Revival in “America”: A Wakeup Call

An Open Letter to Julie Fogerty and Others

Profound thanks to Julie Fogerty for her constant love, inspiration, and support.

— John Fogerty showing his wife/adviser deep appreciation for help with his latest release…and more.

I know that John Fogerty has been getting rave reviews for his Revival CD, but no one has been doing justice to the first cut, “Don’t You Wish It Was True,” as far as I’m concerned.

Some are saying it’s John Fogerty’s “Imagine,” but John Lennon’s song begins very differently. Contrast the two openings:

Imagine there’s no Heaven
   It’s easy if you try…
” [Lennon]

I dreamed I walked in heaven
   just the other night
   There was so much beauty
   so much light…
” [Fogerty]

In both songs, a heaven on earth is suggested, but in Fogerty’s lyrics there is the dream    experience of another realm, which includes tactile contact with angels AND hearing the words of God:

He said the world’s gonna change
   and it’s starting today
   There’ll be no more armies
   no more hate…

One does not have to believe in a traditional God of any particular stripe — or any God whatsoever — to see that there’s a significant difference here.

In one song, the writer asks the listener to use imaginative powers as a basis for creating solidarity, and producing positive change. In the other, the chorus

Don’t you wish it were true

alternates between two totally identical questions repeated (the above line repeated twice)

Don’t you wish it were true
   Lord don’t you wish it were true…

“Lord” here, of course, can be serving the same function as “Boy” or “Jeez” would be if the line were “Boy, don’t you wish it were true?” or “Jeez, don’t you wish it were true?”

But that’s not quite the case. It’s not that mundane.

Now take a look at the first “What if” segment:

What if tomorrow
   everybody was your friend
   Anyone could take you in
   no matter what or where you been

That set of lines involves an invocation of forgiveness which is not directly incorporated in Lennon’s song. “Imagine” is extremely powerful, but it is not potent in the same way.

That last statement is not made to suggest that one set of lyrics is better than another, but rather to stimulate intellectual extrapolation.

There is a greater friction than ever before, greater all-pervasive fear, and a greater readiness to respond to injustice and mere difference with violence that’s “justified.” He did this. She did that. We have more “unforgiveables” today. Less tolerance these days. Across the board, mercifulness takes a back seat more than not, more than ever.

Forgiveness has always been the center of many religious injunctions, is a time-worn “weapon” against self-destructive behavior, societal suicide.

Certainly These Times beg for our stretching ourselves in this way, opening up thusly.

And John Fogerty gets it right. Spotlights a neglected essential.

I think he might wince at someone distinguishing between forgiving and forgetting. He would certainly understand the distinction, but something tells me that he underscored the need for “forgiveness” in keeping with his take on “Our Times.” One who “gets over it” doesn’t really get it. Or give what’s needed.

If anyone wants to get others to embrace the likes of felons, they’d do well to clean house on a personal level, inviting those with whom they have either petty or ultra-serious gripes …to hug. Start with your own family. The most difficult challenge, yes?

Besides everyone knows what a drain being pissed off on an ongoing basis can be.

I can thank John Fogerty for a phone call I made immediately after hearing the cut. Now I’m much more ready to spring the incarcerated on the world. Encourage compassion.

The ideal scenarios which both Fogerty and Lennon have in common may seem utopian to some, easily dismissed. However, for those who think that “NO MORE ARMIES” and “NO MORE HATE” is pie in the sky, I recommend two things:

1) Howard Zinn’s chapter “Violence and Human Nature” in his Declarations of Independence (to dispel the notion that war is necessary, inevitable).
2) Not thinking that our goal should be to rid ourselves of ALL real life counterparts to “evil” characters in Flannery O’Connor’ short stories and Cormac McCarthy’s novels, but rather to minimize that quarter. To believe that one cannot anticipate what glory will result from simply not feeding hate. To not assume that we are doomed to be ruled by The Negative.

“Don’t You Wish It Was True,” like “Imagine,” is a call for action. Very personal action. That for which you can be responsible. Set an example.

In Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men there is an image painted of a man on horseback — the father of one character — seen in a dream:

He just rode on past and he had this blanket wrapped around him and he had his head down and when he rode past I seen he was carryin fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. About the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was goin on ahead and that he was fixin to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up.

Fogerty’s first cut on the new album is his “I Had A Dream” speech. It is infused with as much hope (and sense of destiny) as Martin Luther King’s words and Cormac McCarthy’s expectations. It shares much with Lennon’s masterpiece, but makes its own singular mark.

Of course, you have to hear Fogerty’s delivery. Obligatory.

It’s guaranteed to wake you up, unless you’ve already gone to sleep forever.

* Marcelle Cendrars, Algerian-American journalist, trusts that anyone in a position to contact Julie Fogerty on her behalf will do so. The author would like to arrange a unique interview with John Fogerty in which a new paradigm for action could be proposed, and discussed (and, then, widely disseminated).

Marcelle Cendrars, freelancing daughter of Blaise Cendrars, can be reached at: She is the "Provost" of San Jose, California's Free Underground College to Kindergarten Educational Retreat, a home school network of dissenting citizens who encourage parents to have their children drop out of mainstream institutions, and make use of alternative educational options. Read other articles by Marcelle, or visit Marcelle's website.

27 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. gerald spezio said on December 5th, 2007 at 7:17am #

    Oh yeah, Martin Luther King …

    And Ghandi…

    And Jesus …

    “Oh listen to the music …”

    “I want to get lost in your rock and roll …”

    And then go to law school to free the poor and downtrodden ….

  2. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 5th, 2007 at 7:40am #

    Among other things, I think Gerald Spezio missed the thrust of the Cormac McCarthy quote…which is the culmination of so much here. — Marcelle P.S. To put it lightly.

  3. gerald spezio said on December 5th, 2007 at 8:20am #

    Seeing that Dick was vexed, chagrined, and possibly approaching true piss-off combined with real despair from his incessant search for life’s esssences, Jane knew that she must do her best to help and called upon her lifelong psychological training in psychoanalysis and therapy to put a vocalized damper on Dick’s vexations.

    Jane said: “Dick.”

    Dick replied; “Jane, off with your knickers.”

    It goes on but what’s the use, as in R Crumb.

  4. Eddie said on December 5th, 2007 at 9:35am #

    I liked this article. I don’t know why GS pops up piping off on every article.

  5. Robert B. Livingston said on December 5th, 2007 at 9:43am #

    I am glad that Dissident Voice published Marcelle’s ideas.

    I think the arts– literature, music, cinema. painting etc. can be vital to reorienting people’s sense of reality and opening up a dialog for new potentialities.

    We all need to think more “outside of the box” to explore the directions we choose before taking them– and passion and imagination are the key ingredients for doing so.

    In addition to Marcelle’s favorites, I am a big fan (for different reasons) of Jackson Browne, Ringo Starr, Caetano Veloso, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Merle Haggard, and Jack Tempchin. Guess I’m showing my age– (when I hear hip hop, I feel like a Guantanamo captive– no offense to you hip-hop fans– I know there’s some real depth out there.)

    Tempchin has a very nice video on youtube that has hardly been seen– but is very cool.

    I wish more people could hear his “Better World” and “The Road I’m On”– both very inspiring songs for we who aspire.

  6. gerald spezio said on December 5th, 2007 at 10:03am #

    The STARVING AND DYING PALESTINIANS in the GAZA CONCENTRATION CAMP need the revolutionary benefits of music to calm and sooth their horrendous hunger, pain, and PATHOLOGICAL

    Anti-Semitism is hurtful and disgusting.
    Anybody who is anti-Semitic should be in a FILTHY CONCENTRATION CAMP just like Israel has the Gaza Palestinians

  7. gerald spezio said on December 5th, 2007 at 10:11am #

    Eddie I loved the article too because I can blog about how the Palestinians in the GAZA CONCENTRATION CAMP could really use some new music.

  8. Max Shields said on December 5th, 2007 at 12:20pm #

    gs, it’s meds time.

  9. hp said on December 5th, 2007 at 1:03pm #

    “When you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer.
    Very superstitious.”

