Lynn Comes so Close

Representative Lynn says

It is very difficult for me to understand why if a woman requests to be treated professionally, and needs assistance to make that happen, she is later condemned as though she was the perpetrator.

Hmm.  Yes.  Why is that?  What would be the cause and the mechanism that would a.) make a man think that he didn’t have to treat his female colleague professionally? b.) make a woman feel like she couldn’t get the man to take seriously her objections to his treatment of her without a more powerful man to back her up? and c.) then later make her feel as if she is to blame for the man’s poor behavior towards her?  What would that be called?

And why has there been no massive, centuries-long struggle to fix it?

I just don’t know.

Maybe it would have some clever name that would let you know it was about helping a girl.  Girly-ism?  Female-ism?  Lady-ism?  Dame-ism?

Something along those lines.

And there could be, in this “dame-ist” movement, this idea that a woman should have control over what happens to her body and that it shouldn’t be up to (other) legislators to decide what happens to her.

Well, maybe some day.

Those Stories We Need to Hear Over and Over Again

Coates has the inaguration poem up as his Friday poem.  Reading it, I think I like it better than I did hearing it, though, as you remember, I thought it was a perfectly fine poem.  The thing that strikes me is that still, still, a public American poem sounds so Whitman-esque.  You’ve got the run-down of all the ordinary folks doing ordinary things, a favorite motif of Uncle Walt:

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.


Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck-
hand singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,

Or frankly, just about any Whitman poem.  Dude loved his ordinary people doing ordinary things.

And there’s the “singing” which Whitman loves and the idea that our strength is in our people.

It might be interesting to consider the switch from “I” to “we” as the movement of the American poet from outside of society to in its midst and what that means as the public role for poets is so diminished from the time when Whitman wrote.  But I am still wondering what it is about Whitman’s approach that still resonates.  Could it really be that we still only imagine one type of poem as an “American” poem?


Oh, I forgot to tell you the most exciting news going on in my life right now–the Shill is, as we speak, attempting to have a baby.

Um, I mean, the baby is already made and just needs to come out.  I love that woman and have known her my whole adult life and we’re close, but not so close that I get called mid-fucking.

At least, not that I know about…

We’re all recommending names and her sister-in-law and other friend are pushing for their name, “Tracy” which I think works well for either a boy or a girl.  Though, if it’s a boy, I’m hoping for more along the Trace Adkins axis and not the Tracy Lawrence.

Nashville Jumps

My favorite thing about Nashville is how ridiculous it is.  It’s also my least favorite thing, so there you go.  But Nashville is the kind of place where, since no one seems sure of how things are exactly supposed to go, there’s always the possibility for them to go all kinds of ways.  All kinds of things can happen to you here and all kinds of weird things kind of happen to everyone, so weird is kind of normal.

Like, back when Jimmy Martin was alive, he realized that, when tour buses pulled into the cemetery to look at Roy Acuff’s grave, everyone on the right side of the bus would have nothing to look at.  So, Martin bought a plot and put a headstone with his biography up there–yes while he was alive–to give Acuff’s visitors who couldn’t see a little something to occupy themselves with.

Or how, during the Civil War, downtown Nashville was basically just one teaming brothel and how, though we tear almost everything down, you can still drive around and walk into buildings those women walked through and fucked in.

Or how a rag-tag group of “liberal elites” somehow defeated English-only.

But my favorite thing to think about, when I’m thinking about Nashville is how, right after World War II, a bunch of men in Nashville decided to start record companies.  This tickles me so much because you’d have guys who were all “I own a furniture show.  I should produce records.”

I mean, what the fuck?  You’re sitting around trying to get Mrs. Smith to buy an ottoman and it hits you, “Gosh, I bet I’m the person with the ear for figuring out what people want to hear.”?

No, I mean, I know how it went.  They were actually sitting around selling record players and then records to go in those players (before record stores became their own thing) and then they realized that, if they made those records, they would get money from every step of the way.

So, men like Jim Bulliet and Randy Wood who saw opportunity, took it.  Sometimes, like in Wood’s case, it made some sense.  Other times, especially with some of the smaller labels, it did not.

And then you had the musicians, who were sneaking all over town to play with each other, societal segregation be damned.

I often succumb to the temptation to believe that Nashville is and only ever was a country music town, but, while the independent labels were making music by and large by Nashvillians to turn around and sell in their Nashville stores to other Nashvillians (with national success being an awesome, later, side effect [though again, I’m oversimplifying, especially in Wood’s case]), the sounds coming out of Nashville were not just country.

We, as a city, have never been as simple and clear-cut as we sometimes like to believe we are.  I would do well to remember that more often.

Anyway, I bet you’re wondering–if not country, what did Nashville sound like?  And here, my friends, is Bullet Records’ biggest hit, the success of which destroyed the label as they tried over and over again to replicate its success.  I don’t want to tell you anything about it, because I just want to imagine your face as you try to reconcile this with being a Nashville sound.  But we sure can talk about it later.

(And you must go right now to iTunes and download Cecil Gant’s “Nashville Jumps” if you do not already own it.  You can thank me later.)

(Which reminds me: 1.  How come Gant, who was born and died in Nashville, is buried in Ohio? and 2. Of course, I don’t just know this shit out of thin air.  Everything comes from Martin Hawkins’s terrific book on the subject, that comes with a fun CD, which I cannot find in my house, so I had to buy that music again in order to let you hear it.  The book is obviously not on sale at the moment, though, so that sucks.)