Thursday, September 07, 2006

Civil Doodie

Anyone who's ever watched the Ken Burns Civil War documentary knows Jay Ungar's song Ashokan Farewell. It's the soulful, haunting theme heard throughout the eleven hour film, but most memorably when it was played behind the reading of Sullivan Ballou's touching letter to his wife. Ballou was killed at the First Battle of Bull Run shortly after writing the letter, which he never got to mail.

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter.Imagine my surprise when I turned on the tube and heard the song in an Eliot Spitzer commercial. While it's a nice spot, urging folks to vote in the primary, it's heartbreaking to see something so resonant and moving used in a political ad. I guess the Spitzer people are saying that the campaign against Tom Suozzi is like the Civil War.

Is it presumptuous for some dope with a blog to tell a great song writer what to do with his work? Yeah, I suppose so. But just as those Cadillac commercials changed the way I feel about Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll, Ashokan Farewell may not bring a tear to my eye the way it used to. Instead of thinking of Sullivan Ballou, I may be thinking of Eliot Spitzer.