Just As He Was
Mark D. Linville on Why Johnny Cash Sang from His Mother’s Hymn Book
The satirical newspaper The Onion once featured the headline: “Affluent White Man Enjoys, Causes the Blues.” The article reports on a self-described “blues nut” who is a senior vice-president of a Chicago-area industry that employs—and grossly underpays—African Americans. At least a part of the humor here pokes fun at the Caucasian blues aficionado who “loves the music” but, of course, has never really participated in the culture from which it emerged.
Your typical Taj Mahal concert these days will be attended by throngs of adoring, Abercrombie & Fitch-wearing yuppies. Then there is the Wall Street trader who is devoted to the music of, say, Doc Watson or Flatt and Scruggs. Though he would hardly wish to spend time in that flyover territory between New York and L.A. and rub elbows with the unwashed for whom such music is a way of life, he enjoys a good PBS bluegrass special featuring Alison Krauss.
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Mark D. Linville is Professor of Philosophy at Atlanta Christian College and author of Is Everything Permitted? Moral Values in a World Without God (RZIM Critical Questions Series). He and his wife Lynn have four grown children and four grandchildren, and live in Fayetteville, Georgia, where they attend the Christian Church.
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