Can I just begin this post by saying I am so glad I decided to take a class on the Vietnam War concurrently with this one on Phil Ochs? Well I guess I just did. That class, as with many classes on American Studies or American History, is so dense with information and interesting and happens pairs so well with learning about Phil Ochs. Every lecture of the Vietnam War class is so jam packed with information that provides so much more context for learning about Phil Ochs. Anyway, don’t tell anyone but I think I’m becoming a history nerd and I don’t know how to stop it.
I chose the song ‘Draft Dodger Rag‘ to annotate for a similar reason to my wikipedia edits, it had a lot of easter eggs that hadn’t been caught yet and seemed simple enough. Agaian, similarly to the wikipedia edits, it was not simple enough.
Although my song had been partially annotated already there was still a lot to be said. One of the challenges of this assignment was that once you begin researching, it is hard not to end up distracted by all of the interesting events surrounding the song. What I realized while completing this assignment was that all thought the song was directly in protest of the Vietnam War, it was also largely in protest of the red scare witch hunt that was occurring around the same time. Ochs was not only able to discuss the Vietnam War but also the draft and the domino theory that was overtaking American politics.
I stole my title from the unavoidable CD compilations of ‘today’s top hits’ of the 90’s and early 2000’s NOW That’s What I Call Music. The ads were a huge part of my childhood, constantly popping up between episodes of Spongebob or whatever else I was watching. Although the title is a play on words and represent a brand that Phil Ochs probably would have detested which is part of the irony, I do want to make note of the emphasis on the ‘NOW’. My playlist is comprised of songs by Ochs that I believe could have been written today. Whether Ochs is just a timeless songwriter or things are still just as
fucked screwed is up to you, I like to believe its a little bit of both.
When I think of archivists I think of Being John Malkovich when they are in that odd floor specially designed for little people and a greasy John Cusack with extra dexterous fingers from his puppetry. Are archivists the super nerds with night vision who dwell in caves of file cabinets? Probably not. Are they impassioned scholars who gain an odd satisfaction from the highest levels of organization? I hope so.
The Wikipedia Edit exercise was challenging in numerous ways. Being the first real project of the course it was an intimidating start. It was especially daunting knowing that my edits will be viewed by countless people who may be interested in these rare Phil Ochs albums.
One of the biggest challenges I have had with this project is finding content to add to Phil Ochs and related Wikipedia pages. After scouring the pages and reading what has been said, how do you find out what hasn’t been said but should be?