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Ron Radosh

Cognitive Dissonance in the Left/Folkie World

January 10th, 2009 - 4:37 pm

The second story is about the death of William Zantzinger at the age of 69. In 1963 we recall, thanks to Bob Dylan’s brilliant classic song “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” (he misspelled his name as Zanzinger) was convicted of manslaughter in 1963 in the death of Hattie Carroll and was sentenced to six months in prison. The paper’s Douglas Martin does a good job of writing about Zantzinger, and about the truth and embellishments by Dylan of his subject’s life.

If not for Dylan’s song, there would not have been any obituary when Zantzinger died . Dylan made his crime a parable of how race and class intersected, and how the murderer of a poor African-American working women received a token jail sentence, although Zantzinger had hit her with a cane and she died shortly after.

Mr. Zantzinger, then, is not going to be anyone’s role model. But the shocker comes later in the obituary. We learn that William Zantzinger,  who Dylan wrote in the song had “high office relations,” and was a typical member of Maryland’s racist political class who then ruled the state, was a graduate of—–hold your breath—the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC. Yes, folks, the same moderate lefty school that Chelsea Clinton graduated from and that the children of Barack Obama are now attending!

I somehow don’t think that Sidwell Friends has the man listed as one of their distinguished alumni, or use his name when they are trying to raise funds. I guess their Quaker education didn’t rub off on the man.

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