Big wheels keep on turning.
Someone in the Chicago police department has terrible judgement and/or a racist streak. As police slowly rolled past protestors in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago, someone thought it would be a great idea to blast the southern anthem "Sweet Home Alabama."
Watch the video and read more on this story below the fold.
The meaning of the song has been somewhat debated over the years, but everyone agrees—including the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd—that it was meant as a counter message to Neil Young's "Southern Man" which took on the issues of racism and slavery. The most controversial lyrics of "Sweet Home Alabama" are below:
Well I heard mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don't need him around anyhow
Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you
In Birmingham they love the gov' nor (boo, boo, boo)
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth
While the meaning of the lyrics have been debated, there is no doubt it has become an anthem for those in the south. Others have noted that while music critics and fans alike have loved the song, there can be no debating the racist undertones seen throughout the genre:
Was Skynyrd's anthem of the same name a song of defiant pride, cocking a snook at Neil Young's Southern Man, or was it something much worse – a strutting defence of old Confederate values, complete with egregious tip of the stetson to segregationist governor George Wallace? Sweet Home Alabama is a stonking song, but Skynyrd's singer Ronnie van Zant wanted it both ways: to be both a bourbon-chugging rock rebel and the Yankee-baiting bigot that Young was decrying.
"Those of us who have characterised [Van Zant] as a misunderstood liberal," wrote Mark Kemp – one of Maycock's interviewees – in his excellent book Dixie Lullaby, "have done so only to placate our own irrational feelings of shame for responding to the passion in his music."
You would think
members of Chicago police department would know better than to fan the flames of an outraged public by playing such a controversial song. You would hope anyway. Whoever made the decision to blast this song showed incredibly poor judgement and is exactly the kind of cop that doesn't need to be walking the beat on the streets of Chicago.