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One red thread

et502's picture
Our discussion in class last Tuesday made me think of this song by Blind Pilot (shameless plug for my favorite band). 

Oh from the first that the line got drawn
It was poisoning the land it was on
One red thread through the middle of a song. 
I was thinking about how Africa was kind of arbitrarily divided up, and how those divisions have had lasting repercussions on culture, on the “song.” On that note, it seems like most places have been divided up in strange ways. Consider the line between neighbors, the invisible boundary between towns and states. Does where you’re “from” really make you different from people in “other” places? What about those homes or properties that are located on boundary lines?
We could really look at capitalization and privatization as the source of much confusion about identity and place. What do boundaries do? How do they enable culture to be centralized and also limited/cut off?

From the minute that the line got drawn
I couldn't see straight to you for nothing
I interpreted the "red thread" in this song as those lines on maps emphasizing separation, difference. Once we're aware of the lines, it somehow changes the relationship we have with others. We become literate in location and geographical borders. Can this kind of literacy actually prevent access?
The only line that is true is the line you’re from. 

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alesnick's picture

interpreting the read thread

Yes!!  What a powerful post.  Thank you.  I also appreciate the song.  I think we can go farther and say the POINT of this kind of literacy is to prevent access, or to route/channel it -- to "define" is to mark boundaries.  So every knowing is also an erasure.  But . . . maybe the thread is a tunnel . . . On the other hand, maybe we can revise/re-see/re-invent it as a vein or a road or a sign to look this way and that way from it -- to push off from it, as from a dock.  

The song also reminds me of the opening of Ursula LeGuin's novel The Dispossessed: "There was a wall.  It did not look important."