Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday's Poetry: "The John Birch Society"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

The John Birch Society was founded in 1958 by candy magnate Robert W. Welch to fight communism and enhance personal freedoms. Mr. Welch named his group after a baptist missionary who was killed in China by rotten Chinese commies. During the 1960's as the American anti-communist fervor of the previous two decades began to decline, the John Birch Society slowly but steadily became an object of ridicule. American conservative icon, William F. Buckley, eventually castrated the organization by officially driving it from the Republican Party.

Now, predictably, with the reemergence of the right-wing crazies in the teabagger movement and associated lunacies, the John Birch Society is once again rearing its ugly head. This year, in fact, the JBS was a co-sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) Convention - a gathering that hosted John Ashcroft, New Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and a platoon of other people of that ilk.

The two pieces that follow were written and performed during the time that the John Birch Society was active but rapidly falling into political and social disrepute. The first, The John Birch Society, was written by Michael Brown and quickly became an anthem of sorts that ridiculed the group. It was sung with gusto by the Chad Mitchell Trio and other entertainers. Many of the Birchers themselves, creatures who lacked the ability to differentiate between praise and satire, reportedly liked the song and took pride in it. It follows. You be the judge as to its intent.

The John Birch Society
by Michael Brown

Oh we're meeting at the courthouse at eight o'clock tonight
You just come in the door and take the first turn to the right
Be careful when you get there, we'd hate to be bereft
But we're taking down the names of everybody turning left

'Cause we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Here to save this country from a communistic plot
We're the John Birch Society, help us swell the ranks
To get this movement started, we need lots of tools and cranks

Now there's no one that's certain that the Kremlin doesn't touch
We think that Westbrook Pegler doth protest a bit too much
We only hail the hero from whom we got our name
We're not sure what he did, but he's our hero all the same

Join the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Socialism is the ism dismalist of all
Join the John Birch Society, there's so much to do
Have you heard they're serving vodka at the W.C.T.U.

Well you've heard about the agents that we've already named
Well M.C.A. has agents that are flatly unashamed
We're after Rosie Clooney, we've gotten Pinky Lee
And the day we get Red Skelton won't that be a victory

For we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Norman Vincent Peale may think he's kidding us along
But the John Birch Society knows he spilled the beans
He keeps on preaching brotherhood, but we know what he means

We'll teach you how to spot 'em in the city or the sticks
'Cause even Jasper Junction is just full of Bolsheviks
The CIA's subversive and so's the FCC
There's no one left but thee and we, and we're not sure of thee

Oh we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Here to save our country from a Communistic plot
Join the John Birch Society, holding off the Reds
We'll use our hands and hearts, and if we must, we'll use our heads

(O beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain)

Friends, do you want Justice Warren to be your Commissar?
Do you want Mrs. Khrushchev in there with the DAR?
You cannot trust your neighbors, or even next-of-kin
If mommy is a Commie then you gotta turn her in

To the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Fighting for the right to fight the right fight for the right
Join the John Birch Society, as we're marching on
We'll all be glad to see you when we're meeting in the John
In the John, In the John Birch Society.

This second piece, by the great folksinger and songwriter Bob Dylan, lacks the subtlety of the first - to the degree that even Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, or Rand Paul would know they were being ridiculed.


Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues
by Bob Dylan

Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue
I didn’t know what in the world I wus gonna do
Them Communists they wus comin’ around
They wus in the air
They wus on the ground
They wouldn’t gimme no peace . . .

So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road
Yee-hoo, I’m a real John Bircher now!
Look out you Commies!

Now we all agree with Hitler’s views
Although he killed six million Jews
It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist
At least you can’t say he was a Communist!
That’s to say like if you got a cold you take a shot of malaria

Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds
I got up in the mornin’ ’n’ looked under my bed
Looked in the sink, behind the door
Looked in the glove compartment of my car
Couldn’t find ’em . . .

I wus lookin’ high an’ low for them Reds everywhere
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair
I looked way up my chimney hole
I even looked deep down inside my toilet bowl
They got away . . .

Well, I wus sittin’ home alone an’ started to sweat
Figured they wus in my T.V. set
Peeked behind the picture frame
Got a shock from my feet, hittin’ right up in the brain
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core ones

Well, I quit my job so I could work all alone
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
That ol’ Betsy Ross . . .

Well, I investigated all the books in the library
Ninety percent of ’em gotta be burned away
I investigated all the people that I knowed
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go
The other two percent are fellow Birchers . . . just like me

Now Eisenhower, he’s a Russian spy
Lincoln, Jefferson and that Roosevelt guy
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell
I know for a fact he hates Commies cus he picketed the movie Exodus

Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out anything . . . hmm, great God!

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

How ironic that yesterday the Department of Justice announced the arrest of Russian Spies in four states!