Saturday, 7 March 2009

The Press on Trial: Crimes and Trials as Media Events

Edited by Lloyd Chiasson Jr.

The Chicago Seven staged street theater in Federal District Court, with a parade of defense witnesses drawn from the counterculture. Folksinger Phil Ochs was called to the stand to perform a rendition of his protest song "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore" accompanied on a guitar that attorneys had submitted as a defense exhibit. The judge sustained the prosecution's objection to the guitar, permitting the singer to recite lyrics about how the old lead the young to war and death, about how they want the young to fight and kill and then do it all again, about how it's always the young to die. As Ochs concluded, "[B]ut I ain't marchin' anymore."

The judge later refused to let twenty-two-year-old Arlo Guthrie sing his folk anthem, "Alice's Restaurant." "No reflection on your professional capacity--just a matter of law," the judge remarked. At a news conference outside the court, Guthrie said of the trial: "It's like Perry Mason. The good guys are in trouble. The bad guys have the evidence. But the good guys are going to win--like they always do."


mcatlady54 said...

Didn't Phil once say something to the effect that the key to changing America was to get Elvis Presley to become Che Guevera? Sometimes the law is an ass and like Arlo always said "if you wanna stop war and stuff, you gotta sing LOUD". You have a fantastic blog!

tnk said...

Thanks! And yes, Phil said it at the Gunfight at Carnegie Hall concert: "If there's any hope for America, it lies in a revolution, and if there's any hope for a revolution in America, it lies in getting Elvis Presley to become Che Guevara."