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See the Same Way

(See the Same Way reviewed with Pete and Manny).

Here are two songs which have two different styles, yet make a similar, pervasive point about the human condition, which is not restricted to any one time or place. See the Same Way is a song using serious examples: (V1:a girl contrasting two toy dolls, one black, one white; V2: a courtroom episode; V3: the life and works of Jesus Christ; V4: not sure – possibly a queue for welfare money? V5: A young soldier in (ultimately futile) training for the “promised war”).

It’s a song all about perceptions, and how one small situation can provoke many different perceptions – many of which are conditioned by political or social prejudice. In the chorus, Hornsby offers an open hand to us all, to “Talk about the difference / Find out what’s in the way / Open our eyes / See the same way”. We sure need more of Bruce’s warm-hearted views in Europe at the moment, where the tide of prejudice and hatred against an easy target – war refugees from Kosovo – is stirred by politicians and the media.

Pete and Manny makes a similar point, but in a totally different way. Here we have the classic scene of schoolyard banter towards those with a different interest or hobby from the rest. I’m sure that most of us, without question, can remember a similar situation. I know that I was guilty of it, but as a busking harpist I can sure tell you that I have been on the receiving end of mockery from “the lads” as well! On a more philosophical note, I love the chorus of Pete and Manny for two reasons:

“Round and round and round it goes, where it stops no one knows”

First, it’s a sort of warning shot for listeners who think they have got everything sorted. Don’t count on it. Moreover, someone who you have been mocking all this time may be much smarter than you think. Second, but more positively, if your down on your luck then things will soon come round again.

Carwyn Fowler


mp3  See the Same Way
» 6.1 MiB - 1,589 downloads
Asheville, NC
August 11 2011

Chad follows up: This song relates back to The Way It Is, in that it specifically refers to historic events, like the 1964 Civil Rights Act (“They passed a law in ’64 to give those who ain’t got a little more”). See the Same Way is just as historically profound. From what I can gather…

The first verse, the girl and the dolls, refers to the doll studies that formed the basis of the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation Supreme Court decision. In that case, which ended school segregation, the plaintiffs presented evidence of black children who would say that they felt the white dolls were good, pretty and the most like them, while the black dolls were bad and ugly. This was the evidence of the harmful effect of desegregation.

The courtroom verse is a clear reference to the O.J. Simpson case, where the black population tended towards seeing O.J. as another black victim of a corrupt justice system, while most whites saw him as a murderer.

The third verse is a religious reference which is lost on me, I am sad to say.

The fourth verse is actually a reiteration of the verse for The Way It Is, which talks about a cynical rich person telling a poor person to “get a job”. This verse against touches upon economic disparity and, what clearly is a view on the insensitivity of the rich towards the poor.

The final verse is about the recent surge in the U.S. “militia” movement (“Soldiers waiting on a coming war”). Bruce talks about the distrust many of their members have for the government and how many of the groups, who frequently isolate themselves from mainstream society, have a tendency to blame their own problems on others. The verse suggests that they would be well served, rather than viewing the world with distrust and anger, to “open up and love a little more.”

Just some thoughts.

Chad Marlow

Two children reaching an agreement

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