May Day Jukebox and Open Thread



Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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61 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    A request to make me feel old: How many of you have never heard this song before?Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      I am 32 and now this song. I’ve seen documentaries on it. I’ve used it theaterical productions (SLAVS by Tony Kushner), etc. I even know the Red Flag/

      Though I suspect many people in my generation do not know this song.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    It’s a fine anthem, but you’ll excuse me if I can’t exactly endorse it.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      That’s the point, isn’t it? Never again.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      The Far Left was much better at song-writing than the Far Right. I don’t think that anybody will doubt me on this.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I would put Wagner up against most musicians.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          C’mon. we all know that the Nazis were left-liberals. Where are your libertarian marching songs?

          Fun fact: the tune to Deutschland Uber Alles was written by Franz Joseph Haydn, though the original words were the far less offensive “God save Kaiser Francis”.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            You know who else liked Haydn?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            More seriously, I don’t hold Wagner’s later fans against him. That said, he was conservative (for one of the thirteen definitions of conservative out there) as these things kinda go. Yes, even while inventing Heavy Metal.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

              Wagner was an anti-semitic SOB. His later fans didn’t have to distort his ideas at all.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Have we had the discussion of “whether/how to separate the art from the artist” yet?

                It’s usually a good one.Report

              • Avatar dhex says:

                the arts-oriented blog has a no politics rule, though!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, we don’t have to have it *THERE*.Report

              • Avatar dhex says:

                unfortunately it’s a fun/not fun discussion to have because it’ll mostly be a redux of that ben carson post, because the same general forces are at work. we want to agree with those we feel connection to, especially artists and other cultural leaders/”leaders”.

                and when they fail on some level, from the trivial to the what the hell is your problem get out of my house, a lot of folks find it personally harmful. even if the artist in question is dead.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                But there are a lot of weird compartmentalizations with art, though. I’m irritated at, for example, M. Scott Peck (to this day) while it’s possible for me to enjoy a Ric Flair match or a George Harrison song. (Hell, pick a Rock and Roll musician.)Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                What would make you dislike The Quiet One?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                He had, shall we say, a wandering eye.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                With Wagner it gets even trickier because his nationalism and its attendant anti-semitism were driving forces behind much of his work, particularly in the Bayreuth days (the Wagner of the later Ring Cycle more than the Wagner of Tristan und Isolde).

                Poor Cosima.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I had also looked at the Pete Seeger version of this song and thought “nah, that’d be too… something.” Now I’m wishing I had picked that version.

                Well, it didn’t have the pictures, I guess.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Then we’d have gotten into a heated discussion about how he’s no Woody Guthrie.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                And Arlo’s close, but no Seegar.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer says:

                Cosima was one of the driving forces behind his anti-Semitism.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                My impression was that it was the other way around. That is, she was a bit of an anti-semite, and Wagner made her a raging one.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                We were talking about the guy: you don’t hold his fans against him, he was a conservative, etc. If you want to talk about The Ring, we could do that too. But it’s a long conversation.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The guy himself was such a jerk that Nietzsche said “that guy is a pompous jerk”.

                Good composer, though.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                He influenced Quadrophenia, of all things.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie says:

                Wagner’s views on musicians in general have influenced nearly everyone after him.
                No longer simple craftsmen – and the ones that are, get denigrated for being such. [not “Great Artists”]Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            On a Jewish usenet group, somebody once pointed out that you can make Adom Olam into rousing Jewish anthem by singing it to the tune of Deutscland Ăśber Alles.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Wagner was a composer, not a song-writer. What was rousing Far Rigjt anthem?Report

          • Avatar trumwill mobile says:

            Once you introduce (politically-charged) lyrics, it becomes nearly impossible for miost people ro separate ideology from content. I mean, it just zo happens that the stuff we fins ourselves on the way opposite side of us is artistically inferior.Report

      • Avatar DavidT says:

        “Remember the war against Franco?
        That’s the kind in which each of us belongs.
        Though he may have won all the battles,
        We had all the good songs!”
        –Tom Lehrer, “The Folk Song Army”

        More catchy Communist songs:

        (1) Song about the Motherland: Virtually the second Soviet national anthem from the time it was introduced in the movie *Circus* in 1936.

        Even labor camp prisoners sang–in some cases *sincerely*–“I know of no other country/Where a man can breathe so free.”

        By the way, *Circus* is available with English subtitles at

        It is not by any means entirely a bad movie, despite it being propaganda for Stalin’s USSR The opening scene of “Marion Dixon” almost being lynched for having a black child is, alas, all too plausible. And the scene where Solomon Mikhoels serenades the litle boy in Yiddish–a rebuke to Hitler’s anti-semitism–is actually more poignant today than when it was filmed because of the fact that Mikhoels would later be murdered by Stalin…

        (2) Aviators March (“Higher and Higher”). Contains the quintessential Communist line “We were born to make fairy tales come true.”

        And of course

        (3) Hymn of the Soviet Union (now back with new lyrics–by the original lyricist!– as anthem of the Russian Federation under Putin). For Paul Robeson’s rendition of an English translation of the original, see


      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        The Far Left was much better at song-writing than the Far Right.

        Writing songs is clearly a substitute activity for those who lack the mad skillz to actually gain power.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    You might recall that the original anthem of the animals in Animal Farm was Beasts of England, whose tune is described as “sounding like a combination of ‘La Cucaracha’ and ‘Oh My Darling, Clementine'”. That’s Orwell making fun of the Internationale.

    Of course, it dates from the benighted days before we all realized that freedom means the freedom to burn to death in a sweatshop. We were so young!Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      It is easy to make fun of the pompous Stalinist version form the 1930s but it was originally composed by one of the fighters for the Paris Commune in the 1870s. We can make fun of it now but to millions of worker’s in the days of Lochner it was a uniting song and a promise of a better life. Plus it was sung more up-tempo like the Read Flag.Report

  4. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Ooooh, open thread! Here’s a fun article to read:

    Ten Responses to the Technological Unemployment ProblemReport

  5. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    It’s been a bit of a depressing May Day, sitting here watching the snow accumulate outside my office window. Music simply hasn’t helped.Report

  6. Avatar Michelle says:

    I just had to email a link to this post to my husband to remind him of the good old days, back in the former USSR. I’m sure he must have known it by heart at one time, albeit in Russian not French.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    The Internationale is just a terrible song, musically.

    Now the Soviet national anthem?

    That’s a song.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      and in that same vein


    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      It’s not as bad as the Star Spangled Banner. Or the Marseillaise. Hatikvah’s not great either.

      O Canada is kind of pretty. And I really wish the Aussies had picked Waltzing Matilda when they had the chance.

      Here’s Albert Brooks choosing a new anthem. It’s space awesome.Report

    • Avatar James K says:

      Yeah, that is exactly what a national anthem should sound like.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      The Soviet National Anthem is great. So is Haydn’s original piece referred to above.

      I don’t mind the Star-Spangled Banner. I can’t stand what a lot of singers do to it, either through incompetence or improvisation, but it’s still a very nice song. And I’ve noticed that the only people who complain about it are lifelong civilians. Many veterans have a strong attachment to it. That means something.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        It means they have a strong attachment to what it stands for, which makes them less able to judge it objectively as a piece of music. It’s like judging how pretty a girl is by asking her father 🙂Report

  8. Avatar John Wiser says:

    Proposed far-right anthem: “Everything I Know is Wrong.”Report