Woody Guthrie: What He Still Teaches Us

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Folk singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie would have turned 100 on July 14, yet his words, music, and mission continue to stir us as if he were a contemporary figure, not just a legendary one. On Wednesday, NPR produced a retrospective on Guthrie that included this insightful quote from Time‘s  Joe Klein, who wrote a biography of the iconic figure in 1980.

“The further we get away from Woody’s birth and death, and take a look at his influence, [the more] it helps us learn about ourselves as Americans… There’s a wild-ass quality to this country that he personified. I go around the country. The greatest fear is that we’re losing that — we’re losing our creativity, our individualism. Woody was an individual, and a militantly individual individual.”

In this web-only video essay, Bill looks back at the singer-songwriter’s life and work, finding many points of irony and relevance given the current state of our economy and democracy. Is this land truly made for you and me? In this visual and musical journey, Bill asks the question, and puts forth a sobering answer.

 

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