From Silent Beginnings to Confident Endings

It’s no surprise that I’m rather quiet and shy. However, this semester has helped me gain somethings that really I don’t naturally have…Confidence and bravery. I had the bravery to tell everyone ‘Advertisers think I’m female’ from the ApplyMagicSauce platform we all did, and the confidence that just because marketers view me one way I’m more than a label. In a weird way, it’s helped me feel more comfortable with life. I’m not embarrassed anymore to say ‘I played with Barbies as a kid’.

And part of this bravery, this valor, this comfort in myself was further supported by researching Phil Ochs’ music and talking about him to individuals like fellow classmate Josh. That underneath my slew of speech difficulties and mockery I’ve experienced to this day still about my annunciation – I am Seth. So I guess what I’m getting at is this semester helped open my eyes to myself. To aid in quieting my own personal John Butler Train – The near mute, slightly creepy me – and return to you I am. And to help explain this, I decided to do something else that I learned this semester that helps speak the words I can’t find. A Spotify playlist of who I am. So that when I’m gone, and no longer in the second row third seat from the wall – I will be known. I may still be quietly sitting. So that the quiet demeanor of myself is shed even slightly, and that after Phil Ochs and our class as a whole… I rediscovered something I lost. So basically, even if I remain quiet and mostly silent in my future at OSU, at least now there’s a bit more information about me. And oddly, it seems like a way Phil would approve of…Even if they aren’t all his works. I’d also like to end the semester with a call back to the first blog we all had here on WordPress: New beginnings. I feel like that this feeling of rediscovery may carry forth to other fields and aspects of life – Even if I still still sit behind a wall of awkwardness and silence. It’s really about faking it til you make it…And that final project is almost made.

Vincent Playlist

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Knightlab and the TimelineJS

Timelines are something that can be incredibly interesting. They can help aid in the process of displaying information in an easy to understandable fashion, help aid in connections and can further help tie in the true distances between different events. For example, Anne Frank and Dr. Martin Luther King JR had the same birth year – showing the closeness between WWII and Civil Rights really were. One kind of timeline, structure wise, I personally like is Knight Lab’s Timeline JS.

TimelineJS is an easy to use open-source timeline website that can has helped input of media outlets including, but not limited to, The New York Times, NPR, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Owned by Northwestern University, it can stay online for an extended period time. Plus as it remains open-source it’s free and copyright free.

Furthermore, it can help create a fluid structure. For example, it can aid in both pinpointing down specific events such as the night Phil Ochs wore his infamous golden suit, to more broader time frames including the travel to other countries and continents like Africa or Cuba.

Additionally, TimelineJS also looks lovely as far as aesthetics with a semi minimal amount of flow and display – As far as text and images go. Also you are able to embed videos and multimedia into certain events.

Ultimately, I personally liked Knight Lab’s TimelineJS more however – I also enjoyed the structure and organization of TikiToki as it also looks well organized and easy on the eyes, even if I dislike the 3-D viewer personally as it looks a little bit tacky like almost like trying too hard / Could be hard to navigate or load for slower computers or even smart devices.

 

From Protest to Heartbreak: A Photo Essay

When we think of the 1960s and 1970s, a few common things rise up in our memory. Music, drugs, assassinations, but one thing rises up like driftwood in the rivers of time… The Vietnam ‘War’. One of our first military defeats and an event that affected America in countless ways, including set the tone for the remainder of the era. One way that it affected Phil Ochs, folk singer however was a transition in his music from antiwar to that of almost dirges, filled with heartache and sorrow for the lives lost. No more was it the near jubilant and almost bouncy rhythms of ‘Talking Vietnam’ but instead – The slow, meticulous, beats that are comparable to a funeral march.

 

Staring in 1964, America was happy to chase the ‘Red Menace’ out of South Vietnam. This can been seen with the line from the 1964 song Talking Vietnam

“Yes we burned out the jungles far and wide

Made sure those red apes had no place left to hide”.

 

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We were ready for war. Despite Phil Ochs not being particularly pro war – He did encapsulate the idea that surrounded it. Phil Ochs was able to show why people were going overseas, even if he disagreed with it such as from the song Draft Dodger Rag. Phil understood, even if jesting it at it with satire, that some people did want to go overseas and bravely fight for their country.

