Saturday, November 25, 2006

Whistling Dixie

It cracks me up how people from the Northeast/East/San Francisco are still scared/disdainful of people from the South. People from the Midwest and "real" West (i.e., not Portland or Seattle) don't seem to have similar difficulties, probably because they've been brought up to not be snots!

When I was in grad school in San Francisco in the mid-'90s, I overheard two girls behind me on the bus: "I was offered a scholarship to the University of Texas, but I don't want to live in TEXAS!" (I suppose I should have turned around and offered her the comforting, "Austin isn't like the rest of Texas," but I didn't quite have the energy to placate her timid soul.)

And, just recently, I've come across people mocking the fact that George W. might've actually BEEN to a rodeo (this after he was quoted, a la Faye Dunaway in "Mommie Dearest": "This ain't my first time at the rodeo."). ACTUALLY been to a rodeo?? Oh my goodness! Similarly, people online seem shocked, just shocked, that others have actually shot guns! Apparently discounting the fact that some of us were bored while growing up in the country and occasionally sat out by the pond and aimed at stuff! (I wonder, also, how many of the Easterners had parents who grew up in the country and actually had to shit in outhouses. Seems mighty strange today. But my dad, for instance, was born in 1940 to a poor family in East Texas. He grew up wearing overalls, going barefoot, and, yes, shitting in an outhouse. This reminds me of Courtney Love's statement years ago, about her and Kurt Cobain, that if your family has never been forced to apply for government cheese, you just don't get it. I'll add this: If you've never had to go to a pawn-shop...)

While I'm sometimes appalled by some things about my home state of Texas (voting Republican, for instance), one thing I really like about it, and the people here (at least, the old-school people, NOT the modern-day dumb-ass party "Dallas girls/guys"), is the general sense of non-bullshit and the taking of people as they come. For instance, I'm a gay woman and I could go to my family's annual East Texas reunion with a big butch black woman as my companion, and people would talk to her like a real person. They'd gossip like hell afterwards, of course, but they'd be genuinely interested in talking to her, and me, and finding out about us. Whereas, if I took my hypothetical Big Black Butch Lover to a cocktail party in Chelsea, we'd have an hour or so of extreme politeness about our opinions on the latest play. Followed by gossiping like hell afterwards. Which is more "real"?

Why this small-town Southern yearn for non-bullshit honesty doesn't transfer over into a larger public policy or voting trend, I don't know. My guess is that some people are sick of being told they're stupid and react accordingly against the outsiders making judgments. Here's a quote from the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War, which might explain the mentality a bit: When asked why he was fighting, one regular, poor (non-slave-owning) soldier replied, "Because y'all are down here."

In news that bodes well (in an odd way---look, I'm desperate!) for the future of the South politically, I just read an interview with extremely popular country star Tim McGraw in the East-coast magazine "Vanity Fair," in which he mentioned the disparity between the classes in the US, and said that he was a populist Democrat...It's going to take some big "down-home" names like that to make being a Democrat acceptable again.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Double Platinum

There was a time when I thought KISS was the most profound, evil-est band in the world. (I was 13, and "God of Thunder" was truly my idea of "EVIL" and/or profundity.) I had a very musically advanced friend in junior high who turned me on to all sorts of stuff: KISS, Angel, the Rolling Stones' "Some Girls"... When I'd spend the night at her house, we'd do "weird" stuff like stay up late to watch "Midnight Special" and read and discuss "Creem" magazine and KISS lyrics...

Around the same time my parents were divorcing. My dad would have me and my brother for the weekend and would usually take us to the mall for wont of anything better to do. One time he bought me KISS's "Hotter Than Hell" album; when I got it home, my mom was quick to disapprove: There was a naked girl with a superimposed star over her nipple on the cover! Later, though, she relaxed a bit, even going so far as making me a Gene Simmons-face birthday cake one year.

This was all in 1979 or so and the reason I bring it up now is 'cause I just bought KISS's "Double Platinum" last week and am now listening to it cranked up and getting up from the computer every other song or so to pretend like I'm singing whichever song. I always liked Side 1 the best (Strutter, Do You Love Me?, Hard Luck Woman, Calling Dr. Love, Let Me Go Rock n'Roll)... Some stuff you liked when you were a teen you're later embarrassed about, but every single song here is still standing up 25 years later... Detroit Rock City: "I've got to laugh 'cause I know I'm going to die---Why?!" That was profound to me at 14, and listening to it now at 41, it's still profound both lyrically and 'cause the song fucking ROCKS!

"You were distant, now you're nearer, I can feel your face inside the mirror..." get older and you become trained in how to talk to "adults" in the "professional" world. And all the life and excitement gets sucked out of you 'cause you're no longer supposed to say how you really feel or think. Repressing your true opinions is now "being professional." Someone that I was in love with (and respected) years ago said about the rigamarole surrounding both college and work: It's there to prove that you can jump through the hoops. I'd never thought about it like that, as a proving point. I'd always been so utterly disdainful of the falsity of it. Until I realized that I was going to be making $10 an hour and living in shitty one-bedroom apartments in shitty parts of town for the rest of my life unless I made an effort to play the game... Sounds phony of me, but in reality, living in a shitty apartment (where I had to hear my neighbors fuck and watch TV and listen to their stereo) and making $8 an hour was a damn impetus for quitting my goofing around and starting to jump through said hoops so I could get the fuck away from those loud, obnoxious people and my inability-to-buy-any-damn-thing life.

Still...KISS matters. Not today's "reality show Gene," and certainly not today's "plastic surgery Paul." Just the fact that their MUSIC still stands up and gets me pumped up after over 25 years.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Election Results

Now...The thing about Fed-Ex is that he's actually sexy-looking to me! (And I'm friggin' 80% gay!) This picture looks hot 'cause they both look a little dirty. Unfortunately, there's nothing actually "dirty" or interesting about Britney. She's dumb as a post (which can be sexy, but in her case, she's just dumb and bland). Of course, K-Fed is dumb, too, but at least he's got a bit of wicked panache. That said: Good riddance on principle to the hanger-on and may Britney get back to her career instead of the boring baby stuff and weird, unfocused interviews. It's always painful to see someone once on point deteriorate so quickly!

And (sorry, no sexy/dirty accompanying picture for this one)...

CONGRATULATIONS DEMOCRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can I put enough exclamation marks? Lemme just say that I grew up reading the daily paper and watching the daily news---from age 4! And haven't been able to read or watch regularly since 2000 when that idiot Bush took office 'cause every time I did so I'd get profoundly depressed about whatever stupid, corrupt, nonsensical policy he was promoting. And, no, I'm not crazily liberal. I like balanced budgets; I supported the first Gulf War; I'm pro-gun and pro-death penalty. Bush, though, is an IDIOT. A complete incompetent embarrassment as a president, to his party, to America, and to the state of Texas (where I'm from).

And now, Dems, can you please raise the friggin' minimum wage immediately?! And get us the hell out of Iraq while you're at it? RE the latter: Americans still don't get it: Saddam Hussein had nothing---NOTHING---to do with 9/11. And, sorry to report, George Bush has killed more Americans in Iraq than Osama bin Laden killed by ordering the attacks in NYC on 9/11. Think about THAT for a second.

And finally...Just had to post a recent picture of my wannabe girlfriend. Also slightly "dirty," which I likey! Seriously, though, this girl is GORGEOUS! And I'm happy about having the chance to look at her for the next 30 years. All I ask is that she doesn't hook up with the newly single Federline.