Kurt Cobain, Hank Williams, Jr., etc.

I was both early and late to the whole Nirvana thing.  I’d heard of them early on.  My friend, Moe, went to an REM concert when Nirvana opened for them and came back raving about them.  I didn’t go to concerts, though.  That just wasn’t going to happen.  And then I moved.  And I didn’t really hear about them again until Tim B. came into school ranting about how Kurt Cobain must be some kind of fag, because he’d seen him on TV, wearing a dress.

I went out and bought Nevermind right after that.  And it was like a lifeline.

What I’m saying is that I could write a post a sister to this one, because, yes, exactly.

The world is different now.  I don’t know if artsy-fartsy kids in rural America still feel as crushingly isolated or if the internet and 500 channels and cell phones and such make the world seem smaller.  I kind of hope so.  That the 60 miles between you and the city seem easily traversible.

It’s late, and I need to get to bed, but I just want to say that that’s what pisses me off so much about the strain of nostalgia in current country music.  I know a certain, “Oh, the past was so great” strain is just in country music all the time, but I mean right now, this music that acts like the past I went through was so quaint and desirable.

But when we were coming up, you saw kids in Metallica t-shirts at Bocephus concerts.  We understood that as being the same impulse–that “fuck you, establishment” thing.  (And as a side note, maybe that’s why the whole Metallica becoming so lame thing bugs me; it’s like being rescued by fogeys.  You’re grateful, but damn it.)  I mean, Williams made his career in the 80s on songs about outsiders who didn’t fit in where they were supposed to, but did what they wanted, anyway.  His whole career seemed to be about sticking a thumb in the eye of folks who thought that rural life was all good folks behaving in good ways who played by the rules.

In other words, it was a critique of how things were.  And if you liked Williams, it was because that critique resonated with you.  You, too, thought that there was a level of bullshit going on.

So, when I hear these country artists now, who are my age or a little younger, talking about the 80s and early 90s like they were so great, it just pisses me off.  If things were so great, why did we need Williams?  Why did we need Guns & Roses?  Why did we need Metallica?

I don’t know.  It’s like somehow the system we were trying so hard to escape succeeds in perpetuating a version of history in which the driving impulse many of us felt, that so shaped our lives, didn’t exist.

But anyway, the thing about that post I liked is that it reminds me that people take from things a lot of good stuff that the artist didn’t intend and that often runs counter to what the artist intended, that people are resourseful and find ways of getting what they need.

When Attack Ads Backfire–The ‘Release the Hounds, Smithers’ Edition

As we’ve seen, the unofficial slogan of the TNGOP seems to be “We’re still pissed about stuff that happened before you were born.”  And the latest from Bill Hobbs seems to be a riff on that same thing.  I do notice, however, that there’s little to no copyright infringement in this piece, so I guess you take the good with the bad.

I don’t know.  Maybe it’s just where I’m sitting, as a younger person, but does this intercene war among Baby Boomers really resonate with folks?  I mean, I came of age in an era when disgruntled homegrown terrorists sent bombs that killed people and when mass murderers walk into high schools and kill their peers by the dozens.  “Obama knows someone who once said Manson was ‘far out’ back in the 60s and knows someone else who bombed some places but didn’t manage to kill anyone back in the 60s and who scandalously stood on a flag!”

I mean, doesn’t it strike anyone else how quaint this is?

There’s this disembodied voice–I assume it’s Hobbs–that could not be any more square talking about Manson and “dig it” and “far out” and, I don’t know, maybe that shit will resonate with older voters, but it seems like older voters are already voting for McCain.

Otherwise, I ask you this.  Go back and listen to the tone of that whole piece and tell me, does it not sound like a young Montgomery Burns?

And, I must admit, I’m curious to see how far back into the past Hobbs might go.  Will we soon learn that Obama likes that rock and roll music?  That he associates with people who get stoned and read Ginsberg?  That he frequents places that used to be speak-easys?  That he once spent the afternoon with a man who looked vaguely like a man who used to defame Rachel Jackson?

How far back in the past does his wrongness for America stretch?!

When, for instance, will we find out that he’s just taking the Communist play-book, changing the title and passing it off as American policy?

Oops.  Too late.  Bush beat him to it.

A Few Weird Things

1.  Folks are growing some wheat in with their corn and beans in Illinois.  My dad tried to play it off like we’ve always had noticeable wheat in Illinois, but we have not.

2.  Part of I-24 through Kentucky has this thing where one lane is like 50% bigger than the other lane and I found it nearly impossible to drive in the really wide lane.

3.  I think I have more perephrial vision now than I used to.

4.  Something in my house smells.  If we had to ask ourselves whether I’m going to locate the cause of that smell or find something completely different to do with my dad, which would we guess?

5.  I have been dreaming about my childhood friend, A.’s, house for ever, frequent dreams about it.  We drove by it on Monday and it looked nothing like the house I dream about.  Hmm.