Some People Understand

Recently, as I was enjoying a coffee at my favourite cafe in Fremantle, I heard a great song called ‘The Love Me or Die’ by CW Stoneking.

On giving the song the Shazam treatment, I discovered that it was from Stoneking’s ‘Jungle Blues’ album which also contained the following fantastic song:

Here are the lyrics:

His name would always be, always be recorded in history
His name would always be, always be recorded in history
It gives me inspiration to sing, his heroic stand in the Philippines
No man can be braver than General MacArthur, the Son of America

With his traditional warriors at his side, he gave the Japanese the first surprise,
For when they called on him to surrender, “I am an American” was his answer,
“And in the name of democracy, I will die for freedom and liberty”,
They don’t come no braver than General MacArthur, the Son of America

Let us go back in past history, go think George Washington and General Lee,
Hmm even hailin’ Patrick Henry, Abe Lincholn – emancipator in slavery
But we’ll read of MacArthur when he’s gone, for he’s a genius if one was ever born
They don’t come no braver than General MacArthur, the Son of America.

When you hear me singing my characteristic song, from the book of editions that last so long,
This vocabulary that is list in me, it is owing to my high-class propensity,
I am not versed in psychology, I’m a man who can sing intelligently,
I say they come no braver than General MacArthur, the Son of America

With the stars and stripes laying at his side, for this flag he intend to die,
MacArthur, the man with the heart of steel, to the invading Japs he wouldn’t never yield,
He told the Japanese for a fact, “I’m leaving Corregidor, but I’m coming back”
They don’t come no braver than General MacArthur, the Son of America.

Like most music these days, the song is a cover:

Anyway, as it happens to be, Jungle Blues won an ARIA award for best blues and roots album in 2009. Given how Australia has progressed since then, would you like to give me the odds of it winning the same award today with the above song in there?

And there lies the problem: how many people out there truly recognise how much we owe to the Americans and the likes of General MacArthur? How many would know what he did, let alone that he existed?

Worse still, how many people out there would be ‘triggered’ by the above song – given the ‘privileged’ person now culturally appropriating singing it?

Think I’m exaggerating? Then have a quick scan of the comments at the above link of the original song:

It’s so sad to see people hurt by Colonialism sing the songs of “liberty” of their geopolitical masters… But that’s ideology for ya.

Aside from the fact that this dipstick is insulting the intelligence of the original artist, I simply ask the following: if not the English and the Americans, then who?

I’m yet to receive an acceptable answer to that question. While I would accept ‘Australia under a TMR Prime Ministership’, we have to be realistic.

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13 Responses to Some People Understand

  1. stackja

    Socialists still dream of a utopia.

    In the Jungle
    How American music legends made millions off the work of a Zulu tribesman who died a pauper.

  2. When people have had it so good for so long, they have no idea what the alternative would do to them.

  3. Nob

    That’s nothing.

    This is the mother of all cultural appropriation:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/gospel-truth-hebrides-invented-church-spirituals-87730.html

    The evidence is all there, just people were looking elsewhere.

  4. iain russell

    I wouldn’t get too excited about Doug. He should have been courtmartialed for his hopeless, failed defence of the Philippines. And that’s from US military journals. The Atherton Tablelands ability to feed beef to the US troops/cannon fodder that staged through Townsville and Cairns was the crucial element.

  5. Nob

    That CW Stoneking.
    He’s from Cobden in Victoria if I’ve got the right guy.
    Or he was there when I was around there.

    Looks like he’s playing a Donmo guitar from Don Morrison in Adelaide.

    His brand of cultural appropriation was also done by Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder in the 70s.

    Right down to the similar calypso songs praising Americans (see Ry Cooders version of Joseph Spence’s “FDR in Trinidad”)

    Not that I care, sounds fine to me.

  6. Up The Workers!

    The concept of Douglas MacArthur being either brave or courageous is amusing.

    Read the book: “The Odd Couple: Blamey and MacArthur at war”, by Jack Gallaway, U.Q.P. 2000.

    It paints a very different picture of MacArthur, his gaggle of toady photographers, scriptwriters, press propagandists, butlers, servants and troupe of performing sycophants of all types.

    While others did all the fighting and got no credit, MacArthur got all the self-awarded credit and basically did no fighting.

  7. Peter Colquhoun

    The only spark of brilliance MacArthur showed was the Inchon landings. It was however a no brainer and just about anyone else would have come up with the same plan.

  8. MJ

    The US troops in the Philippines called MacArthur “Dugout Doug” just before he escaped and left his 2IC to face the Japanese.

  9. Tim Neilson

    MacArthur’s greatest ever victory was his propaganda success in taking credit away from Admiral Nimitz, the US navy and the US fleet air arm.

    An old schoolfriend’s father was on Kokoda. He said that there wasn’t an American soldier to be seen till after the US navy had won the Coral Sea and Midway and the Japanese had started to run out of supplies and reinforcements, at which point the Australians started to turn the tide.

    He said that shortly after that had happened he’d been in Port Moresby to have a wound treated and he’d seen MacArthur’s first foray into the fighting – newsreel crews and one platoon of infantry, way behind the lines, making newsreels of how MacArthur and his brave GI’s were beating the Japanese.

  10. max

    Went to a CW concert in Melbourne about four years ago.

    He has one idea, a fixation really: we’re just like animals living in the jungle.

    I grew a bit tired of it all and left though many there saw him as witty and acute.

  11. Hasbeen

    I have sometimes wondered just how US troops & Philippine citizens died, [not counting Japs], so MacArthur could say he kept that promise, “I shall return”. The Philippines could have been bypassed as easily as Rabaul was.

  12. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I wouldn’t get too excited about Doug. He should have been courtmartialed for his hopeless, failed defence of the Philippines. And that’s from US military journals.

    MacArthur made a complete and utter pigs breakfast of the defence of the Philippines, beginning with getting his air force wiped out on the ground, nine hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, while he sat in his office, with his head in his hands…

    After assuming command in Australia, his orders were that he was NOT there to defend Australia against Japanese invasion, and if any part of Australia HAD been occupied, he was NOT to devote any resources to recapturing that territory. (“The Official History of the United States Army in World War Two.”)

  13. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    In the Jungle
    How American music legends made millions off the work of a Zulu tribesman who died a pauper.

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