June 13, 2006

"She wondered if a Republican's marrow had save[d] her body."

The beautiful folksinger Mary Travers, a Democrat, had her life saved.


JohnF said...

I remember Peter, Paul & Mary from the 60's. The music was very, very good. I guess it survives.

The article makes it plain that the republican thing was a just a gentle joke.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I think it's a nice joke. I think it's sweet. I deleted the two stupid comments above yours. I love Mary Travers and think she has a nice sense of humor about this.

Ann Althouse said...

(Some people around here have a tin ear, and they should refrain from smudging up this post with their ugliness.)

Dave said...

Their music is still very, very good.

Puff the Magic Dragon, anyone?

Jennifer said...

It sounds like she dealt with the whole thing quite admirably. And the fact that she knew a Republican might actually be donating marrow proves that she's miles away from whichever stupid commenter popped up this time.

I loved their music when I was little. I think I might head over to iTunes.

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave said...

When I was a kid (around 40 or 5) Peter's mother lived in the apartment building I lived in on the upper east side of Manhattan.

Peter Paul and Mary would sing a bunch of songs for the kids in the building every Christmas.

That was my introduction to the,. (This was the late '70s.)

Dave said...

4 or 5 that is...

Elizabeth said...

Peter, Paul and Mary played at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival awhile back, maybe ten years ago. It was the most crowded stage of the day, and I was surprised at how emotional the whole thing was. I had forgotten how much I loved them when I was much younger. They were magnificent live; the musicianship hadn't dimmed, nor had their enthusiasm. The crowd sang along with every song.

Craig Ranapia said...

Anyway, wasn't Mary Travers telling a joke on herself (an ol' liberal folkie from way back) more than a slur on Republicans. Not my idea of a gut-buster - but I'm fairly sure Mary Travers would be curiously unmoved (even offended) by some things that make me laugh like a drain.

I've also volunteered at a hospice, and let's say some of the gallows humour that gets staff and patients alike through the day is black as the bottom of a coal mine at midnight. In any other context, it would be eye-wateringly offensive.

In cancer cases, it when people can't crack jokes any more - good, bad, indifferent, intensely personal, whatever - that you really worry. I'm sure the rational readership wish Travers and her family all the best.

JohnF said...

Well the nostalgia bug has hit. I went back to the great songs-

"500 Miles" ("If you miss the train I'm on you will know that I am gone /You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles");

"All My Trials" ("If religion were a thing that money could buy,/The rich would live and the poor would die./All my trials Lord, soon be over.")

"And When I Die" ("And when I die, and when I'm dead, dead and gone,/There'll be one child born and a world to carry on,/There'll be one child born to carry on..../My troubles are many, they're as deep as a well,/I can swear there ain't no heaven, but I pray there ain't no hell.")

"I Dig Rock and Roll Music" ("I think I could say somethin' if you know what I mean/But if I really say it, the radio won't play it/Unless I lay it between the lines!")

I can still hear the sound! Now I have to go unearth some of my LP's...

JohnF said...


You have a pretty good memory!

Dave said...

Yes, I do.

(JohnF would be my father, if people are confused...)

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: Great! They put out an album for kids called "Peter, Paul & Mommy."

I listened to their first album a thousand times. Mary's voice is especially beautiful on "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."

In college, we listened to Album 1700 a lot. It's the one with "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and "The Great Mandella." Lots of less well known songs that you can get really attached to if you play the album straight through a lot.

Hi, Dave's dad.

Internet Ronin said...

I guess that 500 Miles and this one are my two favorites:

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go
I'm standing here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin', it's early morn
The taxi's waiting, he's blowin' his horn
Already I'm so lonesome I could cry.

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go.
I'm leavin' on a jet plane
I don't know when I'll be back again
Oh, babe, I hate to go.

There's so many times I've let you down
So many times I've played around
I tell you now, they don't mean a thing
Every place I go, I think of you
Every song I sing, I sing for you
When I come back, I'll wear your wedding ring.

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go.
I'm leavin' on a jet plane
I don't know when I'll be back again
Oh, babe, I hate to go.

Now the time has come to leave you
One more time let me kiss you
Then close your eyes, I'll be on my way.
Dream about the days to come
When I won't have to leave alone
About the times, I won't have to say,

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go.
I'm leavin' on a jet plane
I don't know when I'll be back again
Oh, babe, I hate to go.

Note: Word verification: idduh
Go figure ;-)

Simon said...

As Phil Lynott might have asked in another life: "d'you have any Republican in you? D'you want some republican in you?"

The Drill SGT said...

They probably did some better work (e.g. Blowing in the Wind), but my emotional favorite and that of many of my buddies was "Leaving on a Jet Plane".

It was a hit in my Vietnam of 1970

paulfrommpls said...

What's odd is they were a pieced-together combo like The Monkees or the Sex Pistols. According to the ubiquitous Dylan bio, that is. Put together by Dylan's manager-to-be Albert Goldman - his idea of a folk supergroup, and it worked. No criticism here.

Pogo said...

