Monday, May 11, 2009

Phil Ochs





Phil Ochs.

A Mensch.

"It is wrong to expect a reward for your struggles. The reward is the act of struggle itself, not what you win."--Phil Ochs.

"In every political community there are varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects. Ten degrees to the left of center in good times. Ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally."--Phil Ochs.

"Leave the old and dying America and use your creative energies to help form a new America, which would be de-militarized, more humanistic, where the police are less hostile and closer to the community, where the wealthy are not given unleashed power for the exploitation of the people. And, mostly because it's now a matter of life and death, reassert an ecological balance with the environment, which means the people in the oil companies and the car companies and the space industry and all the other industries will have to be brought into account, so that there will be a new definition of government which has to be closer to the people and less close to special interests which are far more harmful than any revolutionaries."--Phil Ochs.

Phil Ochs was a great man. I didn't really know much about him until I was about 50 years old. The guy had more courage than most. His lyrics were amazing and are still as powerful today as they were when he wrote them.

Like so many creative folk with a revolutionary mindset, he flamed out early and led a tragic life. I'd only barely heard of him when I was a kid--I assume because I'd listened to some of his music when I was in grade school. But I do recall when he died. My mom said something like, "Well, they finally got him."

I have to agree, of course. He may have technically done the deed himself, but what she said was true. They finally got him.

The world generally can't tolerate guys like Phil Ochs. Societies have a tendency to kill off men and women who fight as fiercely as he did. He was a great human, based solely on the work he left behind. I shake my head in wonder whenever I hear his lyrics.

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