 

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Phil Ochs even mentioned the fact that despite Vietnam clearly being a war, America got around it with using terms in Talking Vietnam like:

 

“Well training is the word we use

Nice word to have in case we lose”

 

But the war began to drag on and on and on…The numbers, of both causalities and  horrors of war, began to take matter and what was once a small conflict began to escalate to a war and soon a tragedy. And that lives were ending because of our urge to control. This can viewed with Phil Och’s Song Cops of the World  in 1966 which describes America and the strength it has in regards to the destruction of people in foreign countries:

 

“We’ve got too much money We’re Looking for Toys

And Guns will be Guns and Boys will be Boys

But we’ll gladly pay for all we destroy

’cause we’re the Cops of the World, boys”

 

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Cops of the World also has the consequence of showing America in the light of maybe not always going to war, or as a police action, for positive reasons.

 

“Better watch what you say

We’ve rammed in your harbor and tied to your port

And our pistols are hungry and our tempers are short

So bring your daughters around to the port

‘Cause we’re the cops of the world, boys”

 

Phil Ochs displayed almost mourning for those gone overseas to fight but never returned as more and more of his music began turning away from protest, to more of heartbreak. For a logistics moment, when the Vietnam war ended on April 30, 1975 a total 58, 220 Americans died and an estimated 3.1 million (both Vietnamese civilians and soldiers).

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As Phil Ochs was someone who cared for people in his own way, this massive sum of fatalities probably wasn’t the greatest for someone experiencing depression. He didn’t care if you were born under the American or Argentinian or Cuban flag – He cared about the pain. In a way, it’s not too terribly surprising that almost a year exactly from the last soldiers departed form Vietnam Phil Ochs killed himself.

 

 

The Sixties, in general, were a very split era as an article by Stanley Kurtz for the Hoover Institution here points out. With the front half coming off one of the most affluent eras of America and the introduction of Civil Rights for numerous minorities, the end of the 1960s were more dark and desolate. The hope that once flowed was now gone…Gone and replaced by grim reminders of mortality as entire towns and cities were emptied. Gone with best friends, boyfriends, husbands who never came home. Gone was the love, and in came the sorrow. I think Phil Ochs described the consensus with a the song A Toast to Those Who Are Gone that was recorded around the mid 1960s, but released in 1986:

 

“Many’s the hour I’ve lain by my window

And though of the people who carried the burden

Who Marched in the strange fields in search of an answers

And ended their journey a unwilling hero.”

 

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“Here’s a song to those who are gone with never a reason why

And a toast of the wine at the end of the line

And a toll of the bell for the next one to die”

 

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Vietnam was a huge split, a divider even from the ‘rocking’ era that was the 1960s. But everything ends. Some vastly too soon, and others not soon enough. Phil Ochs was one of those who was slightly the product of the era that surrounded him. And what once was once Draft Dodger Rag became a One Way Ticket Home, and soon A Toast to Those Who Are Gone. So despite truancy, I want to give praise and accolades to an unlikely hero who never intended to become one. Using a quote from the song the mid 1960s I’m Tired:

“Sometimes I stop and ask to myself

Oh why should I be so alone”

 

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Can’t Seem to Get My Phil: Audio Project with Fellow Classmate, Josh Davidson

The interview that I had with fellow classmate Joshua Davidson was interesting, to say the least. What worked well was my partners knowledge of audio recording and manipulation to provide an excellent sounding recording and almost dialogue. However, during the recording process we did have a minor problem with the mix and getting all of the recorded audio in one take. Additionally, as I was nervous, I kept stumbling on my words and speech. Upon listening to the actual recording, we realized two things. One, on our second take recording Josh’s microphone met with an untimely end which made us sound like the spawns of Satan. When we did get the audio to record correctly, I personally realized two things. One, my voice is really annoying sounding in a digital format. And two, I sound absolutely nothing like Tim Curry (Which I didn’t think I did sound like, but a guy can wish). Regardless, after sorting out our audio recording and I feigned confidence in communication – It went better.

The actual process was surprisingly smoother than I honestly anticipated. I thought it would be this horribly arduous event that would encourage me to speak even less than I already do but instead – It was fluid. We actually sounded like a semi professional unit, a micro NPR presentation almost discussing the folk hero that was Phil Ochs. Furthermore, there was a minor miscommunication debacle about whom should upload it it but again – After that, it was smooth sailing.

