Henry The K has left the building

Henry Kissinger doctored head shot

Listen to them fawn https://i0.wp.com/boingboing.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Henry_Kissinger.jpg?fit=1200%2C1008&ssl=1

Going about my business here at the old homestead,  I was treated to a snippet of news from our public broadcaster on the passing of Henry Kissinger, the puppetmaster of foreign policy under Nixon and Ford. The piece included a eulogy from Anthony Blinken, the current Secretary of State, extolling his influence on history, an influencer of which the current generation of media mongrels would have difficulty conceiving. Jaysus Murphy, they even gave the guy a Nobel Peace Prize. At least Obama got his before he started serious bombing operations.

Once Blinken was done with his little bit of praising Caesar, the news reader noted only that he had had the ear of powerful people right up until his death yesterday at the age of 100. They didn’t mention that he never did go to Oslo, and that this was due to the prospect of being arrested for war crimes. Kissinger was a major architect of US policy in the ’70s and particularly in Southeast Asia, although it seems clear that he might very possibly been at the root of the unceremonious unseating of the Allende government in Chile, as well as a good bit of the strife and instability that characterized life in most of Central America both during K’s tenure and after. But the CBC doesn’t see fit to mention any of what, for people who read a little more broadly, constitutes a legacy akin to Pol Pot, but which doesn’t quite rise to the glory of the Belgian monarchy, of Stalin, of Hitler, of Mao. His pals call him a master of Realpolitik. They are enablers of war criminals, and CBC, by its silence becomes, in however minor a way, complicit.

The more we sweep this stuff under the carpet, the more death and destruction we will be forced to endure.



Luke McQueary plays a T-style on stage

Luke McQueary


There is often either an overt, or sometimes tacit, link between music and political/social issues. what with the protest songs of the Fifties and Sixties, Woody Guthrie before that, the whole punk thing… I recall being thrilled to hear that Bonnie Raitt and John Hall had both been part of a No More Nukes benefit back in the late Seventies, and there have been whiffs of rebellion in the ranks from time to time in the intervening years, though none of it seems to have influenced those with influence to do the right thing.

So bear with me here, because there are some somewhat divergent threads that are coalescing in the meninges and the connections might not seem coherent from the outset.

So I play around with guitars, a lot of it pretty simple stuff, though there have been times when I actually pursued it and gained a bit of traction. I have also listened to a ton of mostly really wonderful playing and continue to enjoy a wide variety of (especially guitar)  music.

I played with some folks for a short stint over the winter of 93-94, in the course of which the host played us some Danny Gatton, brand new to me, partly because I had never been a fan of twang, and Danny’s stuff, covering many genres, always had that little taste of twang, even when he was pumping club jazz with organist Joey Defrancesco. Gatton was extra capable and would let you know it, often fierce and frenetic, but capable of playing pretty when the situation demanded. I went on a quest for all his stuff, and there’s a ton of it out there, more than enough of it on YouTube to satisfy most people’s curiosity, but I sought out all I could find on LP, on CD, on downloads.

Of course, contact with Danny Gatton lead to the discovery of a host of other fierce pickers, and recently, I’ve listened to a lot of Guthrie Trapp, and through him, Luke McQueary, both Telecaster Terrors operating out of Nashville (Go back and listen to the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Nashville Cats” from about 1966), whose live recordings on Youtube are a treasure, sometimes exploring new tonal possibilities, sometimes revisiting a plethora of Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buck Owens kind of tropes, most of which tends to float on the opposite end of the social spectrum from the snowflake sensibility sometimes ascribed to serious musicianship.

And so it came to pass that I kept looking at Luke McQueary’s videos until I ran across a quickie set he did with Kelly’s Heroes at the Ryman Auditorium (former home, for those who don’t follow this stuff, of the Grand Ole Opry) in Nashville, which seems a natural haunt for this crowd, the hitch (for me) being that it was closing out a talk by Dr. Jordan Peterson, a figure of some controversy, a person who, again for me, personnifies the desire on the part of those of privilege to eternalize that position in society. I disagree with him on most counts, but I know some thoughtful and intelligent folks who seem smitten with his aura.  In any case, it set me to wondering whether the presence of Kelly’s Heroes constitutes and endorsement of the Peterson Program, and sets off a niggling little voice in the back of my brain that says I shouldn’t listen to McQueary any more (all the more perplexing because I have watched the film “Kelly’s Heroes” several times and have always associated it with a level of quirk and nose-thumbing at the general establishment, particularly the Donald Sutherland character, that should place that cultural artifact squarely in the camp of the loose gooses).

Finally, I guess that I can’t be too wrapped up in such considerations, given the general state of the world.