"Don't rock the jukebox; I wanna hear some Jones. 'Cause my heart ain't ready for the Rolling Stones."
I just returned from my annual trek to Dallas, which is always a bit depressing, but it's "home." Dallas is sort of the nexus where God meets commerce, with the former and its cognates of tradition and morality always losing out to the latter. All a moneyed interest has to do is play to the ideal Dallas existing in the minds of its citizens, and the local governing body will allow just about any historical site to be torn down. Hell, this largely conservative population will even vote for increased taxes if sports are involved. (As parochial wisdom has it, sports -- despite being universally popular -- are part of our Southern essence; God bless the Cowboys.) Consequently, the town itself (which, due to white flight, is more Dallas County than just Dallas these days) has little charm or uniqueness -- i.e., no sense of place -- left to it. It exists as pure concept, which is why it's a great place to be from, just not to live. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein
, thar ain't no thar thar. Anyway, I have friends in Austin, so I use them as a good excuse to go to the one true Texan town, Austin (although many of its long-term residents wouldn't agree -- but they ought to try living in Dallas). After listening to the Townes
compilation that I brought with me, I discovered that my aunt had removed the cds I leave in her car for this particular occasion. That meant once more through Townes and then on to the accursed Texas radio.
Now, listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the Texas
I'll tell you 'bout the Texas Radio
I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless night
Wandering the Western dream
Tell you 'bout the maiden with wrought iron soul
-- The Doors, The Wasp
I'm no Morrison
scholar and can't say I pay much attention to his lyrics, but naming a song about Texas radio "The Wasp" captures what often passes for culture there: bourgeois consumerism in place of illusory country values. I've yet to hear King Bob Wills
on the radio (including the 25 years when I was a resident), but I always get my yearly dose of Van Hagar
and 50 Cent
every time I visit, just by using the scan function on the car radio. And if you ever wonder why bands that used to be called nü-metal are still putting out albums, out yonder is the answer. It all is the continuing (de-)evolution that I remember from high school, where all the wannabe cowpolks in FFA used to wear dusters and cowboy boots. They would pull into the school parking lot alternately blasting RUN-DMC
from their shortbeds. They exaggerated their drawl and said stuff like "bulldoggyshit." Urban Cowboy
was lost on them, if they saw it at all, taking it as another fashion code rather than a lament for dying cowboy authenticity within modernity's sprawl. Unfortunately, even as a fashion statement, it was already out of date for these future suburban cowboys.