took in a baseball game yesterday at the stately, plump hunter h. helmsley*metrodome yesterday. basic reportage: the place is a dump. they sell t-shirts with “mrs mauer” on the back. no sightings of “mrs tyner” or “mrs redmond” shirts.
advanced readings: at some predetermined moment in the proceedings, the twins PA system plays “(I’ve Got Friends in) Low Places” by Gartholomew Brooks, a fairly content-free but mostly harmless song from the false 90s heyday of FM rock radio C&W. the most country bits about this song is that um, it has a fiddle, Garth Brooks sings in something approximating a fake hick voice, and thematically you might confuse it with traditional hee-haw-style songs about getting loaded and falling into a latrine. anyway i’ve always had a strange soft spot for the song, despite the fact that it’s very, very inane, and also kind of a sociocultural clogged toilet. but recently, after singing at karaoke on a particularly misguided evening, even by my standards (more on that in the weeks to come: i think i am experiencing some kind of low-voltage personality alteration towards being even more faux-premature grandpa syndrome) i realized that if i never heard it again, i would shed no tears and generally be better off for the privation.
for understandable reasons, mostly a coincidence of the age of recent college graduates and garth brooks’ early career success with the suburban mom demographic, “… low places” is really popular with um, for lack of a scientific term, trashy white girls who who aren’t despite appearances and behavioral codes, actually really justified in being trashy. you know, girls who wear a lot of black eyeliner and chew gum with their mouth open. normally i’d write off dumb shit that 18-25 yrs do and say as a kind of behaviorial hiccup but that is getting harder, since everyone is now permanently 25 until your reproductive organs stop working (i can’t wait til the first time i see a dude with gray hair and crow’s feet wearing a Miller High Life thatchy trucker hat and camo cargo shorts. and mandals. and one of those metal-bead necklaces that seem especially popular with major league relievers with tattoos and porn actors– i think i might have to take a cell phone picture of that and mail it to reader’s digest. that’s the future of journalism probably, cell phone videos of everything. saddam hussein’s execution was just the beginning. school textbooks will probably be formatted for iPhones. PS the iPhone is bullshit. anyone who disagrees should be lashed to the front of the apple store and whipped with an scsi cable)
anyway my sumptuous luddite asides aside (cough), how my fear of the future relates to this garth brooks song isn’t actually clear to me anymore. what happened was that at the Metrodome, around the 8th inning, the PA system blasted “… low places” and the crowd just went batshit. everyone sang, everyone knew the words, or mostly everyone, and the jumbotron was filled with images of teenage girls in tight t-shirts and gym shorts, wearing a lot of makeup and snapping gum, belting out garth brooks in the middle of a baseball game. while this was happening i think the brewers were busy adding insurance runs. i started to wonder about the class politics of garth brooks, specifically this song. which is not really about anything other than not giving a shit and generally being somewhat disinterested in your significant other’s desires to achieve upper middle class status. and the sorority girl demographic loving this song is about the same thing. it’s a reach to claim to some affinity or really even just an definitional awareness of white trashdom, or hick-ness, or wanting to like country music. it’s the same phenomenon that drives people with polish last names, no freckles and the opposite of red hair to wear guinness t-shirts that say “MADE IN IRELAND.” as i like to say, heuristics needed. unfortunately the store is out of heuristics.
i left the metrodome, weaved through a crowd of drunk and crowing brewers fans. later on at the hotel bar i was drinking summit and watching sportscenter replays of chris young and derrek lee fighting because it made me feel good about myself. i was talking to someone from south carolina about how our generation was experiencing a stupid kind of nostalgia for america and i told them i had lost faith in democracy. she said she had lost faith in humanity. i was having a hard time standing up straight by that point so i went to bed.
If i can just get through this without violence or melodrama, he thinks–roberto bolaño
Fucking endings, man, they weren’t as easy as they looked. — elmore leonard