Pandaemonium

THE LONESOME DEATH OF TRAYVON MARTIN

In 1963 Bob Dylan wrote ‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll’, the story of the murder of a 51-year-old barmaid by the wealthy young tobacco farmer William Devereux ‘Billy’ Zantzinger, who eventually received a six month sentence for the killing. That sentence was handed down on the same day that Martin Luther King delivered his I Have a Dream speech in Washington, at the end of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Dylan was one of the marchers. Returning home to New York, he sat in an all-night coffee shop on Seventh Avenue and wrote his song. Influenced, as Dylan observed in his autobiography, by Brecht and Weil, the song (which came out the following year in The Times They Are A Changin’ album) is an excoriating assault not just on racism, but on the collusion of the authorities, the law and liberal opinion:

In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all’s equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain’t pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught ’em
And that ladder of law has no top and no bottom
Stared at the person who killed for no reason
Who just happened to be feelin’ that way without warnin’
And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance
William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence.
Ah, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now’s the time for your tears.

The year that Hattie Carroll was murdered was also the year black civil rights activist Medgar Evers was shot dead by Byron de la Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens’ Council (another event about which Dylan wrote a song); twice all-white juries refused to convict Beckwith. It was the year in which the Klu Klux Klan bombed a black church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four girls. It was the year in which whites rode round Cambridge, Maryland, in cars firing on blacks during the desegregation of the town.

Fifty years on, America is a very different place. It is not a ‘postracial’ society. But neither is it in the grip of Jim Crow racism as it was in 1963.  Both the law and public opinion are in a very different place than they were half a century ago. And yet, when I heard of the killing of Trayvon Martin, I could not but help think of the Dylan song. The response of the media and of the Justice Department, and the public outrage at the failure to bring his killer to book, reveal how much America has transformed. The killing itself, the insouciance of Martin’s killer George Zimmerman, and the attitude of the local police, reveal the demons that still lie beneath. So here, in the week that marks the fiftieth anniversary of his first album, is Dylan playing ‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll’ on the Steve Allen Show, the first time it was broadcast:

10 comments

  1. Ed Douglas

    Pretty sure, however unpleasant and ‘insouciant’ Zantzinger was, he didn’t intend to kill Hattie Carroll. The Martin case is in several ways far worse. Great song though, and in the light of debates about Mike Daisey making stuff up, good evidence for the defence. Zantzinger was a racist, whatever he did or didn’t mean to do.

  2. whether or not he intended to kill – he did and 6 months was a crime in itself !

    Dylan came into my life when I was about 15/16 – and was a great part of my discovering a moral landscape for myself

  3. wlindsaywheeler

    Yes, America has changed but is that for the better? Steve Sailor noted that “The incarceration rate of black male high school dropouts was one percent in the Bad Old Days of Dwight Eisenhower’s last year in office versus 25 percent in Bill Clinton’s glorious finale.” (from Bad Men, New Pornography) I see Amerika as being more violent and factionalized. Just recently over 100 year old historic livery stables burned due to arsonist fires. Under the big bad old America, no one thought of torching buildings for the fun of it.

    Trayvon Martin was killed by an Hispanic. It is the Hispanics that are displacing the blacks in their historic sections of LA through intimidation and violence. European whites have nothing to do with this. So an all-white police department is protecting a Hispanic against a black? Really?

    So when do you notice the killing of Trayvon Martin but not the killing of Bob Strait, WWII vet, by Tyrone Woodfork? Or how about the huge statistics of blacks raping white women? Where are the statistics of white men raping black women? Oops, I forgot, there is none.

    “In a 1974 study in Denver, 40 percent of all rapes were of whites by blacks, and not one case of white-on-black rape was found. In general, through the 1970s, black-on-white rape was at least ten times more common that white-on-black rape. [319]

    Because interracial rape is now overwhelmingly black on white, it has become difficult to do research on it or to find relevant statistics.”

    Yes, Amerika has changed. I live in a nasty, brutal, dirty, disgusting environment with condoms on the sidewalk, liquor bottles thrown everywhere, trash blowing everywhere, and all sorts of mulatto children being pushed around by their white grandparents. Yes, Amerika is a beautiful place under Liberal Domination.

    • So, what are you trying to say? That whites are the real victims of racism? In which case you must be living in a parallel universe. Of course, you’re right, America was a much better place in the days of segregation, Jim Crow laws, and the lynching of blacks. It was a nation with no crime, no arson, no rapes. Come on, get real. And to return to reality, ask yourself this: if Martin had been white and his assailant black, do you think the local police would have ignored the killing?

      • wlindsaywheeler

        What I’m saying is that “racism”, really racial prejudice, is part of the Laws of Nature. It is part of group dynamics in the insect world (i.e. ants, termites), in the animal world (i.e. wolve packs, lion prides, baboons, gorillas), and amongst humans. As Johann Herder explained all groups have a “sense of belonging” and volkenhass; i.e. ying and yang, with one, comes another. Without “sense of belonging” and volkenhass, racial groups would dissolve. The dissolving of the racial group is called genocide. Political correctness is a genocidal ideology. Your so-called “racism” exists everywhere and has a purpose in nature.

