Subject Marxist Criticism---Ideology
Posted by lily
Posted on Mon May 8 22:44:30 2000
From IP  

Application of Marxist Criticism---Analyzing the elements for the Formation of Ideology of "Wandering" in Campus Folksongs

From 1977 to 1983, there was a music type very much popular in Taiwan called "Campus Folksongs." Among these songs, many were related to the theme of "wandering"---moving from place to place without a clear destination (not being able to go home or having no home to go) or leaving for a far-away place unknown to seek for dreams or some other things, which caused a sense of lost, homelessness, and maybe a little bit loneliness. There were over twenty songs belong to this category, such as "Oliver Tree," "Farewell to Cambridge," "Come Back to Sand Town," "Just Going to Say Goodbye," "Swordsman"*etc.. Why were there so many songs talking about this theme of "wandering"? How could this kind of ideology be formed at that time? We can discuss the possible reasons in terms of two aspects---political and nonpolitical.
For political part, because at that time, the relationship between the two sides, Mainland China and us, was quite nervous, the government kept a very sensitive and strict attitude toward people*s thoughts. People who expressed opinions or ideas that would influence or was against the government would get trouble for sure. Take Li Shuang-tse, a famous singer of campus folksong, for example, he had been called to see Sung Chu-yu, the chief of the province at that time, by writing songs which contained ideas against or dangerous to the government. The government even used many state apparatuses to control people*s thoughts. For instance, there was a very strict examining system used by the office of information (a kind of ISA) to decide whether a song was able to be produced or not. If a song talking about themes too sensitive like the politic or expressing ideas that the government didn*t like, it would be forbidden. Under such a circumstance, singers or writers at that time had to find other themes which had few connections with the politic or sensitive issues to talk about, and "wandering" might be one of them. Actually, because during that time, America had stopped the diplomatic relationship with Taiwan but established this relationship with mainland China, people in Taiwan really experienced a kind of "losing home" feeling, for it would be more and more difficult to come back to mainland, since the only hope, America, had changed his mind to support the government of the other side. "Wandering" was just suitable to describe their own situation in many Taiwanese people*s eyes, so they would like to sing or listen to songs which revealed such an ideology. And in the lyrics, they must be very careful not to write something about missing the "mainland" or longing to go back to the mainland etc.; they had to be very vague when choosing words or describing things to avoid from getting trouble. For example, they would say that they were going to a place far away but wouldn*t tell the exact name of that place (maybe was "mainland"), or that they would say they really missed home town and felt like going back but also wouldn*t point out where their hometown exactly was. They would use many ways to help express their ideas, such as using poems, metaphors, stories*etc., and these became the features of "wandering" campus folksongs.
There might be another important reason to help the formation of the ideology of "wandering"----the appearing of Golden Melody Award. Golden Melody Award was held to encourage singers or writers to create more great songs, and to encourage young people to get more involved with campus folksongs. It was no doubt that once a song won Golden Melody Award, it would become more famous and popular with the people, and "Oliver Tree" was a very vivid example. After it won the award, it became more popular, and so would the ideology of "wandering" expressed by the song became more and more well- known, acceptable, and even adorable. In other words, Golden Melody Award strengthened the formation of ideology of "wandering" and made it more powerful.
As for nonpolitical part, the influences of American pop songs and the popularity of hippies in America might be the two major reasons to help form the ideology of "wandering" in Taiwan.
At that time, there were many songs in America talking about the theme of "wandering" and were very much popular with people there, such as "Blowing in the Wind," "San Francisco"*etc.. And because American pop music had great influence on young people in Taiwan then (they liked to listen to them very much), these kinds of songs also became popular in Taiwan. Many young men longed for living a kind of wandering life at that time, and many writers started to write songs about this theme, too. In addition to this, hippies were also very popular in America during that period of time. Their spirit of seeking for freedom, getting closer to the nature, and going back to a simple life might also influence the formation of the ideology of "wandering" in Taiwan, like what many songs pointing out---the subjects wanted to go to a place far away to seek for freedom or their own dreams, or that they wanted to place themselves in the nature to enjoy it.
It is clear that the ideology of "wandering" in campus folksongs in Taiwan at that time was formed by many different social elements rather than just a single or simple reason. And this is what Marxism pointed out--- ideology is not just produced by a single person or reason; it is not just an empty idea but a system formed by many different kinds of social elements.

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