Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Let's ask a country singer why the US is fucked and Sanders making ground

You know, I sometimes wonder if my polemicising days are behind me. I mean... life is just too short, especially with the fucking ever-hastening ecoholocaust bearing right down on us.

But... there is one fight I feel compelled to wage before the very basis of human civilisation is destroyed so a handful of corporate giants can accumulate more wealth and any human being can even drink. And that is that country music gives you the answers.

YES I know it it is a bit of an absurd proposition because it is really just a fact that any form with an emphasis on lyrics will include those using the form to tell stories of ordinary people in pain, which, after all, is the story of human existence. And that is every form of folk music (of which country is one) plus others like hip hop, which all tell different aspects of human pain and struggle and defiance and even some happy shit sometimes.

But still... country is not just the one I like a lot, it is particularly maligned and misunderstood so, you know. I'll give you an example of a country singer who, a decade before the rise of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders with his call for a political revolution against Wall Street, called out the reality that calls for a political revolution against Wall Street. Yes, just one of many, in various genres... but still. THIS ONE IS COUNTRY, wildly misunderstood by many as some sort of reactionary hillbilly bullshit. It isn't.

I know you all think country music is right-wing rednecks with American flags and 10-gallon hats with OTT drawls... but you are wrong. Here is Texas country singer James McMurtry with his 2005 classic tale of the billionaire class's destruction of the economy, while sending the working class to die in wars overseas and using racism to divert anger. Class war to a few simple cords, sung by a man who told the press last year: "I'm much more of a socialist than my characters are".

McMurtry was described by Stephen King as "the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation", but for god's sake, don't hold that against him. And, in fact, while we are at it, do yourself a favour and just look up "Texas country music" in general...



'Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They've never known want, they'll never know need
Their shit don't stink and their kids won't bleed
Their kids won't bleed in the damn little war
We can't make it here anymore...'



Can't Make It Here Any more 
Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
Sitting there by the left turn line
Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing, both hands free
No one's paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget's stretched so thin
And there's more comin' home from the Mideast war
We can't make it here anymore 
That big ol' building was the textile mill
It fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
We can't make it here anymore 
See all those pallets piled up on the loading dock
They're just gonna set there till they rot
'Cause there's nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
Empty storefronts around the square
There's a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
You don't come down here 'less you're looking to score
We can't make it here anymore 
The bar's still open but man it's slow
The tip jar's light and the register's low
The bartender don't have much to say
The regular crowd gets thinner each day
Some have maxed out all their credit cards
Some are working two jobs and living in cars
Minimum wage won't pay for a roof, won't pay for a drink
If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. CEO
See how far 5.15 an hour will go
Take a part time job at one of your stores
Bet you can't make it here anymore 
High school girl with a bourgeois dream
Just like the pictures in the magazine
She found on the floor of the laundromat
A woman with kids can forget all that
If she comes up pregnant what'll she do
Forget the career, forget about school
Can she live on faith? live on hope?
High on Jesus or hooked on dope
When it's way too late to just say no
You can't make it here anymore 
Now I'm stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
Just like the ones we made before
'Cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can't make it here anymore
Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I'm in
Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They've never known want, they'll never know need
Their shit don't stink and their kids won't bleed
Their kids won't bleed in the damn little war
And we can't make it here anymore 
Will work for food
Will die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
The working poor get to fall through the cracks
Let 'em eat jellybeans let 'em eat cake
Let 'em eat shit, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
If they can't make it here anymore 
And that's how it is
That's what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper
Read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind
If you're listening at all
Get out of that limo
Look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone
Tell us all why
In Dayton, Ohio
Or Portland, Maine
Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
That's done closed down along with the school
And the hospital and the swimming pool
Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
There's rats in the alley
And trash in the street
Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
We can't make it here anymore

BONUS TRACK!!!

Here is Jame McMurtry singing a cheery happy song about a guy trying to make it in the methamphetamine industry.


Sells his hardwood timber to the chipping millCooks that crystal meth because the shine don't sellHe cooks that crystal meth because the shine don't sellYou know he likes that money, he don't mind the smell

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