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Unformatted text preview: ---OurCountryveteran: select readings the boys will like; girls will read anything at all.Whether there is anything uniquely American about these processes, Imust leave to others to contemplate.Just as manyof thesesongsemphasizeformsof male-to-malebonding fatrilliar to masculineinstitutionsfrom the football field tothe barracks, others focus on that other central element of Americanideology:a pugnacious and often self-righteous individualism. Two ofthe more &quot;serious&quot; songs-onesnot to be played by your high schooloompah marchingband-illustratethis characteristic. One, a settingofW. H. Henley's poem &quot;Invictus,&quot; proclaims:It matters not how straight the gate,How charged with punishmentthe scroll,I am the master of my fate,I am the captain of my soul.How little at one level I understood the song is suggested bymy typingerror in the next to last line: &quot;faith&quot; rather than &quot;fate.&quot; But the illustra-tion I chose is powerfully suggestive: the American farmer in workboots and jeans, outside his home, under a robust, upthrustoak, re-laxedyet fixedinto a four-square wooden chair,which, like the tree andone of his feet, seems almost planted in the earth. The last rays of thesun illuminate his face, the chair, the tree, and the distant hills. Insidethe house, an orange light seems to extend no further than the win-dows. The iconography of the picture, identifying the simple, separateman with naturalimages of strengthand durability, and placing himoutside the almost unnaturalbrightness of the home, may not actuallybe appropriate to Henley's text. But it does suggest how fully a certainimage of the &quot;Unconquerable&quot;had been instilled in my mind.The other song along these lines was &quot;Stout-Hearted Men,&quot; as Irecollect, from some Victor Herbert operetta or the like.Ililatedto the playing field, andnials to the competitive spirit ofte league, like &quot;Bulldog, bulldog,nsin, On Wisconsin,forward tocrows the Marine Corps Hymn,will find the ~treets are guarded,;boy culture projected on to theBig boy culture,in fact, full ofbutt, andcontemptfor age: &quot;If/ Keep the nose out of the blue.&quot;late the aggressive, indeed belli-by providingit with a patriotic:)rk. At the same time, by incor-'it of these songs into what couldmusicclass, theteachersstroveIn education:how to sustaininIt isthe ground note ofAmerican19such fundamentallyantisocial'le fact that eight of the first tennd mostly lively,marches, may as.5of adolescentboys as to the ware given to the new teacher by the;,t:.,.Youwho have dreams,If you act,They will come true,To turn your dreams,Toa fact,It's up toyou.: ParkWartime America *91.''.'&quot;iii.' .&quot;Invictus&quot;I illustrated this summa bonum of American individualism with a pic-ture hardly needing commentof a state trooper standing next to hismotorcycle....
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- Winter '07