The Music of
Thomas E. Peterson
The Story Behind a Song

        The Song, The Grand Teton Mine (No it's Mine), is in fact, a great exaggeration, a piece of sarcastic art. Yet its truth shows up as being a fully serious song because the practices described do impact lives in natural systems. At its core is the subject of resource extraction for profit. Who really has a right to destroy pieces of our planet for the singular cause of creating wealth, is the question it really hopes to express. The lyrics possess pieces of reality so profound and obvious, yet with the current world situation its story could become a cold reality. Being attune to, and involved in environmental causes, has provided this fodder to play with and in, while in truth the story is deadly serious. Its fact is meant to bring to light into the darkness.

The lyric begins with the subject of logging public lands, National Forests specifically. The facts are known and supported in scientific literature that the extent of logging currently being implemented will exasperate species die offs otherwise known as extinction. This problem extends beyond the territorial borders known as country. The National Treasures set aside as National Forest in the United States, by the long-sighted thinkers of our past have become treasures ripe to harvest for the modern Corporation. Corporations completely lack a principled compass for the better good in anything. Their entire focus is one of unprincipled profit. The exaggeration in this introductory verse is clear, in that few humans would consider the plight of a squirrel population as anything beyond that of a joke. Yet it holds true that the chain of life has an interdependence that most fail in understanding. This situation is quite equal to the laws of physics which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Every clearcut acre of forest, is an acre newly uninhabitable to many species which lived in that acre at the time the trees were removed. What happens to the displaced populations? Can they simply walk over to the adjacent land remaining forested? It remains true that all land bases have a carrying capacity which may become out of balance when these demands for home are forced by human arrogance. Then again if the creature looked at, happened to be a snail, such a trek could be fully beyond possibility. When one looks at the complete natural history of a specific species in a specific area, the interrelationships between it and the differing species which utilize the same area are unfathomable due to the multitudes that remain unknown. The totality of these relationships and the interdependencies there in can be as simple as stepping on a turd, causing the transfer of a bacteria to a different species, or another thing as simple as being a meal for a predator. Yet most of these relationships remain unknown, and quite frankly the Corporation absolutely lacks any desire to understand these relationships that allow the continuance of these processes. The songs sarcasm is created by clearly stating that the entire National Forest is completely cut down and hauled away on trucks, leaving a baron wasteland, having only rivers of mud remaining. Hopefully this degree of resource extraction will never happen, yet there are moneyed people who would like nothing more than to do that very thing.

The second verse introduces a different subject. It is of mountain top removal for coal extraction. Now it is not bad enough that these Corporations believe they have the right to remove entire mountains to gain profit, but they are then taking our mountain via rail, delivering it to ships for the purpose of delivering it to countries over-seas. In other words, we don't even use it here at home, yet it is a part of America, our very heritage that these Corporations are removing to sell for their profit. This is yet another example of a Corporation's complete lack of a principled compass for the better good in anything beyond profit. This activity supplies profit but what is the cost to our living environment. Unlike the clear-cutting practices of timber corporations, as described above, these corporations not only clearcut all the trees, they further the assault to the land by removing the entire substrate once used as home for any species that ever lived there. These areas will never recover from such a massive infliction of harm. "They blew off the ridge top for the coal they found, took the rivers and the trees and they tore it all down, put it on a train and they're hauling it away. Because the coal's worth more than your soul my friend, it's the fools that rule the world we're in, they blew off the ridge top and they're hauling it away"

The song has a simulated chorus rather than a real one. The melody remains constant throughout this song, rather than shifting its musical structure to accommodate a chorus. None the less this simulated chorus serves its function to tie the differing pieces together in a transitional way. The lyric in this section is very sarcastic stating that money holds greater value than people. This thought however is fully supported within the actions of Corporate interests in these "modern days." "Its a mixed up messed up world we're in, where the money's worth more now than your kin." Corporate person-hood is truly showing up as harmful to the better good, reaching farther than the political arena as the above demonstrates. Society has been manipulated to the degree that industries are designed to create resource waste in throw away products. It is a larger problem than one wishes to observe, and thus most people turn their eyes from this in order to overlook the obvious. 95% of every item purchased in modern life is cast off within 6 months of its purchase date. This is truly an unsustainable system that Corporations create and Governments subsidize in order to float our economic system. If this system is left to continue, it will effectively throw us all away as the system will collapse for lack of raw materials and loss of habitat for life itself. Yet these same Corporations and Governments wish to paint these systems up as completely fulfilling to everyone. "They tell you its whole, it'll fill your soul, and ya throw it away." Of course in the end it turns that around on itself by saying, "and they'll throw you away."

The final verse uses an iconic feature, the Grand Teton, as in the mountain having a National Park named after it. It is a huge leap to consider, that a resource Corporation could potentially take such a significant measure for its profit, yet these entities have a track record proving their complete lack of a principled compass for the better good in anything. This shows the irony of the song's content as being purely a spoof. This song was a fun one to write, and is a fun one to play.

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