What's in Patti Smith's bag?

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Patti Smith is a role model for kids and adults. Her memoir Just Kids is as wonderful as her method of packing a bag.

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Here I thought it would be full of Horses.

What’s the status on her use of the word “nigger” in her lyrics? Does she get a pass? I mean I like the song, but the word is what it is.

Same with Yoko for that matter.

People are such exhibitionists. There is no way they will demand laws guarding their privacy.

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Isn’t zero tolerance as counterproductive and annoying in policing schools as in policing language?

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As much as I hate that word, I think context is important here, as well as the fact that it’s from the 1970s. Lots of white artists used that word in the past: Bob Dylan, Rickie Lee Jones, Elvis Costello. Times are different now though and I can’t imagine any respectable white artist using that word.

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Context. Context. This was the '70s, when that word’s controversy was at its height, and she was deliberately using it to shock and to redefine it as meaning ‘outsider’.

Patti Smith is a poet whose words use music, not just a rocker using random shocking words who needs a “pass”.


This is a side issue which most likely didn’t need to be broached in this particular thread, but I’ve just gotta say that if you’re referring to Dylan’s song “Hurricane” and Costello’s drunken outburst, ummm, gee, do you really think they should be compared? The attitudes behind them seem rather dissimilar.

No idea about RLJ and don’t feel inclined to google.

ETA: Oops, should have googled Costello instead. Completely forgot about “Oliver’s Army.” Never mind.

Lol. Yes, I was referring to “Oliver’s Army.” Not familiar with Elvis’ drunken outburst but now I’m curious. Turns out I was wrong about RLJ though. I Googled it and apparently that was a misheard lyric.

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I’d still like to know why she put “Free Wayne Kramer” on the liner notes of “Radio Free Ethiopia” and then dissed Mr. Kramer when he came to thank her for it, as told in an interview with Mr. Kramer that was published in the book “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk”.

See, I’m from Detroit…I went through all that teenage angst and wanting to be in love with dead poets and artists and musicians, same as she did (albeit in a different era, but teenage girls are teenage girls all the world round); I’m simply not impressed. But then again, I’ve been told I’m a tough crowd…shrug

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