Her comment seems to me a minor jest, akin to Reagan's quip after the assassination attempt, joking to his docs, "I hope you're all Republicans." (I'll admit, however, that the comment irked my sensitive Democrat mind in college, suggesting certain faults.) Retaining a sense of humor during a harrowing transplant is remarkable itself.

Ann Althouse said...

I'll bet people getting transplants make jokes like this all the time. I'll be even people whose dead loved ones have been the donors crack similar jokes.

runswithscissors said...

Don't mean to be sniggly or anything, but the song "Leaving on a jet plane" was written by John Denver, not P,P&M.

Internet Ronin said...

That's true, runswithscissors. It was John Denver's first hit as a songwriter (and quite possibly the only Denver song I care for). I don't think anyone meant to imply otherwise - we were thinking of songs performed by PP&M, many of which were written by others, as I am sure you know is not unusual in the music biz. ;-)

Pogo said...

Re: "I'll bet people getting transplants make jokes like this all the time."

I've worked with bone marrow transplant and hospice patients before. Not surprisingly, it varies. Some people just don't find humor a coping mechanism at all. Others wield it like a sword, daily.

When my dad had a major heart attack two years ago and had an emergency bypass, nearly a dozen of us were in the waiting room, laughing hard, joking, & telling stories, although it was far from clear that he'd survive. Other families were quite stoic and sad.

My dad, once alert after the procedure, was asked if he wanted to say anything.
He wrote on a little whiteboard, "There are 84 tiles on the ceiling."
Me: "Um, OK."
Dad: "I. Am. BORED."

Ann Althouse said...

Runs: I think most of us know PP&M didn't write "Jet Plane." We just like their version. Ditto "Blowin' In the Wind."

Pogo: I've been stuck at lectures where I've resorted to counting... just to have something to do with my mind.

jakemanjack said...

I'm surprised the Republican marrow didn't kill her. Republicans and their bodily fluids are evil.

You know - like Jews are "dirty".

Internet Ronin said...

No, I don't know, Jake.

Richard Dolan said...

I listened to PP&M a lot in the 60s. For me, they always captured the slightly otherworldly sweetness of that period, a time that more or less ended around 1968 when that sort of thing seemed to get drowned out in all the angry noise. Their classic songs were all about innocence and purity and (in truth) a life that never really was. Even more than other utopias, theirs had an attractive quality that still can exercise an emotional pull, even if mostly of the nostaligic sort.

Mary talks about her interest in politics, justice, equality, and their songs all reflected those interests in various ways. But none of that was central to their charm. Instead, it was the fact that their music was suffused with an almost childlike trust in the goodness of life itself, that in some perhaps not so obvious way, good would ultimately triumph if we all just did the right thing. They managed to convey that feeling as much, perhaps even more, by the purity of tone and simplicity of line in their music as they did by the lyrics. Mary's signing had a lot to do with that. The lyrics often reinforced that feeling, but at least to me, were less essential.

Everytime I hear their music now, it brings me back to 1964-5, when Hootenanny was the TV program I made sure never to miss. When people today talk about the 60s, they don't often mean that end of the decade, a time of sweetness and light when everything still seemed possible. Perhaps all of that was more about being 14 or so, but I associate a lot of it with PP&M's music.

angieoh! said...

I am not a child of the seventies, I attended college in the 90's but I really deeply love PP&M. In part because the music is sweet but not sugary. I love Lemon Tree (a little more obscure than Blowin in the Wind or Jet Plane) but still beautiful. I wish Mary the very best!

RogerA said...

Nice post about Mary and PPM--a really top notch group--I second Drill Sgts post--leaving on a jet plane was an anthem that many of us who served in Viet Nam adopted. That song, along with I left my heart in San Fransisco, which was the anthem of those who served a bit earlier in the conflict--the latter had to do with leaving from Travis AFB and returning after R and R. Amazing the power of songs to bring back memories.

John said...

I'm sorry. I can't leave without making a comment on how pathetic the NYTs is. Is it any wonder why some of the MSM has been labled as liberally biased? In the story - in fact the very quote chosen by Prof Althouse - the word Republican is a hyperlink. When you get to the page, a long list of other articles referring to Republicans appears and they are not too positive. Within the same quoted sentence, and throughout the article, the word Democrat is never linked.

Anyway, best wishes to Ms Travers. I enjoy PP&M's music also, but the Times is pathetic.

Bruce Hayden said...

1968 wasn't that stark of a dividing line. Rather, there was a blur running from somewhere between the assinations of King or Tet through to Watergate. We wanted the PP&M side of life, but more and more, reality intruded.

I started college in 1968, and recollect that we were much more into PP&M my first two years, but by my last two years, were much more into acid rock, etc.

It is interesting to go back and realize that we were pretty naive about Vietnam when we entered, even though it was by then a year beyond the maximum casualties. And as casualties dropped throughout my college career, the Vietnam War became ever more central to our concerns (possibly because we were getting ready to face the draft).

Acad Ronin said...

Hey, The Drill Sgt.

I am with you re "Leavin", and for the same reason.

M. Simon said...

Roger A,

Flying Tigers all the way.