Tramp the Dirt Down

Margaret ThatcherMargaret Thatcher was an evil woman. Now she’s dead. At the end of her term in office, Elvis Costello released a song about her, “Tramp the Dirt Down.” In it he sang, “And when they finally put you in the ground; I’ll stand there laughing; And tramp the dirt down.” I agree completely about that sentiment. It would be one thing if Thatcher had only ruined the United Kingdom, but she had a pernicious effect all over the globe. Nowhere was the effect greater than in the good ol’ United States of America under Ronald Reagan. Thatcher England led the western world into the abyss of free market authoritarianism (fascism without the explicit racism). It hardly matters that she’s dead now.

It would have helped so much if she had died at 50, say. Of course, I tend to think that the world was destined to go through this proto-fascist phase that (on good days) I think we are slowly clawing our way out of.

I’m glad she’s dead, but I do not look forward to all the hagiographic obituaries. Because you know how it goes in American papers. The obituaries of leftists have to be evenhanded and talk about the good and the bad. The obituaries of rightists only talk about what good men/women/gargoyles they were.

I love the anger in this song; it is Costello at his best:

Thatcher was a good example of the kind of person I wrote about last night, Cynical Son of a Bitch.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Tramp the Dirt Down

  1. "Tramp" is a great song. One of the first albums I ever bought as a kid, by the way. I had one of those Columbia House 10-for $1 deals, didn’t know most of the names, and picked "Spike" at random. I loved Elvis’s voice and vitriol right away; still do.

    I don’t know the specific political campaign moment Costello’s referring to, but the repugnant Norm Coleman tried something quite similar in his Senate re-election race against Al Franken. Coleman did a spot with a bald chemo kid in hockey gear at an ice rink, going for the Minnesota jugular. I immediately thought of that song when I heard it. If Franken only serves one term, it’ll have been worth it to end Coleman’s political career — Franken even admitted that personal dislike for Coleman was a strong motivation for getting into the race.

    And no, "madam" is not a good slant rhyme with "Blackadder." But any Blackadder reference is cool, in my book.

  2. @JMF – You are making me feel old. But I quite like the use of assonance over rhyme. It allows for more control and you get less sing-songy lyrics.

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