‘Tiddles is gone on a holiday’.
‘Those tablets are Mummy’s vitamins’.
‘You can be anything you want.’
Maybe if you’re poor you can become anything you want to be – astronaut, president, footballer, prostitute, crack-addict, – possibly even all of the aforementioned at the same time. Poverty will not deny any of those opportunities to you. It might even help. Basically the world’s your lobster.
But if you’re rich, there are just some things that you will never be allowed to be. And one of those things is …
… A PROTEST-SINGER.
A protest-singer must tell the truth of their life even if people don’t want to hear it. Apparently that’s all fine and dandy if you’re a poor person singing about the iniquity of society. But if you’re telling the truth from the other side of the fence then no-one wants to know about it.
( Admittedly the fence is electrified, with a moat beyond it, which puts a bit of distance between the singer and the
common man audience).
Oh no, instead of supportive shouts of “You the man”, it’s accusations of “You’re The Man”. And apparently The Man should not have a voice, or at least should not use that voice to complain about troublesome aspects of his life (taxes on second properties, animal-rights campaigners getting in the way of fox-hunts, the difficulty of finding a good footman nowadays).
But consider this: – if Woody Guthrie was alive today he’d be a rich man!
… Not just because of the money he’d be earning from the royalties on his songs, but because it’s really the only rebellious confrontational position to take in modern liberal western society. Yes, Woody would choose to be wealthy.
So if you’re rich, sing it loud and sing it proud (and if you’re poor, you can just hum along in solidarity while acknowledging the undeniable truth of the lyrics and admiring the evidently complex melody):
“This land is your land
Well, it was your land
But then you couldn’t keep up the payments.
Now this land is my land
So technically you’re trespassing.
Before I loose the hounds.”