Monday, August 13, 2007

Song of the week - "Paradise" by John Prine

I decided a while ago that it would be pretty neat
to pick a song a week and do a post revolving around it.
The songs....well, the plan is to simply turn my iPod/iTunes onto
shuffle, and take the first song i deem worthy.

The very honorable First song is one by an old time fav...
John Prine.
ahhhhh John Prine. How i Love thee.



When I was a child my family would travel
Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there's a backwards old town that's often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn.

And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

Well, sometimes we'd travel right down the Green River
To the abandoned old prison down by Airdrie Hill
Where the air smelled like snakes and we'd shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.

Repeat Chorus:

Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.


Its a pretty highly political song, when you dig into it a bit
and Really think about the impact that Peabody's has had on our nation
A quick Wikipedia search and we find that
"Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU), previously Peabody Coal Company, is the largest coal mining company in the world, mining 240 million tons of coal annually, providing 10% of US energy and 3% of world energy."

The Wiki information goes on and on,
and addresses this same John Prine song,
but that's it. it addresses it. and moves in defending Peabody's.

Never does it mention that
in the late 1960s.
Peabody's Coal company began strip mining on their Navajo and Hopi land.
A ruthless excavation.

The company pointed to a some contract, signed by some navajos their way saying "hey, its OKAY that we do this..."
but in the spring of 1969...150 navajo's met to declare that the strip mining would
pollute the water and the air, destroy the grazen land for livestock,
use up their scarce water resources.
But of course Peabody's put out a public relations pamphlet put out by Peabody's
showing fishing lakes, grassland, trees...
The Hopi tribe was also in outrage, they wrote Nixon, to no avail,
and exclaimed the destruction and injustice that was happening.

Even if you are to look up
"Black Mesa Peabody Coal debate"
on Wikipedia....It
1. has a "this article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards"
because 2. It is a completely biased sect of information.

But who cares. Wiki's not trustworthy anyway, and we all know that.
BUT it is what high schoolers are using as 'resources' for their English papers
its what people jump to as a quick reference.

the song isn't just about one small County being taken over by
a coal company, and its lands turning into a ...not-as-great vacation spot...
its Not.
The hidden piece is that Kentucky wasn't the only place destroyed.
From Muhlenburg KY all the way to New Mexico
Its that the essence of the land has been changed.
It is not land for the sake of being land,
it is land for the sake of creating energy and profit.
*read Heidegger
for more depth on that of 'essence'
he uses a river and a dam as an example...
Its like when a river is ...beautiful and grand because it is a river...
but we put a dam up and no longer is it beautiful and grand for its own sake
but because there's a massive dam there.... its no longer seen as....a river, its a power source.*
And even beyond that....
this compnay, peabody's, REMAINS on the fortune 500....
a company that........gets the government behind it, and literally...
shoves people off of their land....and moves along....

I'll let you relate this to today's economy on your own...
i have homework to do.

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