Say Goodbye to John Steinbeck

On Feb. 27, during Freedom to Read Week, I’ll be part of Closer to the Land: Freedom of Expression and the Environment, an extravaganza slated for the Toronto Reference Library. I won’t bring my guitar that night, but to mark the occasion, I’ve ransacked the musical archive and voila: Say Goodbye to John Steinbeck. I wrote this song when I was living in Calgary, after a government MLA stood up in the legislature and brandished a petition calling for the banning of Of Mice and Men, the classic novel by John Steinbeck. I still remember reading about this in a newspaper for the first time, and the way the blood rushed to my head. I was writing and performing songs in those days, and the result was Say Goodbye to John Steinbeck. Turned out lots of people felt the same way I did, and we killed that particular campaign. Would-be censors, it turns out, are like the living dead in SF movies: you stop some of them, but others just keep coming in waves. The only good thing about them is that they keep this song timely and relevant.

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