


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 06:51 PM

PeterT, you have come to the right person, when you have asked about who to complain to at airlines. As a disabled traveller, who often travels with a disabled child, some times, I do nothing but complain to airlines--

First person to complain to is the stewardess. but don't just complain to the nearest one, you ask to see the on-board supervisor, and don't let it go with an apology, ask to see someone from on-board services when you touch the ground.Then ask for the name and address of the appropriate persons to file a written complaint with, and let them know you are sending a note to the FAA, and the ICC, and your congress person, and (especially in the case of disability act violations, the Justice Department).

People complain about stuff all the time, and, since they can't really do much about late and cancelled planes and lost baggage, and real problems, they often bend over backwards to accomodate on mindless and insignificant things.

The complaint might have been fairly oblique, such as, "The song is very disturbing, and there are young people on the flight" and the airline jumped at the chance to make a change that was inexpensive, and didn't need to be negociated with a union.

In May and June many American schools take class trips--and, though most simply take a short bus ride to see the historical re-creations of a local tourist trap, some schools send large groups of kids on long, expensive, flights, to see historical recreations of national tourist traps. They don't care about the kids, who don't complain at all, will eat bad food, can be crammed in to too few seats, and will have had the time of their lives, but they do care about the teachers and misc adults, who will make the travel arrangements next year.

For what it is worth, you could probably complain that the song is not included on the tape--maybe they'll put it back.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 07:49 PM

A vivid picture can be pretty upsetting, and that song is a very vivid picture indeed, even though it's done in sound.

If I'm watching the news and shots of something horrible happening, I find myself turning off or turning away, because I can't take it sometimes. That's probably one reason I spend so much time on the Mudcat - our spats are a lot less bloody.

There's always a controversy about how far news broadcasts or newspapers should go in shiowing the public some of the horrible images that comes from wars and suchlike. How far should they keep them until after the children are supposed to be in bed, and how far should they refrain from publishing at all.

When they do publish something extreme they get blamed (sometimes justifiably) for exploiting people; when they don't, they get accused (again sometimes rightly) of censorship.

This isn't to say the airline is right in this case, but it is to say there are some arguments that might back them up.

I think a lot would depend on the technology involved, and I don't know anything about US domestic airlines - if the listeners have the power to pick the songs they want, I don't think there's any case for removing the song. If they have to take what they are given, the kind of arguments I mentioned are relevant. On any airliner there are some people on the edge of falling to pieces anyway.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: GUEST,Gobstruck
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 09:46 PM

M.Ted:

Peter DIDN"T ask who to complain to at airlines, but you felt constrained to tell him anyway, in infinite, painful detail, like he was a retarded three-year old.

How do you bear up under the strain of knowing absolutely EVERYTHING?

And thanks for condescending to come down from Olympus and mixing with us mere mortals.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 06 Jul 00 - 12:37 AM

PeterT said, and I quote: "Then, MTed, I return to my original question: WHAT COULD YOU COMPLAIN OF? What do you do -- and who is on the other end of the line or desk? "We would like to complain because -- "Yes, go on? what would you like to complain about?" "That song". "Yes, and why?" That is my question."

You don't have to read it if you don't want to.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: TheOldMole
Date: 06 Jul 00 - 03:21 AM

The "massed soldiers" in the 40s may have had something of a different connotation for most folks.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: GUEST,Gobstruck
Date: 06 Jul 00 - 09:14 AM

M.Ted:

Now, concentrate, really hard, and see if you can recognize the difference between "WHAT" and "WHO".

Got it?

Shouldn't be too hard for someone of your massive intellect, if you give it a chance.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Jul 00 - 10:04 AM

Don't worry about it Gobstruck, whatever MTed says is interesting to me. You should get him on music theory some time! Next time I am taking a plane flight, I am getting him to come along as my designated complainer. I am really bad at it -- I get flustered and lose the smart remark I had on the tip of my tongue. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Another Piece of Mindless Stupidity
From: Lanfranc
Date: 15 Jul 00 - 07:38 AM

Just picked up on this thread again.

One song that might have passengers reaching for their sickbags (for at least two reasons!) could be the Everly Brothers "Ebony Eyes".

I always used to travel with a large hardback book entitled "The Human Factor in Air Accidents". I came to regard it as a good luck token, but always thought it might raise a smile with any rescuers or accident investigators.


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