US Tour 2006 (part 1)  

bobbydazzler69x 47M
27 posts
1/20/2006 11:23 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

US Tour 2006 (part 1)

I like to get out Scotland if I can in January. I prefer somewhere sunny and had booked a flight to Tampa with a stop off in Nashville this year; a bit of music, a bit of carousing in bars, a bit of golf in sunny Florida. I had never been to Nashville before, although I had been to Memphis, and haven't liked much country music since about the 80's. I like the classics: Cash, Hank Wiilaims, George Jones, but there is something about Garth Brookes that makes me want to throw up. I figured that it would be one of those things that would work in situ.

Got a Continental flight to Newark and the weather was so bad that there was an eight hour delay to Nashville. I had been chatting on the plane with a guy and a girl and we kept each other company. Everyone has lap tops and Wi Fi and phones and video Ipods. You know you are getting old when the young pilot is sitting watching an episode of the Simpsons on his iPod and you're thinking this guy looks like a child. In Newark I was particularly struck by the young US servicewomen and men, queuing up to go to Iraq, but particularly the women.

Why, oh why, do people not get this? These kids might not come back. No one is going to invade America. The worst that could happen would be a nuclear strike or a 9/11 type terror stunt. America scarcely needs a military. What stories have to be deeply embedded in people's minds to get them to legitimise this use of the flowers of youth. One kid told me that she was in the army because they paid her tuition fees at College. Some price to pay. In America it's always about the dollar and that's why they are going there: to fight for the dollar, oil and the sustaining of a hyper power. The levels of obesity as a measure of consumption are staggering and America can at times seem like a stuffed predator-less creature in a Darwinian Galapagos. It feeds on the dollar.

On a connection to Tampa a few days later, I sat next to an old Republican woman who was reading a book about Senator Frist from Tennessee, who she would like to see as the next Republican President. I got a headache as she talked about the troops morale; Pat Robertson, who'd been misrepresented for his remarks about Sharon's stroke being God's vengeance for withdrawal of Jewish settlers in Gaza; the Jews' biblical right to PALESTINE which Christians should support as a sign of the final days, and that the US had been an altruistic force for good in not taking countries as spoils of war. She said the the US didn't want Iraq any more than it wanted Kuwait under Bush senior. She claimed it was a moral duty of the US, post the second world war, to create a homeland for the Jews. I told her that I had been in Jerusalem and saw the bullets in the King David hotel. Israel came into existence as a result of armed struggle, but what about the Palestinians who were being appallingly exploited in their own land? Her attitude was instructive though. A few threads began to come together in my mind for this trip. I met a huge bunch of kids who were in Nashville for a conference about Christ's passion; I saw the deep desire for moral simplicity and control. This has been an American theme in Steinbeck's East of Eden and Springsteen's 'Adam raised a Cain'. We Europeans have a history to reflect on mans's greed, stupidity, spurious legitimation, catastrophic militarism, racism and empire building. America has a few simple narratives that come from an insular history. I reflected on how a nation of 280 million reacts in a Pavlovian way to words like, God, President, Flag, our troops. Do they really believe that they are building a new Jerusalem in North America?
Country music at it's best can reveal a deep humanity and counter-point to simple narratives, but at it's worst is a barometer of what is trashy and mean and insular and maybe a bit bigoted in the American psyche; a bit proud to be fiercely ignorant, and if you don't like it fella, you can just go to hell in a handcart.

I bought cowboy boots, post-modern ones of course.

rm_rsp54 59F
531 posts
1/20/2006 5:48 pm

I really resent the stupidity of the average american. My husband is the epitome of the hoodwinked, christian right winger, who thinks that george w is right up there with jesus! The separation of church and state....can anyone hear me!!

Welcome back. peace, rose

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