“General” Larry Platt is one of the heroes of the civil rights era, but he is experiencing 15 minutes of fame as the result of his appearance performing “Pants On the Ground” last week on American Idol in Atlanta. As the Christian Science Monitor explains, even though Platt’s performance cracked everyone up, Platt is not your standard Idol outtake (and not only because he’s well over the cut-off age of 28). Beaten by law enforcement officers during the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march in Alabama, Platt earned the nickname “General” for his role in the civil rights era.
“Pants On the Ground” is Platt’s hilariously derisive piece of cultural criticism protesting, as the Monitor puts it, “that too-stubborn urban fashion statement: pants worn low, crotch almost at the knees – a sign, to many, of disrespect and a thumb in the eye to many civil rights activists like Platt who fought to raise the profile of black Americans in US society.” With admirable concision, Platt disses those who are “Lookin’ like a fool with [their] pants on the ground.” Well said, Mr. Platt.
The Monitor not only profiles Platt, it also separately provides links to what it deems the top five covers of Platt’s composition. The covers selected by the Monitor show the number’s adaptability to different styles, including, most memorably, the one the style of Neil Young (by Jimmy Fallon). Omitted from the Monitor’s top five list is Brett Favre’s performance of the number in the locker room after the Vikings beat the
Saints Cowboys 34-3 in last Sunday’s playoff game. (If the Vikings were somehow to upset the Saints next Sunday in the NFC championship game, I’m pretty sure Favre would be singing something other than “Pants On the Ground.”)
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell