I Wish there were a ‘Sarcastro Signal’

Because there’s hay to be made of Tracy Moore moving in next to the fairgrounds and complaining about the noise all while insulting hillbillies.  I mean, are there any poor people she likes?  First was her public humiliation of the McDonald’s employee who failed to understand her proper place in the universe and now this.

I don’t know what funny thing to say about it, but clearly the Blogger Emeritus would!

Stimulating the Local Economy

Let’s just brainstorm.

1.  What if Hall charge a speaking fee to the white supremacist groups he meets with?  And that fee could go back to the city, since he wouldn’t be in high demand for speaking engagements if he didn’t have the job he did.

2.  Legalize pot and tax the hell out of it.  Give tobacco farmers something to do!  Cigarette smoking may be down, but pot smoking does not seem to be.  If people are spending their money on it, and if we are a sales tax-based state, why are we sitting on our hands and missing out on that revenue.

3.  Revive the lap dance.  Certainly there was a tax paid on that, right?  Well, bring it back.  Sorry, morality police, but we’re in dire straits here and you’re just going to have to suck it up.

4.  Open the old prison for tours.  It’s an attractive building.  It’s got a lot of interesting history.  And we’ll start a rumor that it’s haunted and you can give ghost tours.  It’s still owned by the state, I understand, so that’s money all to them, and it gives retired prison guards something to do (or shoot, maybe some retired prisoners who are good storytellers?) as tour guides.

5.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.  Free parking for locals in pay lots.

6.  Charge state legislators a dollar a bill they put forth.  That’d be $400 just this year alone!

7.  State-run passenger rail between Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga.

8.  More distilleries in the state.  Not to compete with Jack and George, but to compliment them and get some whiskey tourism.

9.  A local public works project to put sidewalks everywhere.

Maybe John Rich Doesn’t Know His Friend Bob is From Detroit?

Everything Jim Malec says in this post is almost spot on.  From his take on John Rich’s apparently never having considered what people in Detroit are actually like, even though he hangs out with Kid Rock enough, you’d think he’d, oh, I don’t know, play the song for him and see what he thinks to…

Okay, we’ll get to the “to” but let’s stick for a second with the Detroit stuff.  My dad is always saying to me “people are people” and “who the hell knows what’s going on in your mother’s head?”  I find this hilarious because, though they contradict–people are people, no matter what our differences, it’s not that hard to imagine what’s going on in another person’s head, if you take the time to try to understand him; and yet, you can live with someone for 40 years and still have no clue about them–it’s just the truth.  Both things are true.  We know each other better than we like to admit, but we really don’t know each other at all.

So, fine, yes, if one takes the position that people are people, John Rich’s song makes sense.  He imagines that the person in Detroit whose voice he’s using is just like him.  But they’re not.  Who has ever, ever, ever in the history of the Midwest, heard a grown man call his father “Daddy”?  (Except maybe in a time of extreme grief, but that’s the exception that proves the rule, I think.)  Do Southern men call their fathers “Daddy”?  Sure, some.  And it sounds really weird at first to a Midwestern ear; it’s just not something grown men in our part of the world do.  Shoot, it’s not something Midwestern boys do much after they start grade school.  But the very first line of Rich’s song?  “My daddy taught me in this country…”

Or the phrase “pardon me?”  We say “excuse me” unless we’re talking to the Governor.  And “exqueeze me” if we live in Aurora and have a cable access show.  Ha.  Sorry.  Where was I?

“Boss man”?  Again, not a phrase I’ve ever heard my Michigan relatives use.

And “in that New York City town”?!

I mean, I know I tease all the time about Michigan being the Arkansas of the north, but Jesus Christ, you’re singing a song about Detroit, which is a city.  In fact, it’s such a city that even people in Michigan refer to it as Detroit City (though this may be dying off) and Kiss fans refer to it as Detroit Rock City.  People in Detroit know about cities.  Why would someone who lives in Detroit, which is a city, refer to another city as “that New York City town”?  Would a Southerner who was using feigned bumpkin-ness to condescend to NYC call it “that New York City town”?  Yes.  But someone from Detroit?

Ha, no.

Malec says

It never gets to the heart of what it’s like to live in that society. Rich never makes us feel like we should care about what happens to the average Detroiter. Instead of making the Detroiter human, he reaffirms the stereotype.

