“I Just Sat back and Marveled at All the Stupid Shares of Satires People Thought Were Patriotic”

I just walked back home from work a second ago, a 20-minute walk. It’s 83 degrees out in Terre Haute, Indiana, at 10:20 p.m., plus humidity. Eight or so minutes into my walk, I come across the parking garage downtown. Fireworks start going off, into the air. This firebomb-like ball of blaze actually shoots downward, in full fiery light, onto the sidewalk, about 20 feet to the right of my path. I somehow get through all that and come across about seven more firework sites on my walk home, each of which is firing constantly, giving off smoke and annoying noise (as a music lover I’m probably overly protective of my ears, granted).

But that’s not what this post is about: this post is about when I was patrolling Facebook for spam ware (ok I actually just go on Facebook every day.. the truth comes out…) and all there was this equally maniacal bevy of all these people who were confusing parodic things with patriotic things. The worst culpit was the Grateful Dead, not only all the unofficial offshoots like Just.the.Grateful.Dead. and Grateful Dead Everyday and stuff, but even the OFFICIAL Grateful Dead page, was like championing “U.S. Blues” as if it were some patriotic statement. That song is undeniably a subversive jab at this pompous, money-hoarding “Uncle Sam,” what with the words “Check my pulse / It don’t change / It stays 72 / Come shine or rain” and also “I’ll drink your health / Steal your wealth / Run your life / Steal your wife”. The dark tinge of the song’s lyrical intention would seem to be bolstered by the ensuing chorus “Summer time done come and gone / My oh my”, which you’d think would be metaphoric of the national pride that comes with the 4th of July having dissipated, with said holiday falling squatly within the aforementioned “summertime.”

Then this Australian dude shared “Born in the U.S.A.,” attempting to give a “shout out” to all his American friends. This is fine, I guess. Actually, Reagan once asked to use the song in a campaign rally, not realizing that it’s actually about the impossibility of growing up in a “dead man’s town” and having your only professional recourse being going to “kill the yellow man.”

But I mean, I’ve never seen this much stupidity in my lifetime. And now, you’re going to hate me even more, but my album lineup on Bluetooth at work today was Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon; Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory [1]; and Jethro Tull – Stand up. These are all British acts. I was like, why isn’t my music playing like the tackiest thing I’ve ever heard? Oh yeah. Pink Floyd spawned a mention from my coworker about a bootleg his friend has of the songs pre-release, “Champagne Supernova” ignited a bona fide singalong rarely seen in any workplace anymore and Stand up prompted an inquiry on the part of this 24-year-old as to whom it was. I told him and he was like, “Jethro Tillman?” The buzzing tends to be fairly loud in the kitchen. But there you have it. Millennials don’t even know who Jethro Tull is. To me this is a tragedy. “Fat Man” came on and I was just like… this is the most fun, playful, mean yet strangely tactful and ingratiating piece of music ever, complete with its frenetic mandolin part that seems to chime in from this otherworldly realm with this wolverine, but light, sort of authority. But I just couldn’t help but cling to this British music, on this 4th of July. I find that sad and funny… mostly sad.


[1] Interestingly enough this might be the only parenthetical album title in history… I just realized that.


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