Friday, June 16, 2006

Sing Hadji Girl Loud and Proud!

It occurred to me that someone not in possession of a reasonable amount of mental agility might claim that the parallels between Hadji Girl and Napalm Sticks to Kids in my earlier post are evidence of Iraq being ‘Just Like Vietnam’.

For those too dense or lazy to see this kind of GI song-writing spans history, or do your own research, let me point out Strafe the Town and Kill All the People dates back to Korea.

Let My People Sing

These kind of songs are only part of a spectrum of music and poetry that comes from the front lines. As Les Cleveland (1984) wrote so well:
These can be analysed as improvisations suited to the wartime, frontier-style, male-dominant, community life of soldiers in camps and bivouacs. Because the heightening of group cohesion is valuable for military morale, any tendencies towards irreverence or idiosyncratic expression which their content exhibits are tolerated under the mantle of comic licence. This gives the folklore of soldiers (or for that matter of any comparable occupational group faced with hazardous and uncomfortable work conditions) an important integratory, social control function. The democratic soldier can accept the discomfort and personal risks involved in service for the State as long as he is permitted to grumble, protest and joke about his fate, to ridicule his leaders and to assert his essential autonomy and personal dignity, even at the cannon's mouth.
The upper-echelon’s response to Hadji Girl is pretty much what I would expect from a bunch of ‘careerists’, ‘managers’ and ‘executives’. It is, in the long run, also subversive to keeping good order and discipline.

This is the Marine Corps? Where are the freaking LEADERS?

No comments: