“I pity the poor immigrant”: the meaning of the music and the lyrics
By Tony Attwood
This is a song that has attracted few commentaries, but those who have ventured into it have wandered deep, dark and different roads as they have endeavoured to make sense of the whole piece.
Speaking generally, there are two separate approaches that have been explored. One focuses on the use of the word “immigrant” and what that means, and how the words flow on from that point, and the other focuses on the music. I’ll try and take a quick look at each approach.
I Pity The Poor Immigrant
Written by: Bob Dylan
I pity the poor immigrant
Who wishes he would’ve stayed home
Who uses all his power to do evil
But in the end is always left so alone
That man whom with his fingers cheats
And who lies with ev’ry breath
Who passionately hates his life
And likewise, fears his death
I pity the poor immigrant
Whose strength is spent in vain
Whose heaven is like Ironsides
Whose tears are like rain
Who eats but is not satisfied
Who hears but does not see
Who falls in love with wealth itself
And turns his back on me
I pity the poor immigrant
Who tramples through the mud
Who fills his mouth with laughing
And who builds his town with blood
Whose visions in the final end
Must shatter like the glass
I pity the poor immigrant
When his gladness comes to pass
Copyright © 1968 by Dwarf Music; renewed 1996 Dwarf Music
The Times finally gets to the bottom of Trump supporters: It turns out they’re garbage human beings
Daily Kos Staff
Go team adultery / child detention / fake charities / money laundering / sexism / racism / actual genuine treason. Getty Images
In the New York Times‘ quest to get to the bottom of what makes every last Trump supporter in America tick, we have been treated to endless interviews, loving tributes to downtrodden towns in which nary a non-white person is ever seen, and one particular day when the op-ed pages were turned over to Trump supporters to argue for Trump’s genius directly. But this is still not enough, and so Sunday’s paper included a zoological analysis from a journalist who grew up among them.
It is meant to be flattering, or at least neutral, but the short version is that the people who have been bleating about “family values” for the last half-century do not actually give a flying damn about family values and never did. It was all garbage from the get-go. While people from “college” or “in New York” or “religiously conservative” or “liberal” or take-your pick all had harsh words for the crooked, lying, adulterous, misogynist trash-heap of a human being, the salt-of-the-earth Trump supporters back in Nebraska could not possibly care less about the bullshit-laden values attributed to them in fawning tributes to the heartland’s common clay.
To hell with it all: Go team adulter-crook!
In contrast, almost all of the people I know in my hometown in Nebraska proudly supported him. They glossed over his infidelities and stressed that he seemed to be a good father. They were impressed by his “respectful” sons and admired the success of his daughters.
“Glossed over” is a fine phrase. “Good father” is quite the phrase itself. And this new notion of “respectful,” which apparently consists of “glossing over” his sons’ histories of charity fraud, public attacks on black politicians, and that whole ‘met Russian agents in Trump Tower’ thing, is doing quite the heavy lift.
Reading between the lines, what we have here is a group of people who practice what is known in the rest of the world as aggressive ignorance. You can’t say that Trump’s behavior bothers you if you drive wooden stakes into both ears and swear you didn’t hear about any of it.
The author goes through some trouble and many paragraphs to explain this phenomenon of Trump support despite Trump’s grotesque family-values-averse behaviors via a mix of sociology and class, because we are not allowed to point out that these people are simply dishonest bullshitters. When you grow up in Nebraska, you are apparently expected to bleat about family values and the corruption of the elites, to be sure—but, socioeconomically speaking, it is apparently all a ruse meant for the children and whatever gullible reporters wander through town. In reality, when it comes to the churches and the voting booths, you can be as adulterous as you want, cheat your neighbor eagerly and gleefully, lie to everyone about everything and—if you are in the right tribe, and only if you are in the right tribe—it is expected.
We’re not supposed to say it, but that is what the sociological modal boils down to. I think all of us have ample experience with these sorts of human beings, and it is not necessarily political. I believe I have pointed out multiple times that in my own experiences, for example, if any business owner mentions Jesus within the first 10 minutes of meeting you you can be absolutely, 100 percent assured they are out to scam you, good and hard, which is an interesting metric of what so-called Christianity has been reduced to in many subsets of the American psyche. But in general, journalists and other neutral observers are not supposed to notice that wide swaths of society are, in fact, Not Good People. Even if there are entire churches or towns filled with them.
And so we instead get it explained to us in very neutral, analytical terms. Can’t very well take to the pages of the New York Times to explain that Trump voters are wife-beating fascists who admire Trump’s ability to build a golden tower for himself by cheating other people out of their money, but even in its most anodyne formulation the message is clear: Trump’s version of “family values” plays well to people who themselves have none.
Baffling as it may be to elites, Mr. Trump embodies a real if imperfect model of family values. People familiar with the purple family model tend to view his alienation from his children’s mother as normal and his closeness to his children as exceptional and admirable. I saw this among my acquaintances in Nebraska. Even those from red families were more likely than my acquaintances in New York to know someone who has had a child out of wedlock or is subject to a restraining order.
See there? By God, being a do-nothing father with no apparent love for his kids is the downright admirable way to raise a family. And who, among Trump’s base, has not had a restraining order slapped on them at some point in their lives? Oopsies have been made.
The only way Trump could connect with these fine upstanding voters any deeper than he has, I tell you, is to start a meth lab in his basement.
Yes, yes, this is all very rude—but strip the roundabout talk of religious denominations and average family incomes and the rest of the ancillary smoke tossed into the piece and you are left with the blunt notion that Trump’s supporters absolutely Do Not Care about his adultery, his misogyny, his lies, his crookedness, his racism, or the possibility that he committed treason against his nation in order to sit at the desk he now sits at. That is what they, themselves, will eagerly tell you.
And from a moral point of view, rather than a socioeconomic one, there’s no “but economic status” or “but particular sub-denomination of Jesus” that justifies that.
Plainly put: These are the hallmarks of terrible human beings. People who you would not trust with your children. People you would go out of your way to avoid, if you did care about honesty or family values. These are the people who press their mistresses for abortions but who also are not vexed by abortion-providing doctors being murdered in their Kansas churches; they are confederate flag-wavers in Union states, miffed that new civil rights laws a half century ago slighted their own ne’er-do-well families in some never-quite-describable way; these are people who are so obsessed with the thought that someone better is looking down on them that they are willing to punch whatever kittens need punching in order to prove they’re at least better at kitten-punching than the rest of you. The opioid epidemic is centered in Trump-supporting counties. The demand that brown-looking children be placed in detention camps for fear that a terrified 8-year-old might be a hardened gang leader is a phenomenon of Trump-Supporting counties. The insistence that Treason Might Be Good Now is peddled by Fox News celebrities to die-hard Trump supporters who will repeat and retweet it willing and eagerly; it was Trump supporters, Jesus-punchers every one, who gave Alabama crapsack Roy Moore their votes even after his exposure as a child molester—complete with Bible citations from “conservative” pastors arguing that Roy Moore trolling the malls for a child bride was, in fact, in fine Old Testament tradition.
There is an obsessive need, in our journalistic culture, to explain bad behavior away. Donald Trump is not an amoral cesspool of lies, he is merely engaging in a particular brand of political rhetoric that seeks to persuade via the creative denial of the world everyone else can see with their own two eyes—and it’s not for we keepers of the truth to judge. Donald Trump’s supporters are not themselves dismal human beings who have open contempt for anyone not in their own small tribe, people who are forever obsessed with harming every other tribe in every other way, regardless of how it is done or how many family values rules need to be broken to do it, but are waving their little rebel flags and demanding child internment camps because their economic anxiety has gotten their stomachs all a-knotted of late.
But the acts speak for themselves. Trump’s supporters do not care about his values, his lies, the means by which he achieves his ends, or whether or not he burns the Constitution in a barbecue pit so long as he can make them feel better about their own lot in life. This is not our construction, but their own; you need not look very far in any interview to find it. They are not good people. They are not good Americans, and their so-called morals are reptilian at best. We are allowed to say it.
You want to find good people, look for the people who are just as poor but care for others anyway, or who are under just as much economic stress but do not use it as excuse for cheating and stealing their way through it—or offering up eager praise for those that do. Good people don’t claim to have family values and then discard those values at the drop of a hat when a rich, shouting hatebag they saw on their television set tells them to ignore all that. Good people don’t soak themselves in transparent lies about immigrants or minorities, then declare everyone else to be “elites” arrayed against them in “elite”-minded conspiracy when some newspaper, somewhere, points out that those things were, in fact, cheap and tawdry lies.
The more we hear from Trump defenders, the more transparent it is that they are indeed, well, bad. It’s terribly rude to say, and the press cannot say it, but the rest of us can. If you still support Trump at this late date, you are a terrible human being. You should, in fact, feel bad about yourself.
Yes, the rest of us do indeed look down on these people. Those of us with actual family values do; those of us who care about honesty in government do; those of us who are not furious bulging-eyed racists do; those of us who believe thousands of years of scientific discoveries are worth more than the dribbling pronouncements of a street-corner charlatan do; those of us with actual religious convictions do; those of us who are actual patriots do.
And we’re not sorry. Get your act together, you losers. You voted for a two-bit conman you saw on a television show, and you did it because you either didn’t care, didn’t pay attention, or because you wanted to be conned good and hard. But that was then, this is now, and you are allowed to change your mind and remember all the things you supposedly believed in before this glowing orange lunatic arrived on the scene to Make Sleaze Great Again.
You want to be respected, then do something worthy of respect. It’s as simple as that.
The New York Times article referenced can be found at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/01/opinion/trumps-purple-family-values.html?smid=tw-nytopinion&smtyp=cur
The games from the National Open were being broadcast by a website new to me, FollowChess (http://followchess.com/news/). Further exploration brought a page of upsets, nothing but upsets (http://followchess.com/share/). Everyone loves an upset, unless they are the one being upset! The first entry is:
Upset in Sautron: Flachet 2025 beat Sergeev 2417. Attack & Tactics!
October 27, 2017
The game is, according to 365Chess, a C00 French, Chigorin variation! What are the odds?! If you are a regular of this blog you KNOW I was compelled to play over the game…
Vladimir Sergeev (2417) vs Thierry Flachet (2025)
17e open international de Sautron, 2017.10.26
1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 Be7 (Stockfish at the ChessBaseDataBase gives this as best. Komodo prefers 2…c5, which is the move chosen by Siegbert Tarrasch
in the second game of the 1893 match with Mikhail Chigorin,
still the most outstanding Chess match ever contested. Seven times Chigorin played 2 Qe2 against his opponent’s French defense. If you have not played over the match I urge you do do so. It can be found at a fantastic historical website, chessgames.com (http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chess.pl?tid=85135)
Here is a game played by Chigorin and the man who lost the US Chess Championship to Frank Marshall,
Jackson Whipps Showalter,
on June 13, 1899 in London. Chigorin pulled a rabbit out of his hat when playing his third move, a move that cannot be found at the CBDB!
Mikhail Chigorin vs Jackson Whipps Showalter
1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Qg4 Nf6 4. Qxg7 Rg8 5. Qh6 Nc6 6. Nf3 Rg6 7. Qe3 d5 8. e5 d4 9. Qb3 Nd7 10. Bb5 Nc5 11. Qc4 Rxg2 12. b4 Nd7 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. Qxd4 Rb8 15. Ba3 a5 16. bxa5 Rxb1+ 17. Rxb1 Bxa3 18. Qa4 Bc5 19. Qxc6 Kf8 20. d4 Be7 21. a6 Bxa6 22. Qxa6 Nb6 23. Qb7 Kg7 24. Kf1 Rg6 25. Rg1 Nd5 26. Rxg6+ hxg6 27. c4 Nf4 28. Qb8 Qd7 29. Qa8 Bf8 30. Rb8 Qe7 31. c5 Nh3 32. Qc6 1-0. Back to the game…)
3 Nf3 d5 4 e5 (Komodo’s choice of 4 d3 is far and away the most often played move, although Stockfish 9 at a depth of 32 gives 4 d4. Stochfish 9×64, at a depth of 25, shows the game move)
4…Nh6 (SF 9 and Komodo 11.2 2 64-bit at depth 27 play 4…c5, but Komodo 9.2 64-bit at depth 25 would play the game move)
5 h4? (I considered being kind and including an exclamation mark after the question mark but not because the move is dubious but because the move is so shocking. Consider for a moment you are sitting across from your student. Let us call him “Allen.” He has just begun showing his most recent rated game and you are sitting behind the black pieces. Your first instinct may be something like, “What the hell kinda move is THAT?!” You cannot say this because Allen is a “Priest.” So you stifle yourself and say, “That is a bad move.” Although a middle-aged man Allen looks like one of your young students as he hangs his head before asking, “Why is it bad?” As you sit gazing into the distance you consider his lowly 701 rating and recall some of the lame opening moves you played in the past before replying, “Because it is unnecessary.” Then you tell him