In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 2, 2009 / 8 Nissan 5769

An American folklorist

By Roger Simon

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The sun had gone down behind the factories, and you could hear the soft sounds of Spanish amid the clinking of the Lone Star bottles.

"You going to have to talk to politicians?" Archie Green asked me. He didn't make it sound like something any sensible person would do.

I told him I didn't see how I could avoid it. We were in Austin, and the Texas primary was coming up. It was late April 1980, and Ronald Reagan was running against George H.W. Bush on the Republican side and Jimmy Carter was fending off a challenge by Ted Kennedy among the Democrats. So it seemed like a good — or at least unavoidable — time to be talking to politicians.

"Well, at least talk to them in the daytime," Archie said. "We'll go to the bars at night. There's some music I want you to hear."

To Archie Green, music was more than entertainment. Much more. Having been a sailor, a carpenter and a college professor, he was also one of America's leading folklorists. He studied music and folk songs along with things like fraternity initiation rituals and the topping-out ceremonies on skyscrapers. He is the person I liked to talk to instead of pollsters to find out where America was heading.

We were at Liberty Lunch, an outdoor bar, where a benefit concert for local farm workers was going on, and even though most of the talk was about whether Kennedy possibly could beat the incumbent President Carter in Texas (he couldn't), Archie was talking about Ronald Reagan.

"I remember meeting him at a convention of the American Veterans Committee," Archie said. "That was right after the Second World War, and we had formed this committee as a liberal alternative to the American Legion. John Kennedy was a member, and who else would you know? Oh, yeah, Timothy Leary. And, of course, Ronald Reagan. Reagan was the darling of the Red Caucus then."

I asked Archie what the Red Caucus was.

"Marxists," Archie said. "Communists, the Popular Front."

And they liked Ronald Reagan?

"Sure," Archie said. "Reagan sometimes alludes to it. They liked him then for the same reason people like him now: his brashness, his energy, his attractiveness. Look at what people see in him now: the smile, the humor. He compensates for their anxieties. And who the hell isn't anxious these days?"

Archie then explained the importance of music to presidential campaigning, why candidates were introduced at each stop by certain songs and why Ted Kennedy, who was associated with Boston and the Northeast, would always go to urban shopping malls accompanied by country and western bands. "For tens of millions of ordinary citizens, it is absolutely necessary to fall back on known forms that are familiar to their lives," Archie said. "For the blue-collar Kentucky migrant who is stranded on the Detroit assembly line, he hears a bluegrass song and has a sense that his life is moored to old values. He makes the conscious or unconscious connection between that music, old-time values and the candidate."

Ronald Reagan's advance team always played the theme from "Rocky" at his rallies, which always confused me, since Reagan was hardly the underdog against Bush. (He would beat Bush in Texas and go on to the win the Republican nomination and the presidency.) But Archie explained that "Rocky" was a theme of working-class triumph, and that was where Reagan was seeking votes.

"People are hurting," Archie said. "Their pride is hurting, and their pocketbooks are hurting. Reagan promises an end to the hurt, an end to the pain."

Up on stage, four women who had been singing modern folk songs about nuclear power and the environment began singing "Which Side Are You On?" — a song written during a coal mine strike in Harlan County, Ky., in 1931. The strike had been crushed, but the song lived on.

"Listen, don't worry about the candidates," Archie said. "It will be all right. Because you know what we'll always have? We'll always have what's going on right here tonight. We'll always have America."

Archie wrote eight books and founded the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. He was lobbying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to set aside stimulus money for artists, writers, filmmakers and folklorists when he died March 22 at the age of 91.

A lot of candidates have come and gone since I first met Archie Green, and so have a lot of crises. A lot of old anxieties have been replaced by new ones. But Archie was right: We'll always have America. And America will always have Archie Green.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Roger Simon's column by clicking here.

Roger Simon Archives

© 2009, Creators Syndicate