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My Final Project
The heirs of Whitman project made sense because so much of Whitman’s poetry is configured as a dialogue with future generations. When he’s effusing, asking us to find him under our boot-soles he is speaking to contemporary and future residents of his spaces. Guthrie took up Walt's message during a national communications shift from readership to more visual/auditory forms. Walt and Guthrie both believed their art should be social, democratic, and popular and Guthrie’s context provided him a new mode to appropriate Walt’s message to make it truly popular.
Walt said in a conversation with future generations: “you justify me.” I feel the format I chose justifies Whitman in several ways. His message is encoded in a pop format which is easily digestible yet contains words of wisdom. It’s an egalitarian, democratic mode that has appeal beyond class lines. Moreover, the form itself implies Walt’s message, specifically his panoramic scope and insistence that there’s no thing too small that fails to possess a fair measure of dignity and divinity, e.g. various fundamental American pop tropes. Unusual for a pop song, these parts don’t repeat; rather, they survey what’s available in a pop context, sampling among options just as Whitman surveys scenes and occupations, lingering for a little while and then moving on. This effort hopefully constitutes an authentic engagement with Whitman and the American Tradition by appropriating existing instruments to serve the ends of each of them.