Like Fathers, Like Sons
This morning, if you can cast your memory back all the way there, a few hours, I wrote a piece about how the legendary folksinger Woody Guthrie hated his racist landlord, Fred Trump, as it happens the father of Donald -- who has publicly stated that "My legacy has its roots in my father's legacy."
During the day, something was nagging at me, and finally I realized what. It all had reminded me of an article I'd written here a two years ago about the Koch Brothers and their father -- and it too, oddly enough, touches on folksingers, as well. (In fact, it was the folk song aspect that prompted me to post it.) So, I thought it appropriate to revisit that piece. Here it is.
The Nuts Don't Fall Far from the Tree
I'd always loved this song, and it's amazing how much resonance it's taken on today, 51 years after it was written as a political satire. And today, I don't think it can be played enough, to put the proper perspective on something deeply relevant today. I'll get to that in a minute.
The John Birch Society was a lunatic. extreme right-wing anti-Communist fringe group that reached its peak in the 1950s and early 1960s, so deeply out of touch with reality that even most Republicans tried to distance themselves from the crazies. (This was a time when there were moderate and even liberal Republicans, mind you.)
So over-the-edge wingnut was it that the folk music group the Chad Mitchell Trio not only recorded a song making fun of Birchers, but it was even reasonably popular. There is no subtlety to it, where you have to read between the lines. It's all laid out there bluntly (and hilarious) to scathing ridicule.
The song was written by the Michael Brown, who among his other songs was the equally funny and pointed, "The Ballad of Lizzie Borden," written for the famous show New Faces of 1952. (Another up-and-coming songwriter who wrote for that show was a fellow named Sheldon Harnick.) [NOTE: here's a link to "Lizzie Borden."]
Why is it so relevant even today?
The John Birch Society was co-founded by a fellow named Fred Koch. If that last name is familiar to you, it's because he's the father of David and Charles Koch.
So, here then from 1962 is "The John Birch Society."
Where the Koch Brothers come from.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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