Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

A Real History Lesson


For the younger Enthusiasts who may not know why Muhammad Ali refusing to go to Vietnam was such a big deal: listen to this song, and you’ll understand.


  1. Can the next history lesson have a little less sampler abuse ?

    • Thoughts On The Dead

      June 4, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      Numerous studies have demonstrated that the sampler is a very effective pedagogical tool. It’s actually a big part of Common Core.

  2. Music fans like me revere 60s musicians, but they were social outcasts, even if the society they hoped would occur did in fact occur within a decade or so. The America of 1966 was rooted in the 50s. Healthy adult males spent time in the Armed Forces, or were suspect. Keep in mind that Garcia had been in the Army, Hart and TC were in the Air Force and Lesh was in ROTC (Weir had a “dyslexia” deferment, and Billy was the sole support of wife and child. Pigpen, well, he was Pigpen).

    In post WW2 America, everyone was on the team. Willie Mays and Elvis Presley were drafted and each spent two years in the US Army (54-55 for Mays, 61-62 for Elvis). Think about it–what if Mike Trout and John Mayer had been drafted (not that I am insisting that this blog compose speculative fiction about Mayer having to join the US Army in Afghanistan)?

    The big difference in the Vietnam War was that college men got a “deferment” and weren’t draftable. Why do you think they all went to Law School or got PhDs in Classical Philology (as our host says, not what you think it is)? To get to age 26 and not be drafted, that’s why. In WW2 and Korea, everyone went, Harvard grads and High School dropouts. Not Vietnam.

    The Vietnam war was fought on the ground by a few truly Patriotic Americans who joined the service and by a lot of poor kids, black and white, who couldn’t or couldn’t think of getting into college. When Mohammed Ali, the former Cassius Clay, stood up for all of them and said “I got nothing against them Viet Cong,” he was standing up for everyone who had been left out of the middle class because they didn’t fit the mold of those destined for a safe life.

    Sic transit Gloria Ali. I don’t know how you say “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” in Latin, but it seems like a good language for it.

    • SWAGGIE maggie

      June 4, 2016 at 11:45 pm

      “deflue sicut papilii, morde sicut apii”

      Did it myself, too.

      • oh, maggie! i love that. what a good girl you are!


        • SWAGGIE maggie

          June 5, 2016 at 9:29 pm

          Aw, thanks, comments section mom! That made me smile !!!!

          I love Latin so much I could talk about it all day omg

          • my other daughter, the one who lives with me, is starting latin in the fall. that has me all riled up! i got a latin vocab app and have started getting back into it. do you take it in school?

    • Corry342, you sir are a national treasure. And by national, I mean North America, in general.

    • Great comment! Also, Jimi Hendrix and Billy Cox met when they were in the Army in ’61.

  3. I, for one, would like this blog to compose speculative fiction about Josh Meyers having to join the US Army and report to the newly promoted Corporal Jenkins.

    • Yeah..

      Or Make him a Drone pilot, who goes to work in an un-labelled office in a strip Mall in Maryland and kills people remotely with a joystick for 8 hours a day and then comes home to the family, and the wife asks him “how was work today dear ?”

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