about how important time is in the opening phase of the game, and of the many things one needs to accomplish in the opening, such as development, etc. You would follow by explaining why 5 g3, to develop the bishop, is the way to play this particular opening. This would also be the time you attempted to explain why h4 may be a decent move in the opening if black has weakened his pawn structure when playing g6. This would make Allen feel a little better, especially if you add, “In many openings the same moves are played, but what matters is not the move played, but the order in which they are played. There must be a reason for every move.” Since you must sit there and see the remaining moves of Allen’s game you decide to show him the opening moves of the game between Dimitri Bogdanov (2175) and Bjorn Brinck Claussen (2354) from the 21st Politiken Cup in 1999 at Copenhagen. 1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 Be7 3 Nf3 d5 4 e5 Nh6 5 g3 f5 6 d4 Nf7 7 h4. “See how the pawn stops any black piece from coming to g5?” you ask. “Now the rook pawn move has a purpose,” you say as the color begins returning to Allen’s face. This causes you to show him the rest of the game before having to get back to his game. After all, you are getting paid by the hour…
7…c5 8. dxc5 Na6 9. Be3 Qc7 10. Bg2 Nxc5 11. Bd4 O-O 12. O-O Bd7 13. Re1 b5 14. Nbd2 a5 15. Bxc5 Qxc5 16. Nb3 Qb6 17. Nbd4 Nd8 18. Qd2 Nb7 19. Rad1 Nc5 20. Qf4 b4 21. Bf1 a4 22. Re3 Ne4 23. Rdd3 a3 24. bxa3 Rxa3 25. Rxa3 bxa3 26. Rb3 Qa7 27. Kg2 Rc8 28. Qe3 Qc7 29. Ba6 Rb8 30. Rxb8+ Qxb8 31. Qb3 Qa7 32. Bb5 Bc8 33. c4 Bc5 34. Qd3 g6 35. cxd5 exd5 36. Nc6 Qb6 37. Qxd5+ Kg7 38. Bc4 Qb2 39. Kh3 Qxf2 0-1)
5…c5 6 d3 Nf5 (6…Ng4 would be possible because of white playing pawn to h4) 7 c3 h6 8 h5 Nc6 9 Na3 a6 10 Nc2 b5
11 g3 (Although the move could have possibly been played earlier, now looks like the right time for 11 g4)
11…a5 (The coach would have to take time here explaining why development should be completed before launching any kind of aggressive movement, such as the last move. 11…O-O or Bb7 are good alternative moves)
12 Bg2 Rb8 13 Bf4 b4 14 c4 b3 15 ab3 Rb3 16 Bc1 Ba6 17 O-O O-O 18 Re1 dc4 19 dc4 Ncd4 20 Ncd4 Nd4 21 Nd4 cd4
22 Rd1 (22 Qg4! Kh8 23 Bd2 looks about equal) 22…Bc5 23 Be4? (23 Bxh6! gxh6 24 Qg4+ Kh8 25 Qf4 Kh7 26 Be4+ Kg7 27 Qg4+ Kh8 28 Qf4 looks like all white can hope for at this point in the game)
Take a good look at this position as black. What move would you make?
23 Rg3! (Brings the house DOWN! Examine ALL checks, something neglected by the much higher rated player)
24 Kf1 d3 (I looked at moving the rook to either b3 or h3, in addition to 24…f5, so the move in the game took me by surprise) 25. Rd3 Rd3
26 Bd3 (The human brain rejects 26 Qxd3 Qh4 27 Kg2 Qxf2+ 28 Kh3, leaving the King naked in no mans land) 26…Qh4 27. Qf3 Rd8 ( As my friend the Master of Understatement was fond of saying, 27…Bb7 looks strong, not that it matters) 28. Be4 Bc4 29. Kg2 Rd4 30. Ra5 Re4 31. Ra8 Kh7 32. Qe4 Qe4 0-1
P. Vessosi (2351) vs M. Astengo (2064)
Lodi Open 2008
1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Nf3 d5 4. e5 Nh6 5. d3 Nf5 6. g3 c5 7. Bg2 Nc6 8. O-O g5 9. c3 h5 10. h3 g4 11. hxg4 hxg4 12. Nh2 Nh6 13. Rd1
Bd7 14. Na3 Qb6 15. Bxh6 Rxh6 16. Nxg4 Rg6 17. Bf3 O-O-O 18. Kg2 Rdg8 19. Rac1 Kb8 20. Rh1 Qa5 21. Rh6 Rxg4 22. Bxg4 Bg5 23. Rch1 Bxh6 24. Rxh6 b5 25. Bh5 Be8 26. d4 c4 27. Qd2 b4 28. cxb4 Qxb4 29. Qc3 Qf8 30. Rf6 Rh8 31. g4 Nb4 32. Nc2 Nd3 33. Ne1 Qg7 34. Kf1 Qh7 35. Nxd3 cxd3 36. Qb4+ Ka8 37. f3 Qg7 38. Qd2 Qh7 39. Ke1 Rf8 40. b3 Bb5 41. a4 Ba6 42. b4 Bc4 43. b5 Qg7 44. Qf4 Qh7 45. Kd2 Bb3 46. Rxf7 Rxf7 47. Qxf7 Qh6+ 48. f4 Bxa4 49. g5 Qh8 50. Qe8+ 1-0
The general of the white pieces takes 46 seconds of his five minutes to play his THIRD move of the game, obviously flummoxed by the choice of move made by the general of the black pieces.