Don’t Fence Me In


Squirrels are meant to run free in the trees and to roam the fields burying their nuts.  I cannot imagine being locked up in a cage.

In the same way, I have sometimes read historical accounts of the terrible effect of Native American Indians being forced to live on tiny reservations or worse being thrown in prison.  They did not thrive.  Used to the freedom of roaming the great plains, the open desert or the green forests, they died spiritually, mentally and sometimes physically when denied that freedom.

Those accounts have always resonated with my own soul.  I cannot imagine being locked into a tiny space without freedom to come and go.  I would not thrive in prison. Solitary confinement for any length of time would probably be the death of me.  I need to see the sun, feel the breeze, smell the flowers and hear the song of the birds.

Why this rather “morbid” thoughts?  I assure you it is not because I am on the verge of being incarcerated for some heinous crime.  Rather, I was watching a TV show which raised the issue of whether solitary confinement should be considered an inhumane practice which serves no purpose but makes prison inmates even more mentally imbalanced and anti-social.  What do you think?

Anyway, this gave me the excuse to post this video version of “Don’t fence me in” by David Byrne.  The song was written by Cole Porter in 1934 but the lyrics had been based on a poem by Robert Fletcher who was an engineer who roamed the open spaces of Montana as part of his job with the Department of Highways.  The song first made it big in  public in 1944 when sung by Roy Rogers (who appears in this video) in the movie, Hollywood Canteen.  It was also recorded that same year by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters.

I like the sentiment behind the lyrics, I like this version of the song and I like the video.  Hope you enjoy this too.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

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10 thoughts on “Don’t Fence Me In”

  1. I’d be curious to see that show you saw about solitary confinement. The general practice in prisons is that solitary confinement is only done for the safety of either the prisoner in confinement or the opposite: that the person in confinement poses a threat to others. Or it is used as a punishment for someone who has broken some rules. I don’t think it’s inhumane. People in prison are in there for a reason. They do not deserve any sort of special treatment. Heck, little kids are given “time out.”

  2. geewits,
    The show was actually a fictitious police drama but the premise was about a guy who went into prison on a relative minor charge but was set upon by a gang in prison. In defending himself, he hurt one of the attackers and ended up in solitary confinement for 6 months. But psychologically, he was not able to cope to the total social isolation and lack of stimuli. So when they came to take him out, he reacted with paranoia and violence and ended up with another round of solitary confinement. Eventually, he ends up serving most of his 6 years sentence in solitary confinement and when he is released, he is a psychological wreck and a time bomb waiting to explode. When police question him again for a crime that he did not commit, he explodes and seriously injures the policeman out of fear of facing more solitary confinement. I do not know enough about the matter to comment except that I can see myself deteriorating if I was in solitary confinement for any length of time, let alone 6 years.

  3. You are a very social animal LGS and make us aware of many things. Freedom is a wonderful luxery. I would go nuts without it as well. Than you could eat me 😉

  4. I’m not sure what I think of solitary confinement. I think I’d do okay at first (assuming I had to do this for whatever reason…and hopefully not ever), but then I think I would go crazy. Humans are meant to be social creatures. It’s how God created us. We need to socially interact with others to deal with life.

  5. I, too, am very curious regarding how humans interact and what they need to live fully.

    Oh, and marja’s comment was rather funny!

  6. I think some forms of solitary confinement are seen as torture. Especially those with lack of room. I’d die in such a cell. I mean even the SS used such cells only when they needed a confession very fast.
    Interesting, I only some days ago looked for information about monastic life, what brought me automatically ordo carthusiensis and </<Congregatio Camaldulensis Ordinis Sancti Benedicti (OSBCam) the two strong eremitic orders I know of, and the cisterciensi and fratres de Trappe. One must be choosen for this, for anybody else it is a damn torture.

  7. Marja,
    Haha. Thank you for your kindness but as we would both be in solitary confinement and not in contact with each other, I would not benefit from you becoming nuts. 🙂

    emerrube,
    You are right that we are social creatures; at least most of us. There may be some hardened people who psychologically are able to with stand such treatment but for most of us, we will need to become hardened to survive or seek refuge in psychosis.

  8. Pearl,
    The way you say, “….very curious regarding how humans interact and what they need to live fully.” Me too! Makes me wonder if you are a fellow mad scientist. 🙂

    Mago,
    Yeah, even though I am not particularly claustrophobic, prolonged captivity in a tiny room and i will feel like I am suffocating. Those monks, do some of them lock themselves up in tiny rooms without human contact?

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