“The Study of Reality”

Warning! This Blog Contains Social Commentary, Brilliant Observations, Dry Wit, and Rampant Sarcasm. Use At Your Own Risk.


Whitey On The Moon – 37 Years Later What’s Changed?

I was listening to some Gil Scott-Heron yesterday and his song/poem "Whitey on the Moon" came on. I’ve heard it many times before, but yesterday I heard it in a new way. It was written in (I think) 1970 so you can dig the context.

Whitey on the Moon

A rat done bit my sister Nell. (with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell. (and Whitey’s on the moon)
I can’t pay no doctor bill. (but Whitey’s on the moon)
Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still. (while Whitey’s on the moon)
The man jus’ upped my rent las’ night. (’cause Whitey’s on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights. (but Whitey’s on the moon)
I wonder why he’s uppi’ me? (’cause Whitey’s on the moon?)
I wuz already payin’ ‘im fifty a week. (with Whitey on the moon)
Taxes takin’ my whole damn check, Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck, The price of food is goin’ up, An’ as if all that shit wuzn’t enough:
A rat done bit my sister Nell. (with Whitey on the moon)
Her face an’ arm began to swell. (but Whitey’s on the moon)
Was all that money I made las’ year (for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain’t no money here? (Hmm! Whitey’s on the moon)
Y’know I jus’ ’bout had my fill (of Whitey on the moon)
I think I’ll sen’ these doctor bills, Airmail special (to Whitey on the moon)


Damn! 37 years later and what’s changed? Back then they somehow had money for the space program but they didn’t seem to have the money (or the will) to end poverty. Hmmm.

In 2007 They’ve got billions to fight wars around the world but still can’t seem to scrape together the cash (or the will) to end poverty, end hunger, have affordable healthcare, or provide good-paying middle-class jobs. In fact, in most ways the middle-class is worse off today than they were in 1970.

Change the title from "Whitey on the Moon" to "Whitey in Iraq" and the song is just as poignant today as it was in 1970. And that’s a damn sad commentary on our government, our country, and our society.

I haven’t been able to find an original of Gil doing the song, but here’s a video someone added to the original recording.



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