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Ron Radosh: British Folkie Billy Bragg Honors Rachel Corrie

Posted on June 8 2010 5:26 am
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by Ron Radosh

Thanks to Sean Curnyn, the proprietor of the wonderful website, I have just learned that the British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg wrote one of the most vile and vicious songs honoring a terrorist dupe, the late Rachel Corrie. Bragg wrote it a few years ago, but until now (fortunately) I had not heard of it.(If you’re not familiar with the real story, please refer to the open letter I wrote a few years ago, which is available here.)

Bragg, as many of you undoubtedly know, is a British leftie who considers himself someone in the tradition of both Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. With this song, as well as some of his other rather didactic and crude lyrics, he proves himself instead to be anything but a singer who gets what Bob Dylan is all about. Dylan, as most anyone who knows something about him realizes, is a subtle artist who eschews the kind of political venom that Bragg indulges in. Indeed, it was decades ago, in fact rather early in his long career, that Dylan abandoned the Old Left milieu that others were trying to force him into. His college friends in Minnesota have written about how all their attempts to indoctrinate him came to naught, as did Dave Van Ronk in his own memoir.

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