Phil Ochs: When in Rome / On the Road

https://genius.com/14082870

The option I chose was an addition for Phil Ochs’ song ‘When in Rome’ and the relation to beat author Jack Kerouac’s book ‘On the Road’, published in 1957. As influential as the book was, it isn’t surprising that Phil Ochs read it during his time at Ohio State in 1958. This book documented the ‘real’ America while Jack Kerouac hitchhiked across America, which explains some of the topics of Phil Ochs’ songs including understanding the plight of liberals in ‘Love Me, I’m a Liberal’. Additionally, much as how Jack Kerouac quested forth to find the real America, Phil Ochs also had his own personal journey against America as documented in the documentary  There is but Fortune (Minute 57).

In addition, both Kerouac and Ochs became men great than themselves. One leading to the counterculture of beats, along with writers like Allen Ginsberg, and the other being a folk hero who lead forth across America with the reality of the every man. Who lead forth with the reality of those going against the stream in dodging drafts and civil rights. Who lead forth with the voices of the unspoken, both from the system and from the inner struggles.

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Image from Jack Kerouac’s diary of his hitchhiking odyssey.

Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole’ Ochs Tree

 

Phil Ochs’ music has a rather personal touch to me personally. As I was raised primarily by a former 1960’s musician who avoided ‘Nam and a Native American rights activist / artist, I have had a liberal point of view for the majority of life and still today. Phil’s music however…It hit several points for my life. Playlist can be found here.

 

When I’m Gone

Majority of my friends struggle with depression and suicidal tendencies, much as what took over Phil Ochs in the end. This song fully encapsulates the thinking that they struggle with – That the world isn’t for them. That their problems will still cling to them like pet fur to a white coat. No love, no sanctuary…Only freedom from the clutches of living with pain and suffering.

 

Love Me, I’m a Liberal

As much as it might offend some people, I’m a liberal. When others were playing baseball or football in High School, myself and a group of other students worked with Planned Parenthood to get Sex Education classes to more schools in addition to distributing condoms for the entire school (They eventually became currency for homework and other questionable things, but not the point right now.). This song brings home that Phil Ochs wanted equality for all – That things can be peaceful, against the actions of Malcolm X and how we can be united for all. The ideals of the UN, and the ‘reception’ that can be caused by protesting just pleading for love. Love me, I’m a liberal in a nation that doesn’t want people to speak.

 

Draft Dodger Rag

Going back to my godfather, he avoided the draft by claiming he was gay (1960’s were a different time) and ingesting so many beets, it looked like he was urinating blood. He’s even told me the his friends who got drafted and him started up the night before they shipped out listening to the Beatles White Album. Everyone but him passed out and he spent the night crying quietly and listening to that record on repeat. And out of his 14 friends who went out…Only 1 returned. A front line paramedic pilot who has several hours of fly time over battlefields torn apart by the jaws of war, and the carnage left behind. This song shows that people could’ve supported the war but didn’t want to end up just another nameless lost for Johnson to give his condolences to.

 

Do What I Have To Do

It’s no surprise that I don’t speak much. In fact, people have actually thought I’m mute I speak so little. But when I do speak, I want it to have significance. I want it to mean something – I want to be adamant about my positions and opinions. So much like Phil, I’m gonna do what I have to do to make this world better.

 

Morning

This shows the era of Phil. That everyday comes. The sun still is going to shine. That your hang over or acid trip will be gone…And that things will change, no matter how rough things get. And that the morning is something that we should carry with us, as a reminder that yes our drinks are done and yes horrible atrocious are happening but it’s ok. It’s morning.

 

My personal playlist shows the ideas of Phil Ochs: A troubled soul who wanted change. That he understood the perils of his ideas, and that things will change – Hopefully for the better. But that tragically, he was right – Things have changed. Are we really any better today? I would like to close out with a couple of lines from “When I’m Gone”:

“Can’t live proud enough to die when I’m gone
So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.”

 

 

Woodie Guthrie and the Covenant of the Lost Archieves

Despite my numerous shortcomings, there is one thing I’m rather proud of: I work, and have been for about three years, in with a historic preservation office of the Osage nation. Amongst all the things I personally do, their is one thing specifically that I put care into like a child are the archival primary documents. These include hand written letters from the 1800’s and even original photographs from the era. Because of this, I feel like I have a decent understanding of what archivists do. I anticipate the Woodie Guthrie archives to be a bastion of organization, structure and implementing tools such as archival paper clips and archival tissue paper. Additionally, I’d like to hope that documents are stored in a climate control area, if not slightly chilled to prevent bacteria and mold from taking hold after previously held in the bowels of other individuals. My questions are first what the most illustrious archival piece in the Woody Guthrie center. Second I would like to know the general time it takes to properly enter pieces into their respective database and if processing speed depends on medium.