"I Sing This Song Because I Love The Man"
"One of these days, I'm going to sit down and write a long letter to all of the good friends I've known."
But -- like Neil -- I'm not even sure where to begin this letter.
The past few weeks have been unlike anything ever experienced before here at Thrasher's Wheat. Thrasher has been totally blown away by the entire fallout from the "Living With War" release and it's aftermath.
Many, many thanks to all of my good friends who have sent messages of support over the past few weeks which have gone unacknowledged. Your friendship has been so overwhelming and my family is most grateful for your love and caring. I'm OK and will be trying to respond in the coming weeks.
Now I know what it feels to be hit by a virtual tsunami.
Traffic volume to TW surged and doubled over the previous record spike during the Bob Dylan vs. Neil Young brouhaha. Comments on posts have been in excess of 200 entries. And the level of e-mail has far, far surpassed Thrasher's capacity to respond in anywhere near a timely fashion.
The most disturbing part of this whole surreal affair has been the amount of hate mail and comments. Unbelievable levels of hate and rage over freedom of expression.
At one point, TW was receiving close to 100 letters of hate a day. And that doesn't even include personal threats. Quite discouraging and frightening.
While we are quite familiar with the rage and hate of ignorance from our investigations into Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" legends and myths, we were unprepared for the fundamentalist attack machine putting Thrasher's Wheat into their cross-hairs. If anyone ever encounters the group behind the crusading propaganda machine Cold Bowl of Chili-ites, please let them know that hate is not a family value.
So how in did Thrasher's Wheat become the world's lightening rod for all those opposed to Neil's message on the "Living With War" album? Well, I might live a thousand years before I know what that means...
And the supreme irony?
Are we not "supposedly" fighting in Iraq so that Neil Young (a Canadian no less) can freely sing about whatever he wants to? So Cold Bowl of Chili and company, why do you hate freedom? Why do you not love democracy?
One of the things Thrasher is most proud of is the coverage the site has received that notes our non-partisan and apolitical stance, as Daily Kos notes:
"The definitive Neil Young site Thrasher's Wheat has done the hard work of assembling reaction from musical and political bloggers. Some of the reactions gathered on the normally apolitical Thrasher's Wheat show Bush's zombies in early meltdown."
Just moments ago I finished listening to "Living With War" for the first time. My initial impression was not unlike former president of Reprise Records Howie Klein's who blogged:
"First my biases: I'm prone to love everything Neil records. I feel he's one of the greatest songwriters and musicians of our time.
If I listen to a song of his and I don't get it, I have long learned that that is because I haven't spent enough time with it and that when I do, I will eventually see what he was trying to do and appreciate it. A second bias, just as strong-- and one regular Down With Tyranny readers are already very aware of and probably in sync with-- is my abiding mistrust for the Bush Regime and the alarm with which I view what they have done, and continue to do, to the country I love so much. The nexus of these two biases lead to an incredible hour of listening."
In the meantime, you know what needs to be done. Do something. Stand and be counted. Start a blog, start a revolution. Just don't sit there on the sidelines. We've got a job to do.
Lastly, thanks to Expecting to Fly, Mansion on the Hill, Haahnster, Bill L. and so many of my other virtual and true friends. But most of all, thanks to Thrashette for believing in me. As Sid & Susie would say, you are truly my Cinnamon Girl.
And I am very happy.