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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Readers Challenge Washington Post Review

Letters to the Editor in this weekend's Washington Post were headlined as "Off The Mark" in response to the review Neil Young's Antiwar Howl by J. Freedom du Lac.

Here's a sampling of published Letters to the Editor:

J. Freedom du Lac questions the timeliness of Neil Young's new album, calling it "somewhat strange, given that the album doesn't appear to be inspired by any recent events" ["Neil Young's Antiwar Howl," Style, May 3]. Du Lac criticizes Young, asking, "Did he only recently realize his contempt for Bush and his outrage over the war in Iraq? Where ya been, Neil?"

The answer is that Young has been recovering from a well-publicized brain aneurysm, which seems not to have affected his social consciousness.

Neil Young fans have grown to expect such topical albums.

-- Michael Arnone, Chantilly

I'm puzzled by J. Freedom du Lac's criticism of Neil Young's new album, "Living With War."

Du Lac says Young's collection is "a couple of years behind the curve" and asks, "Did he only recently realize his contempt for Bush and his outrage over the war in Iraq?"

Last time I checked, there was a big congressional election coming up in November. There are still close to three years left in this dangerously incompetent administration -- and no end in sight to a war it chose to start and was unprepared to win.

Also, a quick Google search would have told du Lac that Young took part in Vote for Change concerts held in the Midwest in 2004.

I'd suggest that du Lac is the one behind the curve -- and struggling for something to say.

-- Max Golkin, Arlington

The review of Neil Young's "Living With War" is as wrong as it is wrongheaded. It falsely asserts that the singer belatedly opposes Bush and his war. The review also devalues Young's outrage since he is not a U.S. citizen, although he moved here 40 years ago.

More significantly, the review overlooks the musician's role as a catalyst for change. Phil Ochs's "All the News That's Fit to Sing" and Public Enemy's description of their music as "the black CNN" were determined to spark emotions and action. So, too, is "Living With War." It is an angry cry about the lies that led us to Iraq and the war's terrible toll. The intentionally ragged music reinforces the anguished, passionate vocals that are real as the day is long.

"Living With War" is Young's bulletin from the front, designed to disturb, outrage and spur change. Unfortunately, the reviewer misses this by questioning the singer's motives. I hope other listeners will not make the same mistake.

-- Daniel J. Weiss, Washington

More reviews of "Living with War" that you may -- or may not -- disagree with.


At 5/10/2006 04:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who gives a damn when the conclusion reads:

"Let's just say that you might like this album if you have Daily Kos set as your Internet home page. If your daily routine begins with Michelle Malkin or Power Line, "Living With War" is going to make you mad as hell. Which is pretty much the point."?

The guy does hit the nail on the head - some will like it, some [will be] mad as hell..."

Isn't THAT the point? To get us to react/act! [even those - including the by-liner - with an uninformed view of NY].

Who cares if the by-liner likes the music or not? I don't care b/c NY always gives (at least) a few good, if not great, tunes on every record he makes [but the by-liner obviously hasn't really read the lyrics].

Lost in Europe

At 5/10/2006 06:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell kind of name is J. FREEDOM DU LAC anyways!?

At 5/10/2006 06:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those letter-writers have a point. When Neil came to Euurope for his solo tour in 2003, he openly criticized Bush, and lifted a glass during the Paris tour (this was during the whole "we hate France" campaign by the neo-cons. What an embarrassment!) proclaiming, "Vive la Différence". Sent the audience wild, I'll tell ya! Neil has regularly opposed the way the Bush administration has been conducting itself. And people who point to his "support" of the Patriot Act (any chance his comment ws intended to be ironic) or to Let's Roll (a reaction to the courage of the passengers of United flight 93, rather than a declaration of rampant hawkism) are seriously misguided.

Neil hasn't changed, he reacts to what he sees and has always shouted down injustice.

At 5/10/2006 06:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we nail Neil's "support" for the Patriot Act once and for all? Rightly or wrongly, in 2002 he accepted that it was necessary in the (then) current situation - hardly an enthusiastic endorsement. But, crucially, he referred to it as a short-term measure.

That was over 3 years ago. It aint short-term any longer. So Neil has hardly done an about-face, he's merely saying that 9/11 can no longer be used as an excuse for restrictions to civil liberties.

At 5/10/2006 09:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One might say he "flip-flopped".

At 5/11/2006 09:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cold Bowl of Chili said:
And the war is moving along quite nicely. The Government is in place and starting to take hold....

Yeah, that's a great thing. If you ignore the fact that the Iraqi government is being led by the Da'wa party, which is the same exact party which blew up 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut in 1983, and blew up the American and French embassies in Kuwait and Beirut. Oh, and the prime minister they have selected? You know where he was during those bombings? In Syria, directing Da'wa's "political" activities.

See, that's the problem with swallowing the swill Dubya is dishing out, Chili -- it's a pack of lies to hide the real truth, which is that Dubya is a liar and an incompetent.

We've gone from Saddam, who never harmed an American prior to Gulf War I, to an organization that is basically a terrorist party, and now they're in charge of Iraq. So much for those purple fingers. They're just giving us Americans the middle finger, now. This is the first time in my memory that I can recall America very actively and publicly supporting a terrorist group, that has targeted Americans very recently, in taking over a country that was no threat to us.


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