Monday, October 03, 2005

America Eats Its Young

Notes typed while a rented DVD of Bill Moyers' interviews with Joseph Campbell, found in Blockbuster's "Special Interests" section while looking for something amusing to watch on postoperative codeine, stayed on noble, patient and resolute Pause. The author's having watched Martin Scorsese's homage to Bob Dylan a scant week earlier had no bearing on the matter at hand.

America eats its young.

There's a treasured legend among the hundreds of thousands of Smithsonian folklorists who even today trawl America's forgotten byways with 300-pound Ampeg wire recorders strapped to their waists, ready to be swung into action at the drop of a jaw-harp or a dulcimer pick. The tradition has it that Blind Clawhammer Wastrel, the Paganini of the ragtime guitar who sacrificed hearth and home to sing proudly secular hymns to passive aggression, came from a long line of faithful family retainers; his father retained railroad barons and free-range cattlemen, while his goddess-figure mother -- recumbent, great with potentiality -- retained mostly fluids. The legacy he left us includes the deathless proletarian j'accuse:
Sugar done been spilled
So's the salt
Now you gonna tell me
It's my own daggumed fault
Woah, mama, look what you done made me do!
Indeed. We students of the particularly American brand of authenticity bow our heads in tribute to such Revealed Truth.

Try this on, an American parable that explains this mad, sacred, irascible pit-bull of a nation:

Ed Grimley, Wilford Brimley, the guy who sees the past but dimly, Tawana Brawley, old Smoot Hawley, Satchmo who sang "Hello, Dolly," Goldie Hawn, Wallace Shawn, the Temple of the Golden Dawn, John Kerry, Marion Barry, Moe, Curly and lastly Larry, Alfred Jarry, Randall Terry, the Gibb Brothers, excluding Barry, M.L. King, Chandler Bing, that guy who knows most everything (Kreskin? Is it Vos Savant? Don't know them from my maiden aunt), John Paul Jones, Indy Jones, Nora Jones, Jesus Jones, Percy Jones, Spike Jones, cursed be he that moves these bones, Adam Smith, Snuffy Smith, the author of The Power of Myth...

Into a bar they once did amble.

Which brings me back to Joseph Campbell...
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Hit a homer, ran the bases.
Rounding third, he called to fans,
"I'm the Brown-Eyed Handsome Man!"
(Just like your daddy...)


Bob Dwire said...

I'll have some of that.

XTCfan said...

You funny when you on codiene, Ned.

ade said...

Funnily enough

We didn't start the fire
It was always burnin'
Since the world's bin turnin'

popped into my head after reading this post.

Sluggo said...

so that's where "Follow Your Bliss" came from.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where that came from, but it's beautiful.