Indoctrination Through Historical Ballad

Even though I wasn’t born in America, while growing up, I listened to a lot of American music. At the time, one of my favorite musicians was a guy named Johnny Horton. My folks had an 8-track of his that I absolutely insisted that we listen to every time we took a long drive anywhere. For those of you who might not be aware, the 8-track was an interesting device (I couldn’t actually find an image of a Johnny Horton 8-track so you’ll just have to make do with a Curtis Mayfield one).

Hard to understand but a hell of a man. Superfly.

Think of it as sort of an old-school iPod. Well, except that it was only portable if you also considered, say, the air conditioning in your car as being portable. And it only had an eight-song playlist. And you couldn’t rewind it or skip ahead. So, yeah, it’s just like an iPod except for all of those things that make it completely not like an iPod.

Anyway. I’m a big fan of Johnny Horton. And one of my favorite songs of his is called The Battle Of New Orleans, which references the final battle of the War of 1812. US forces, commanded by General Andrew Jackson, whipped the British Army in New Orleans, stopping them from taking back land we had bought fair and square from the French (we paid 15 million dollars for the Louisiana Purchase, which seems like a pretty good deal for all that land considering it was French and all…).

I have weird tastes in music so I understand that not everyone is interested in listening to a history lesson with a little bit of a country twang. So I’ll just quote the fourth verse for you:

We fired our cannon ’til the barrel melted down,
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind,
And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.

You see, at a very young age, I was taught that, in times of need, it was okay to torment an alligator. In fact, it might even be patriotic to do so. As I’ve mentioned in my first blog post, I moved to Athens in August of 1981. It was a brand new country and, in reality, also a brand new world for me. But when the end of October rolled around and Hate Week was upon us and I saw one of the bookstores on Baxter Street with its windows all painted up with depictions of acts of cruelty performed on gators, I knew I’d fit right in.

Thank you, Johnny Horton.

Go Dawgs!


2 Responses to “Indoctrination Through Historical Ballad”

  1. Any blog post that connects the Dawgs with Johnny Horton is truly brilliant. I too had a Johnny Horton eight track that I wore out. This has to be a good sign for the Dawg’s chances this week.

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