Jeralyn Takes Jackson Browne Lyrics Out of Context to Slam Obama

Jackson Browne’s song “For a Dancer” was his contribution to “A Tribute to Nicolette Larson: Lotta Love Concert.” Nicolette Larson, for anyone who doesn’t know, was a wonderful, immensely talented singer who died of breast cancer in late 1997. “For a Dancer” was written, according to Jackson Browne himself, for a friend who died in a house fire, not for Nicolette, but he sang it for her in that tribute concert and on the ensuing album.

Jeralyn, whose writing and politics I used to admire, blasts Obama for, of all things, acknowledging the difficulty many opponents of the Vietnam War had in distinguishing the murderous war policies of the Johnson and Nixon administrations from the men who had to carry out those policies:

Barack Obama the unity candidate? Please. Via Politico, here’s Barack Obama stumping in West Virginia today:

One of the saddest episodes in our history was the degree to which returning vets from Vietnam were shunned, demonized and neglected by some because they served in an unpopular war. Too many of those who opposed the war in Vietnam chose to blame not only the leaders who ordered the mission, but the young men who simply answered their country’s call. Four decades later, the sting of that injustice is a wound that has never fully healed, and one that should never be repeated.

Politico says:

Not only is Obama underlining his generational distance from the boomers, but he’s also reaching out to swing voters with a back of the hand at the cultural left.

In other words, Obama intends to battle the war-hero McCain by throwing us under the bus.

So Obama is trying to separate the war-figher from the civilian leadership. It’s not an easy task, but a smart, if not essential, one that he’ll need to drive over and over in running against a war hero.

Here’s Jackson Browne, For A Dancer:

Just do the steps that you’ve been shown
By everyone you’ve ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours
Another’s steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you’ll do alone

Everybody else will be lying under the bus, which sounds like it may be the size of a 747 before we’re through with this election.

Obviously, Jeralyn is quoting those lines from Jackson Browne’s song to imply that Obama is some kind of a sock puppet who mindlessly does as he has been “taught” to do by his evil mentors and associates. It’s certainly possible to read those lines that way if you just see that one verse taken out of the context of the entire song, and so don’t know what the song is actually about. Here are the complete lyrics of “For a Dancer”:

Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down
I don’t remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must have thought you’d always be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you’re nowhere to be found

I don’t know what happens when people die
Can’t seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It’s like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
That I can’t sing
I can’t help listening
And I can’t help feeling stupid standing ’round
Crying as they ease you down
’cause I know that you’d rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away
(right on dancing)
No matter what fate chooses to play
(there’s nothing you can do about it anyway)

Just do the steps that you’ve been shown
By everyone you’ve ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours
Another’s steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you’ll do alone

Keep a fire for the human race
Let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know what will be coming down
Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don’t let the uncertainty turn you around
(the world keeps turning around and around)
Go on and make a joyful sound

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you’ll never know

Now the meaning of that verse is radically different, isn’t it? Instead of being a condemnation of someone who supposedly does what others tell him to do to the point he can’t think for himself, the message now looks pretty much like the total opposite: A poignant contrast between the way our lives become bound up and interwoven with those of the many others we learn to love and trust, and the end of life, in which every one of us is completely alone.

This woman is an attorney to whom intellectual dishonesty and shameful distortion such as this should be anathema. Perverting the truth by ignoring context has always been a favorite tactic for the right, not the left. I suppose, though, that a candidate whose dishonest campaign tactics have more than once been compared to the current occupant of the White House would naturally tend to bring out such questionable ethics in her followers.

8 Responses to “Jeralyn Takes Jackson Browne Lyrics Out of Context to Slam Obama”

  1. Chief says:

    “and the end of life, in which every one of us is completely alone.”

    I have often thought of this as I make my peace with the inevitable end of life that will come someday. No matter how long we live with someone, in the end we are similar to two steel rails that trains run on. Parallel lives, so close together, yet never touching.

    I do not know any of the people you commented on, haven’t heard of them, sorry.

    The song is poignant..

  2. tjproudamerican says:

    I like Jeralyn and Talk Left, but losing has driven her crazy.

    And her comment section is hilarious.

    Someone attacked Obama’s supporters saying we babyBoomers were idealistic but Obama’s supporters are “smug”.

    Well…we babyboomers were smug. It comes with being devoted to a cause. Any group, vene the Rotary Club Luncheon, gets smug when it congratulates itself.

    TalkLeft is a sad waste Politically. Jeralyn has a devoted cadre of anti-Obama supporters who thrill with every attack on Obama, but she gets almost NO TRAFFIC for her great and good work defending the concept of “Innocent until proven guilty” and other actual left & progressive ideas about crime, including getting rid of the Death Penalty and changing our stupid anti-Drug Laws.

  3. tjproudamerican says:

    As a separate note: that is a beautiful posting on the Jackson Brown song!

  4. lex says:

    Glad to finally find some common ground with you, Kathy.

  5. Pug says:

    This woman is an attorney to whom intellectual dishonesty and shameful distortion such as this should be anathema.

    You kidding? Intellectual dishonesty and shameful distortion are what attorneys do for a living.

  6. Mark says:

    Even though you are hardly the first to ever say it, I have to disagree with this, in what is otherwise an outstanding post:
    “Perverting the truth by ignoring context has always been a favorite tactic for the right, not the left.”
    This has long been a tactic of opinion makers on both the left and the right – think LBJ’s “Daisy” ad, just about anything ever done by Michael Moore, or most of Al Sharpton’s career. Heck, even look at the way in which McCain’s 100 years comments have been taken out of context (not that I agree with McCain on the issue – I obviously don’t – but the remarks have been horribly misrepresented), or the way in which almost any tax break that reaches the upper income brackets along with other brackets is portrayed as a “tax cut for the rich,” even though the “rich” inherently pay more in taxes than anyone else to begin with, so of course they will have their taxes reduced by the most amount in gross terms in any conceivable across-the-board tax cut. Or, to use an issue more near and dear to my heart, but of less prominence, there is the way in which the writings of Ayn Rand are taken out of context in a way that completely misses her point.

    This isn’t to say that the political Right isn’t equally bad – they are. But ignorance of facts isn’t a left or right issue – it’s an issue of degree of partisanship. And there are studies to back this up, which show how partisans of any type are equally willing to rationalize facts that are inconsistent with their partisan identity; indeed, these studies show that partisans actually experience a feeling of bliss or ecstasy when they find a way to disregard are fact that directly undermines their belief system.

    Ultimately, what Obama stands for, or at least tries to stand for, is a blow to this kind of thinking. This is why he has such appeal to independents; for that matter, it is also part of the reason why McCain has historically appealed to independents.

  7. Chuck says:

    That Jackson Browne song is amazing – another courageous piece of art searching for meaning in this world. You can’t really say the same for pundits who misuse and twist something for their own purposes.

  8. jane says:

    Nicolette died of cerebral edema following massive liver failure–what is this about breast cancer?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook