Blacknell.net

Politics, technology, and society. And the seasonal incursion of pro cycling.

Month: July 2011

Midweek Makeover: God’s Gonna Cut You Down

So, I generally think of myself as somewhat informed about the genealogy of much music.  One of my thrills in the early 90s was being able to instantly ID the 70s samples that 90s hiphop relied upon.  And really, on the whole, I still like to think I've got a decent grasp of 20th Century American music. With an intro like that, you know where I'm going, right? Today, I followed a link to this God's Gonna Cut You All Down mashup - a Johnny Cash/All-Star Band mix that relies on a(n incredibly violent) Rambo video as the punch line:

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All-star video, that.  But as I listened, I thought - huh, I've heard those lyrics before, no? [hamster wheels spinning]  Ah, right.  Moby's Run On.  1999:

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And since we all knew Moby's never started with any original material, it got me wondering.   Turns out I was *completely* clueless, and that it's all based on an old folk song - God's Gonna Cut You Down.  Lyrics (beautiful, indeed):

You can run on for a long time Run on for a long time, run on for a long time Sooner or later God'll cut you down Sooner or later God'll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar, go and tell that midnight rider Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter Tell 'em that God's gonna cut'em down Tell 'em that God's gonna cut'em down Well, my goodness gracious let me tell you the news My head's been wet with the midnight dew I've been down on bended knee Talkin' to the man from Galilee He spoke to me in the voice so sweet I thought, I heard the shuffle of the angel's feet He called my name and my heart stood still When he said, "John, go do my will" Go tell that long tongue liar, go and tell that midnight rider Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter Tell 'em that God's gonna cut'em down Tell 'em that God's gonna cut'em down You can run on for a long time Run on for a long time, run on for a long time Sooner or later God'll cut you down Sooner or later God'll cut you down Well,youmay throw your rock and hide your hand Workin' in the dark against your fellow man But as sure as God made black and white What's down in the dark will be brought to the light You can run on for a long time Run on for a long time, run on for a long time Sooner or later God'll cut you down Sooner or later God'll cut you down Go tell that long tongue liar, go and tell that midnight rider Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter Tell 'em that God's gonna cut you down Tell 'em that God's gonna cut you down Tell 'em that God's gonna cut you down

Pretty much gets to the heart of humanity's darker needs, doesn't it?  Incredible.  An age-old theme, to be sure. Odetta Gordons knocked it out in 1956:

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Tell 'em that God's gonna cut you down.

Cycling and the Rule of Law

In the middle of contemplating (and deciding against) responding to this ridiculous piece at the Ballston Patch, and getting a rather positive impression of recent ACPD enforcement efforts along the Custis Trail, I came across one of the smartest posts on cycling and the law that I've ever seen:
If you tried to survive [on the road] by counting on people to follow the formal rules, you’d be toast. Some of this is just ignorance of the law, but some of it–like speeding–is the result of informal practices that dominate the formal rules. Some of those informal practices might be more efficient than their formal counterparts, but surely some are not. So, even in places where “rule of law” supposedly prevails, many of our daily practices are still built around shared expectations based on unwritten and sometimes inefficient rules, and these unwritten rules can be very hard to dislodge when they are widely followed.
Check the rest of it out.  Lots to think about. (The best response to the Ballston Patch piece came courtesy of WABA's Executive Director, Shane Farthing.)

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