Feb. 22 – Walking the Dog

Gay Lynn HillAmerican History(BR), Bell Ringers

Feb. 22 is National Walk the Dog Day.

Desegregation decisions like Brown v. Board of Education, and the Civil Rights Movement’s growing influence and success, had a major influence on American culture and cultural integration. One prominent area was music. White sixties musicians borrowed from Blues, Soul, and other African-American genres to create what is now called Classical Rock. One example Rufus Thomas’s song, Walking the Dog. Originally performed in 1963 by Thomas, it was covered by the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, the Who, and others. Thomas, himself, created a Seventies Funk version.



For the Rolling Stones version, see:



For something closer to Rufus Thomas’s original version, see:



American culture is often viewed as a melting pot, with Americans taking bits and pieces of their native cultures, and merging them into an American one. Do you see this as a good thing? Or should the Rolling Stones have been criticized for playing Thomas’s Blues/Soul song?

Imagine a group of American college students in an exchange program in Europe, mixed with students from across the continent. Each country is supposed to cook dinner one night, using their ethnic foods. The Italian makes spaghetti and tomato sauce; the German a sausage and sauerkraut, the Dutch student a pancake, and the Swedish student meatballs.

When it came time for the American students, they are at a loss. They had planned to make spaghetti, hot dogs, pancakes, and meatballs, but each of these had been taken. Instead, one of them made eggrolls, and another tacos.


Questions:
  1. What is “American” music?
  2. What is “American” food?
  3. Do you see it as a strength, or a weakness that Americans combine, refine, and reproduce the cultural products of other countries?
  4. Should this be encouraged, or discouraged?

Image Citation:

2, Feb. 2018, Walking the Dog [Digital photograph].  Retrieved from <hallmarkchannel.com>