Editor's Note - From the assorted artist compilation "Honor- A Benefit for the Honor the Earth Campaign" (1996).
16 June 1995
"I'll throw a new one at you. I have sung it a couple of times in front of
people but it's new all the same. New, new in my case.. while I allow myself
a broad definition of that term. Anything that was written after the last
album came out is new and this is one of the older new ones and, as such, I
actually know how to sing it 'cause....some of the newer new ones I'm a
little sketchy on. This one came out of a couple of things. One was an
unfortunately unsuccessful attempt that I was involved in with some other
people to rescue 16 Siberian tigers [Editor's note: the total number of tigers was 69]
from a farm in China, near Shanghi, where
they were being raised for meat and body parts. Tiger meat is a big thing in
some places. Unfortunately for the tigers, unfortunately for the likes of
us that have to put up with people who think that's a good thing, who think
that in order to get a hard-on they have to fucking eat a tiger penis. That
stuff makes me sick and we tried to get these things out of this farm. There
was a big scam that was going on because a while back some people in China
got the idea they could appeal to western zoos and get money and the way they
did it was by suggesting they could institute a tiger breeding program
for these Siberian tigers which are an endangered species and they would then
have a supply to send to these various zoos around the world and they got a
lot of money for doing that. What they were really breeding them for was
tiger penis soup and stuff like that. And when the international agreement on
the trade of endangered species came into effect recently, or when China
became party to it rather, for a moment or two the bottom fell out of that
trade so these tigers were being allowed to starve to death on this farm in
cages and we thought we might be able to get them out but we didn't.
The other thing this song came from is the organization or loose aggregation
of groups that exists in North America under the term Wise Use movement. It's
in this context an oxymoronic term. There's nothing, nothing wrong with
wisdom and certainly nothing wrong with use of things we were given but
somehow when you use those things without wisdom, even if you say it's
wisdom, it's not a good thing and it hasn't been a good thing for a long time
and it's not going to get any better.
And these people, with the financing and the fact that they are the
brainchild of industry and they are financed by industry and you'll hear a
lot about private property rights and about people keeping their jobs and
that sort of shit. They'll keep their jobs for another six months until
whatever it is they are doing is gone and then they'll be out of a job then
so, and then they'll be crying about government support and how come there
isn't more government. So don't believe any of that stuff..."
-- from a concert transcription, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride, Colorado, June 16, 1995. Transcribed and submitted by Doug Stacey.
15 January 2002
Why is "Wise Users" not on the album [Anything, Anytime, Anywhere - Singles 1979-2002]? Have you recorded it? I remember it from Greenbelt many moons ago.
Bruce Cockburn: We recorded that song for the Charity Of Night and we ended up with too much material for that album and it was the one song that didn't fit as well with the rest. I guess if I ever do a box set it will be on that.
- from Canoe Online Chat with Bruce Cockburn, 15 January 2002. Submitted by Suzanne D. Myers.
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This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.