  10. gerald spezio said on December 5th, 2007 at 4:14pm #

    Max, every time I publicize the Israeli murders of the Palestinians in the GAZA CONCENTRATION CAMP makes you need plenty of meds.

  11. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 5th, 2007 at 8:34pm #

    I appreciate the words here which are meant to stimulate solidarity, stimulate the intellect, the emotions (in other than a mean-spirited, sad way). My articles are generally designed to appeal on those levels, not unlike poetry. Most activists dealing –most of the time with straight-on prose– get confused with such writing, but utilizing/dipping into something with a different form can sometimes help generate…a new angle of vision. Which we sorely need. So I trust that readers will not just remain with the content, but let other “dimensions” take over at times…for fun…and in the hope that some NEW ideas will be given birth. Blessings in solidarity, Marcelle

  12. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 5th, 2007 at 9:26pm #

    I’m surprised that the editors have chosen to change the biographical tag which went along with this piece. I just noticed that. They also omitted my opening quotes. That’s too bad. The piece was designed an an open letter, in part, to Julie Fogerty, John’s wife/adviser. That angle was chosen so that the article might lead to some meeting in solidarity…with the notion that we might TAKE SOME ACTION. Jeez! Anyone interested in seeing what the whole context involved? — Marcelle

  13. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 5th, 2007 at 11:53pm #


    At the top:

    Open Letter to Julie Fogerty and Others on REVIVAL in “America”: A Wakeup Call
    by Marcelle Cendrars

    “Profound thanks to Julie Fogerty for her constant love, inspiration, and support.”
    — John Fogerty showing his wife/adviser deep appreciation for help with his latest release…and more.

    At the bottom:

    Marcelle Cendrars, Algerian-American journalist, trusts that anyone in a position to contact Julie Fogerty on her behalf will do so. The author would like to arrange a unique interview with John Fogerty in which a new paradigm for action could be proposed, and discussed (and, then, widely disseminated). She can be reached at bcendra[at]YAHOO{dot} com.

    Like I’ve said many times, I think that activists need something other than the usual totally straight, traditionally direct communication…which is concerned exclusively with content. I believe that a more poetic form in communication may be what’s needed in some cases to open up fresh possibilities in thought. I deal with that realm, in part, in my titles and bios as a rule. But the setup at DVoice, apparently, doesn’t allow for that.

    If a particular form of lyrical communication is confusing….it may be worth it for the reader to “stretch” a bit…so that some suggestive seeds can take root. Regardless, with hardly any “work”…I do believe the reader can see how I was trying –as I usually do– to get reader “activists” to act…and not just read. I was trying to create solidarity of a sort with this piece, bringing in Julie Fogerty et. al. into the mix.

    What a dreamer I can be. — Marcelle

  14. Chris Crass said on December 6th, 2007 at 4:04pm #

    I can’t believe you failed to mention the stirring call-to-arms of “Put Me In, Coach.”

  15. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 6th, 2007 at 4:25pm #

    Forgive my ignorance, Chris. It sounds like it’s meant to be funny. Duh. What’s the reference? Truly sorry to have to ask you to spell this out; just in case you have a point you’re making. I don’t mind humiliating myself. Best, MC

  16. Sunil Sharma said on December 7th, 2007 at 2:33am #


    I’m not the editor that posted this article, but I would hazard to guess that the omission of the opening paragraph/dedication was either an honest mistake or was left out because, given a feature of Word Press that we have no real control over, the first paragraph of an article is what appears on the home page as the article teaser. Josh or Kim may have felt that having the dedication as a teaser may not have drawn as many readers to your article than the following paragraph (your opening comment). I personally feel the article is stronger starting w the latter, but have nevertheless posted the dedication in the article as you originally desired. You’ll now notice that the dedication is now the teaser on the front page. With regards to the omitted bio . . . because Word Press is a CSS/template based website, the bio field in an author’s article is the same for every article by that author. If we update your bio, then all your earlier articles will have the new bio. I.e. all your previous articles will reference Fogerty in the bio, which clearly you wouldn’t want. In other words we can’t customize the bio field with every new article. It’s a shortcoming of the system I don’t particularly care for, but that’s the way it is. What I’ve done is posted the omitted bio as a sort of postscript (delineated by the *) after the article.

    Finally, I never received any e-mail, nor do I believe Kim or Josh did, about the omission issues. I only learned about it from your comments here. If a problem like this arises, try writing us about it first rather than air it publicly.


    — Sunil

  17. Sunil Sharma said on December 7th, 2007 at 2:37am #

    Mr. Spezio,

    Do you have some uncontrollable need to dominate the comments section of most DV articles with brief one-liners and ramblings that, more often than not, have nothing to do with the original article?

    — Sunil

  18. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 7th, 2007 at 9:05am #

    Dearest Sunil: I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the kind attention you have given my comments/requests. A class act, you are. Truly. Again, many thanks/congratulations to all DVoice people re efforts/accomplishments. I appreciate what you’ve plugged in…though I haven’t yet actually looked at the additions yet…and I totally understand the considerations in your quarter which you’ve delineated. In fact, I have been in touch with Kim via email regarding setting up a new bio. And…just this morning…having now relocated to San Jose, California (and setting up with a new alternative educational project)…I’ve submitted a request to have a new bio attached to future postings. Again, I appreciate and understand the factors which weigh on your end…AND the personal attention that you’ve given me here serves as an excellent model for other activists…as they move toward –as they should– bonding with all concerned citizens. Loving best in solidarity, Marcelle

  19. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 7th, 2007 at 9:06am #

    Oh yes, I promise to not air “stuff” that isn’t run by the inner circle at length first. Sorry for the unnecessary public display. Best, MC

  20. Lloyd Rowsey said on December 7th, 2007 at 11:50am #

    Hi, Marcelle.

    There’s an obscure quotation by some physicist lodged forever in my mind, along the lines of: “The first time I read this book on thermodynamics, I understood it perfectly; then something started nagging, and I read it a second time. Well, I couldn’t understand it at all. Then I read the book a third time, and I decided to devote my life to the field.” Except for the physicist’s lifelong devotion, and the fact I’ve read “The Dream Party: Soulful Bedfellows Anyone?” only one time, the quotation describes my reaction to your piece.

    I never know how long I’ll be able to concentrate these days, so I’ll make ONE real big point, not even about characters presently IN The Dream Party, but you’ll get my drift I’m sure: to speak of John Lennon and John Fogerty in anything like a “we can get something done because these guys are similar” context is, simply, surreal. Briefly, like you like it: John Lennon started what happened with performance arts and white America in the 1960’s. John Fogerty was just the oldest brother with a very pedestrian rock band, Creedence Clearwater,…,

    If you don’t understand what’s different about that, I’m not at all surprised you’ve been trying to organize in the wilderness for decades. Because you can’t just have the name of an obscure Swiss poet, endless Right-On, great intelligence and writing ability, a focus on when America DID end a war — and try to parlay them into significance by concentrating on (successful surviving performers from the 1960’s).

    By the bye, No One (including Chomsky and Ellsburg) knows why the Vietnam War ended. I’m of the school that holds that public opinion regarding foreign affairs, in America, had nothing to do with it. And I offer that as a freebie, supplemental critique. No One in America was paying any attention to Lennon much less Fogerty when the Articles of Impeachment were handed out.
    Respectfully in Struggle,

  21. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 7th, 2007 at 7:32pm #

    One and all: Please note that the original title of my piece (before being truncated by a DV editorial decision) was

    Open Letter to Julie Fogerty and Others on REVIVAL in “America”: A Wakeup Call

    That’s instructive ’cause it underscores how the article was conceived; in great part it was designed to generate solidarity by having someone help me contact Julie…or by Julie noticing the piece…on the way to following through with lots of dreams about public action thereafter.

    I know the editors don’t have the heartbeats to spare, but all discriminate writers long to have their chosen elements restored…even after the closing of doors. If heartbeats permit…that could be my Xmas gift.

    Regarding Lloyd’s concerns, take a look, if you like, at how I responded to him in an email today:

    Thanks for this, Lloyd. Truly. A second-read, as per your rundown here, may be in order. For…truth is…the article does NOT really have anything whatsoever to do with either Lennon or Fogerty. Just like a given author’s words don’t necessarily work “compatibly” with their lives –public or otherwise– my lines merely use the lyrics as a point of departure for larger points than their lives or work (in gen’l) for that matter. Just a pt. of departure. Btw, before I forget, I do think that writing such as yours here sd. be placed in the commentary section for one and all to go blah blah over. I honestly don’t “get” the point you’re trying to make about my bouncing off of the Cendrars legacy. Please explain…in a sentence? Of course, not a soul knows WHY the Vietnam thing “ended,” and I only brought up Chomsky to underscore that the contributors in the commentary wd do well to back up from their too-sure-of-themselves takes on the issue. All this said, I’d love a condensed take on the positive aspects of Dream Party…for you. As far as time in “the wilderness,” that’s not quite on target. For one, aside from seeds sown…which is all anyone can hope for…in spite of all the PR that is placed over in-the-center-of-things activity…too many wonderful contributions in history have been made out of the limelight…only appreciated after one’s life…to categorize quite so cavalierly. Blessings pure and simple, Marcelle

  22. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 7th, 2007 at 7:49pm #

    Addendum to Lloyd…for others to look in on: I don’t know where you were –how aware– when Ellsberg made his big step…to really move things along vis-a-vis ending the Vietnam War, BUT there were a number of musical ditties around that time which certainly did infuse outraged citizens with “lifeblood” to keep them going…respecting dissent.

    One of those records –though not my favorite of Fogerty’s early work by any means– was “Fortunate Son.” It played a part…as all socially-conscious art does…in contributing to something very positive…as various forces culminated in bringing U.S. troops home from Vietnam.

    The songs I wrote at the time did not.

    On his new DVD he’s got a line which includes the words “fortunate son, ” but whether one likes it or not…the contribution with that TODAY will not inject the same kind of goosebumps that the earlier creation indubitably did.

    Blessings in solidarity,
    P.S. Thanks to RL (?) for reminding me to break up my blah blah into digestible paragraphs here. And sorry, Sunil, if I commited an indiscretion respecting the comment about the original title; the not airing in public (first) promise. Thought it didn’t apply this go-round.

  23. gerald spezio said on December 8th, 2007 at 7:00am #

    Bless us all – every one – even the filthy UNWASHED Palestinians dying like insects while trapped in the Israeli’s monstrous NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP IN GAZA.

  24. Lloyd Rowsey said on December 8th, 2007 at 8:13am #

    Addendum to Marcelle. I turned 32 in 1973. I know that activism occasioned and was occasioned by Ellsburg’s heroism; and for all I know, Ellsburg may have been the world’s biggest John Fogerty fan. But I also suspect Nixon and Kissinger were on the brink of invading or even nuking North Vietnam – like the Chipmunk is on the brink of taking out Iran – and in my opinion, nothing Daniel Ellsburg or anyone else was doing or could have done, with the purpose in mind of ending the Vietnam War, could have ended it had Watergate not occurred.
    – In Struggle and Hope, Lloyd Rowsey

  25. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 8th, 2007 at 8:36am #

    No one in their right mind would argue that Ellsburg’s contribution wasn’t crucial, that it was more “significant” relative to any given song. One of the resolutions all activists and their first cousins (readers and writers and lecturers on dissent) should make for the New Year is to not beat a dead horse, not deal in no-brainers. Of course the thrust of your entry is spot-on-target, Lloyd. However, you’re missing the point I was making about Fogerty’s contribution.

    Perhaps another read through my minor blah blah here is in order?

    Best in solidarity, Marcelle

  26. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 8th, 2007 at 8:40am #

    Thanks so much for the addition of the Julie Fogerty “Open Letter” note, dear editors. So happy with that. Now…all that remains is for someone to get her to try out Dissident Voice…if she hasn’t become a regular yet. — Marcelle

  27. gerald spezio said on December 8th, 2007 at 10:33am #

    God bless.