Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Dick Cheney thought conquering Iraq would be a cakewalk.

What a weird song, Jimmy Crack Corn! Daniel Decatur Emmett wrote it, a white minstrel from Ohio who also wrote “Dixie” and “Old Dan Tucker.” All composed for black-faced minstrel shows in the north. “Dixie” was a dance finale, where the white actors would dance in exuberant imitation and mockery of black people. The white south adopted it as an anthem -- “I wish I was in Dixie, away! Away!” -- when in both “Dixie” and “Jimmy Crack Corn,” the intention, I think, would have been utter mockery of both white and black southerners. There may be an element of solidarity with the slave in celebrating the master’s death in “Jimmy Crack Corn,” but the slave is still a lazy conniving drunkard (and, the song asks, who wouldn’t like to be?).

Some day I’ll record it and pretend I’m an American Ian Dury, leering with all my might. Or Dean Martin crossed with Peter Lorre. Bitter joyous drunken violent menace.

Children’s music!

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