        Whenever, human racial groups touch there is violence. That can’t be stopped except by buffer zones. If you look at that Eisenhower period, as Steve Sailor noted, only one percent of black dropouts ended up in jail compared to 25% under Clinton. What does that tell you?

        It is about R-E-A-L-I-T-Y. Instead of trying to “fix the world”, one must accept reality–as is. Under segregation, America was a much more disciplined nation. It is a law of nature that groups live by themselves, i.e. “Birds of a feather flock together”. That is also a Law of Nature or Natural Law.
        The African American, generally, has very low impulse control. That is a factor. Low impulse control leads to violence and rapes. In this course, the only thing that controls low impulse control is violence from the outside. If it doesn’t come from inside, it must come from outside. Under Clinton, where the European has been deracinated and effeminized, the African is becoming more belligerant. There is a whole ton of African violence commited against Europeans that is NOT being mentioned by the Mainstream Media. The Mainstream media is covering up a whole host of Black on White crime. Because the Mainstream Media is filled with Liberals, they don’t want to engage in reality but in ideology, and in fixing the world. The Black violence is growing.

        You must read Aristotle who had no ideological pretenses. There is a reason why he is labeled a “realist philosopher”. In his book, Politics, Aristotle notes another Natural Law: “All things are either in Authority or in Subjection”. ALL Things. All of reality is based on this. Either the European rules, or the Black rules. That is the name of the game. You can’t change that. A race that has low impulse control can not and should not be in a position of authority because it can not control its passions. This is reality.

        Yes some bad things happened in the past, but also some good. You’ve got to understand that all things come in twos. There is male and female, positive and negative, belonging and volkenhass, and with the good comes some bad. You can not change that. It is how reality is constructed.

      • What I’m saying is that “racism”, really racial prejudice, is part of the Laws of Nature. It is part of group dynamics in the insect world (i.e. ants, termites), in the animal world (i.e. wolve packs, lion prides, baboons, gorillas), and amongst humans.

        Next you’ll be telling us that ants practice slavery and ducks rape each other, and that slavery and rape are simply ‘part of the Laws of Nature’. The tendency to form in-groups and out-groups may be an evolved trait but racism is not a ‘natural’ phenomenon, still less one to be understood by studying wolf packs or ant colonies. Since I’ve spent considerable time over many years writing a number of books detailing why racism is not a historical universal, let alone a natural one, rather waste my time detailing those arguments here, I suggest you read one of them.

        As Johann Herder explained all groups have a “sense of belonging” and volkenhass; i.e. ying and yang, with one, comes another.

        And as I have spent considerable part of those books developing a critique of Herder and of Romantic notions of human difference, again I suggest you read one of them.

        as Steve Sailor noted

        It might help your cause to broaden you reading beyond Steve Sailor. He is to serious debate as Rush Limbaugh is to liberal policy.

        Under segregation, America was a much more disciplined nation.

        I can see how lynchings, murders and denying a whole group their humanity made for a ‘much more disciplined nation’.

        The African American, generally, has very low impulse control

        If they have to put up with arguments such as this, I’m not surprised. I would have too.

        Low impulse control leads to violence and rapes. In this course, the only thing that controls low impulse control is violence from the outside. If it doesn’t come from inside, it must come from outside.

        Leaving aside the fact of your gratuitous racism, what then explains the fact that majority of rapes in the USA are committed by white men?

        You must read Aristotle who had no ideological pretenses. There is a reason why he is labeled a “realist philosopher”. In his book, Politics, Aristotle notes another Natural Law: “All things are either in Authority or in Subjection”. ALL Things. All of reality is based on this.

        Lord save me from those who’ve read a line of Aristotle and think that quoting it clinches every debate.

        A race that has low impulse control can not and should not be in a position of authority because it can not control its passions. This is reality. 


        And people who keep spouting racist nonsense should really keep off commenting because they cannot control their idiocy. That is reality.

  4. wlindsaywheeler

    When are you going to cover the lonesome death of Bob Strait a WWII vet and the brutal rape and beating that his wife got at the hands of an African American?

    Yep, your liberal totalitarianism at work.

  5. wlindsaywheeler

    From Lawerence Auster: Obama says, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”; and, the TRUTH of why Zimmerman shot Trayvon
    It is reported in detail, by Kyle Rogers in the Charlotte Conservative Examiner (thanks to Wayne Lutton for sending), that the witness at the scene told police that Martin had Zimmerman on the ground and was punching him when Zimmerman shot him:

    1. The witness reports that George Zimmerman was on the ground and Trayvon is on top of him punching him.

    2. The witness says that George Zimmerman was screaming and yelling for help.

    3. Police arrive and find Zimmerman bleeding on his face and the back of his head. He also has had grass stains on his back. All this confirms the story told by Zimmerman and the witness.

    4. Police play the 911 tape for Trayvon Martin’s father, who tells police that the voice screaming is not the voice of his son.

    There is the TRUTH.

    Wow. Drudge is reporting that Zimmerman is hispanic and has many black friends. So is this still a hate crime?

  6. That is Zimmerman’s story, and of course he would claim that. For the other side of the argument, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Atlantic blog is worth having look. In any case, my point was not so much about Zimmerman, as about the police response.

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