House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

by Woody Guthrie

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House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:26 pm

For its time House of Earth was a very radical book. It's erotic descriptions of love-making were radical. Its politics were radical. Is it still radical? Why?
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:00 am

Judging by some of the spirited discussion here I would say yes, at least to a .degree.

"Radical " is one of those terms that can describe different things depending on your own beliefs. Usually someone is more easily described as being radical if their ideas are different from your own. Woody was quite political with his socialist leanings. I think in his own day that was probably seen as more extreme than we might see it today, but his beliefs spilled over into his art and his work, including House of Earth, so I think it would still raise quite a few eyebrows.

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:05 am

I agree, nebraska. I think it depends on your own beliefs and standards as well as the cultural standards of the time. The opening chapter could certainly still be seen as unpublishable in some circles, maybe not necessarily radical. I think socialism will always be debateable because of differing political beliefs but it doesn't carry the same radical label it did in the past. The term radical might be too strong these days.
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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby Liz » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:21 pm

I agree. It was radical for the times in which it was written - the first chapter, that is. But I don't think in a political sense. It wasn't any more radical than the Grapes of Wrath.

I think that maybe racy is a better word than radical.
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby Theresa » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:36 pm

To me, instead of being radical now, it's more reflective. Reflective of the times, the people (and their language), the politics and the land.

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby Liz » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:44 pm

Reflective is a very good word for it, Theresa. I felt the same way.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Wed May 01, 2013 12:02 am

Theresa wrote:To me, instead of being radical now, it's more reflective. Reflective of the times, the people (and their language), the politics and the land.
Well said! :cool:

But now if you were to rewrite this story for modern times, with say, the story of some folks who lost their jobs, healthcare coverage and homes during the last recession... well then, you might just be talking radical again. :eyebrow:

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby Buster » Wed May 01, 2013 5:39 pm

But now if you were to rewrite this story for modern times, with say, the story of some folks who lost their jobs, healthcare coverage and homes during the last recession... well then, you might just be talking radical again. :eyebrow:

Yup.

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby Liz » Wed May 01, 2013 10:46 pm

Buster wrote:
But now if you were to rewrite this story for modern times, with say, the story of some folks who lost their jobs, healthcare coverage and homes during the last recession... well then, you might just be talking radical again. :eyebrow:

Yup.


All of those things have affected me. But I'm not radical yet. Maybe when Cobra ends in July. :mad: My job doesn't provide benefits.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Thu May 02, 2013 12:27 pm

Liz wrote:
Buster wrote:
But now if you were to rewrite this story for modern times, with say, the story of some folks who lost their jobs, healthcare coverage and homes during the last recession... well then, you might just be talking radical again. :eyebrow:

Yup.


All of those things have affected me. But I'm not radical yet. Maybe when Cobra ends in July. :mad: My job doesn't provide benefits.

I know far too many people with similar situations. :-/ And now that I stop to think about it, to the best of my knowledge none of them have become radical. I don’t know anyone who took to the streets in protest, joined the occupy movement, or did anything of the sort. In fact I’d be surprised if any of them even wrote their legislators to encourage them to pass health care or Wall Street reform. And I'm not being critical, it's just an observation.

Maybe we could use more songwriters like Guthrie, Dylan, Seeger, Springsteen and Strummer. Maybe we need some modern equivalents of Grapes and House of Earth? I wasn’t sure what to write in answer to the “what’s the point?” question. Well, maybe that's the point - to help people find their voice. Maybe that’s even one reason why JD and Douglas Brinkley published it now... I don't know...

Hopefully things will turn around for you soon. :hope: Hugs, mate. :hug: Hang in there.

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby ladylinn » Sat May 04, 2013 11:08 am

I think racey is a better description than radical. Woody's music might have been seen as radical in his lifetime. But when hearing his song "This land is mine land" I failed to see the radical message it maybe was saying. Perhaps I was blind to his real message. Too wrapped up in my own world of raising a family and making a home. Be strong Liz and hang in there! :hug:

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby FANtasticJD » Sat May 04, 2013 11:43 am

ladylinn wrote:Woody's music might have been seen as radical in his lifetime. But when hearing his song "This land is mine land" I failed to see the radical message it maybe was saying. Perhaps I was blind to his real message.

Take another look at the lyrics of the song, especially the last two verses. Most of us just know the first few verses and they seem to be a celebration of the land. The final verses hammer home his message. From Arlo's website:
“Who wants to be normal when you can be unique?”
Helena Bonham Carter

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 04, 2013 5:59 pm

FANtasticJD wrote:
ladylinn wrote:Woody's music might have been seen as radical in his lifetime. But when hearing his song "This land is mine land" I failed to see the radical message it maybe was saying. Perhaps I was blind to his real message.

Take another look at the lyrics of the song, especially the last two verses. Most of us just know the first few verses and they seem to be a celebration of the land. The final verses hammer home his message. From Arlo's website:

Ha! "hammer home!" Good one, FAN. :highfive:

I love those last two verses. The message is definitely there, but it's subtle. :cool:

Thanks RR and Ladylinn. I know I'm not alone. But at least I have a job. And I will prevail. I've got that American spirit ingrained in me. ;)
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby Buster » Sun May 05, 2013 5:41 am

RamblinRebel wrote
Well, maybe that's the point - to help people find their voice. Maybe that’s even one reason why JD and Douglas Brinkley published it now...

I think it would please Woody a whole lot to know that his voice still resonates as the voice of the people. His message of hopefulness, that ordinary people can make big changes happen, is very much needed today. People are exhausted by poverty, stress and overwork and need the spark of art and music to give them the energy to change things. Tired people become downtrodden, and too enervated to object to things they know need to be fixed.

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Re: House of Earth Question #30: A Radical Book

Unread postby ladylinn » Sun May 05, 2013 12:29 pm

Thanks FAN for showing me the final verses of This Land. I did think it was a song of celebration. When singing this song in school I don't remember singing the last verses. "Hammer" is a good word on the message. During the time (long ago) when I was in school we seemed to ignore the controversial issues. :fear: No waves allowed!!!!!


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