March 23, 2008
By Ken Krayeske • 10:00 AM EST
C atch the Drive By Truckers in New Haven at Toad's Place Tuesday night. They played an epic two and a half hour show in Northampton Friday night. They led off with this anti-war gem, "That Man I Shot."
"That man I shot, I was in his homeland
I was there to help him but he didn’t want me there
I did not hate him, I still don’t hate him
He was trying to kill me and I had to take him down."
It's a long song, and the last verse provides the powerful kicker to reward us for listening.
"That man I shot did he have little ones
That he was so proud of that he won't see grow up?
Was walking down his street, maybe I was in his yard
Was trying to do good I just don’t understand."
As I danced in the crowd, surrounding by people trying to have a good time, I had to work past the buzz kill of security guards patrolling the general admission people. It made me think of Frantz Fanon's classic work on the psychology/psychopathology of colonization, The Wretched of the Earth.
"On another level we see the native's emotional sensibility exhausting itself in dances which are more or less ecstatic. This is why any study of the colonial world should take into consideration the phenomena of dance and of possession. The native's relaxation takes precisely the form of a muscular orgy in which the most acute aggressivity and the most impelling violence are canalized, transformed and conjured away. The circle of the dance is a permissive circle: it protects and permits. At certain times on certain days, men and women come together at a given place, and there, under the solemn eye of the tribe, fling themselves into a seemingly unorganized pantomime, which is in reality extremely systematic, in which by various means-shakes of the head, beding of the spinal column, throwing of the whole body backward-may be deciphered as in an open book the huge effort of a community to exorcise itself, to liberate itself, to explain itself. There are no limits-inside the circle...There are no limits-for in reality your purpose in coming together is to allow the accumulated libido, the hampered aggressivity, to dissolve in a volcanic eruption. Symbolic killings, fantastic rides, imaginary mass murders-all must be brought out. The evil humors are undammed, and flow away with a din as of molten lava."
Sunday morning, a time for light, fun thoughts.