And rightly notes that it’s because Rich is not as good a songwriter as he should be.  But I think it’s worse than that; Rich doesn’t make us feel like we should care about the average guy from Detroit, because it hasn’t occured to him to care.

A good song-writer, or a good artist in general, makes an outward motion–here’s how I recognize in others the humanity I share with them.  A bad one assumes that everyone is just like him.  Those might look similar, but they sound very different.

(Also, I don’t think that song sounds that good.  I mean, it sounds fine, but the sound of it doesn’t fit the song and there’s not any sense that the singer is aware and intentionally exploiting that dissonance.)

Crappy Girl Stuff

The Butcher and I went to Walmart yesterday.  Yes, Walmart.  Land that I loathe, stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from below.

My feelings about Walmart remain unchanged, but eventually they just beat you down.  You walk through the aisles and everything is, basically, a dollar cheaper than it is at the grocery store.  And they have all that non-grocery crap.  And I know it’s because they’re evil and they lock their employees in at night with no pay and strong-arm companies into producing cheap crap with their name on it but not their quality.  I know.  I know.  I know.

But a dollar an item.

And man, I walked through the aisles and saw what they were getting for cereal and cookies and milk and I was just enraged and then resigned.  We shop at Walmart.  The ant-Christ has sucked us in.

Anyway, on the way there we were talking about luck and how talent has a lot to do with stuff, but being able to be in the right place at the right time has more.  The Butcher, for instance, went to a show with the best guitarist he and I have ever heard in person.  That guitarist was not playing in the show.  He was sitting at the table with the Butcher.  That guitarist works at Electronic Express to support his family and doesn’t have time to try to be recognized as a great guitarist.

And our talk turned to the best drummer we know, who is sitting in a tiny town in Illinois, with lovely wife and two children.

Which got us thinking about high school and I was recounting the lovely calculus teacher I had who made the three girls in the class sit in the front because “girls have a harder time at math than boys.”  And the Butcher was all “But you were already good enough to get into calculus.”


Anyway, we were talking about some friends of ours who lived together for ages and then finally got married and, after the wedding, their relationship seems to have, from the outside, taken a turn for the strangely worse.  The fight all the time.  But as we talked about it, I realized that all their fights have a recurring theme: she has taken it upon herself to fix him–she encouraged him to get a different job, she wants him to hang out with different people, she wants him to take up different hobbies, etc., etc., etc.  And some of the stuff, like encouraging him to get a new job, didn’t seem too weird when it happened, because who doesn’t appreciate a supportive someone who says “You can do better and deserve better?”

But others of it really seems like, “But you knew he had and loved these friends and had these passtimes and loved them, because that’s exactly who he hung out with and what they did together when you were living with him.”  It’s like, now that they’ve gotten married, she’s changed the rules.

And, granted, we’re only hearing this from his side, but I’ve seen a lot of young women who do this–devote all this energy into changing their husbands into the kind of man they should have just married in the first place.

It’s a weird message women are getting–strive to get married; your wedding is your dream day and any old shmoe will do for the part of the groom, and don’t worry, once you get him, you can change him into the man of your dreams.

Not only is this grossly unfair to the person you marry, but this seems to me to be another instance of the bizarre busywork society gives women to keep us from being productive, active agents in our own lives, and in society.

The biggest busywork we’re given is dieting.  Memorize the numbers, make repeated visits to the scale, worry about whether you’ve been good or bad, think of your health, think of your health.  Be hungry and cranky and less effective.  Succeed, but it all comes back.  So, do it again.  Over and over, focus on that.

I have a friend who was on Jenny Craig who said it was like having a second part-time job.  And I’m starting to see it’s not “like.”  It is.  It’s a way to eat up hours of your day on a task you’re designed to fail at, so that you keep having to do it, over and over, so that those hours aren’t taken up with more interesting pursuits.

And I’m beginning to see this whole “Fix your man” task in the same light.  Like dieting, there’s always some success story held out there for us all to aspire to.  Some heterosexual woman somewhere has succeeded in fixing her man and you can, too.  In reality, though, you cannot change anyone but your own self, so you are destined to fail at this, thus necessitating that you keep trying, harder.

On another task you cannot, by design, complete successfully.