RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Tuesday, August 23

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown - June '11 #6: "Alabama Highway" by Steve Young

Here it is almost the end of August and I'm still working through my June Krupert catalog... Not much love for the cyberbot machine I guess. Not enough real shit on here, or in life anymore, or anywhere really. The big holiday of the year in my little town is the 4th of July and they do a fireman's parade which scars all the little children with incessant fire truck and ambulance siren testing from every volunteer department within four counties, and the politicians glad hand their way through the sticks, which is us. And that night they have a big fireworks display, plus there's a flea market for like a whole week usually, which used to be a lot bigger but is still okay I guess. I don't think flea markets really work anymore because people just junk shit and go buy some new junk shit at Wal-Mart, which kinda of kills the need for a flea market. I mean if your house fan was a giant metal thing that looked like it powered planes back in the '30s, yeah, you might go get a new one of those at the flea market. But now you just get you a new $10 box fan at the Wal-Mart (or Dollar General if you shop local where I live), and get on with your slow sweat.
What always strikes me when the flea market is rolling up around the 4th of July is the type of people we see there - strange, wild people, with jailhouse tattoos and feral good-time looks about themselves and ragtag children wandering behind, wanting to go look at this or that. (Wow, I guess my family sort of fits that description too, which on one hand makes me proud but on the other hand makes me scared because I'm not sure what kind of future there is for people like us, which I'm about to get into, so let me close this parenthesis.) And the vendors are the same, selling military crap or old hot wheels or "water pipes" or whatever. It's really kinda beautiful, and over the years we've gotten many nice functional household things like cast iron frying pans and enamel plates plus nice decor like old herbal medicine bottles and one time I even bought a velvet Willie Nelson painting for a quarter.
I wonder where all these flea market people are the rest of the year though. It's like for that one holiday, they let out all the winter's bone people in our entire area, and they run the streets. Then a week later, it's back to normal shucking and jiving, Joe & Margie Nuclearfamily hustling down the road in their Volvo to their 1.5 jobs with their 2.3 children. The reason I wonder is because it's these crazy flea market people who are the future, if shit falls apart, or they'll continue to be the sheet rockers and backhoe operators and weekend prison population of America if things don't fall apart. But the whole move towards clean Wal-Mart plastic, which started twenty years ago or so, has led to alleged redneck types who look pretty clean and drive clean big trucks, with bed covers (what the fuck?) and shit like that. There's no grime anymore for a lot of people, and it's almost like that shit is encouraged, to always trade in your shine before it loses all its luster to get some new shine and never experience the solid soulfulness of hard-earned grime. This also affects people's lack of ability to fix their own anymore as well, as the encouragement to always replace junk with junk eliminated the desire to learn how to patch and repair and make due. And basically the biggest problem we'll all face during the impending financial collapse of the American Empire is our collective inability to make due. Though it's completely different from the "entitlements" that politicians jibber jabber about, we are all feeling a good amount of entitlement in our daily lives, about what we deserve to have, and how it should be better. Like how the fuck does anyone deserve a big ass flat screen? What kind of nonsense is that?
The survivor mentality is being polished away, being banished to jails and trained to be embarrassed of itself so it hides, and I guess only comes out around the 4th of July, drunk on freedom mythologies. And what struck me as most odd during this all juggling around my head around the 4th of July was the fireworks got cancelled because it rained too much, so in honoring the persistence of the patriots, it got pushed back a week until the ground wasn't so wet. So we came home early and I was flipping through channels on the television box, and there was a commercial for a stupid computer generated Smurfs movie. They ran through the characters I knew, like Papa Smurf and Smurfette and Jokey and Brainy and all, but Handy Smurf was gone. You know who was in his place though? A Scottish style smurf named Gutsy. This just kinda kicked around with all the other thinking on this I had been doing, and made perfect sense that pop culture would flip the script and replace a Handy do-it-yourself type with a Gutsy character, that probably fights Azrael-Qaeda and doesn't fix a fucking thing because he refinances the mushroom to upgrade his home electronics every other year. Well fuck you Gutsy Smurf. And fuck you social engineering.
STEAL "Alabama Highway"
: a dude named after a plurality of town!


Shityoucantsay said...

I really liked this. I have this fucked up thing about nostalgia stuck in my head involving my grandfather. Born in 1912, he was undoubtedly my favorite person who ever lived but enough of a stone racist to avoid sports because it was just " my niggers can beat your niggers". It complicates the memories of everything else about him I loved, the old timey self sufficiency, kindness, the perfect self containment. I mean, what are the limits of nostalgia here?

Raven Mack said...

I understand, I have a dead uncle who was one of the best people I ever knew but also a ridiculous racist. He was a great influence on me, but the racist stuff was trifling.

rhobertson said...

Reading Janisse Ray's "Ecology of a Cracker Childhood" memoir right now--you might dig it (if you haven't already encountered it), girl grows up in SE GA 10 acre junkyard with genius/mentally unstable father who can fix anything.

Reminds me of my own grandfather--built rainwater irrigation system for his fields out of Roanoke City school cafeteria grease drums and was a frequent dumpster diver at the landfill (I remember stuff that I'd see my dad chuck in the dumpster turn up in grandpa's barn). Built his garage out of demolished houses. I could go on and on. Sadly, I've lost almost all that knowledge.

Shitucantsay said...

Things would have been a fuck of a lot easier if we could have picked and chose the elements of our grandparents' culture to keep, but I suspect it was a package deal. The irony of waxing nostalgic on the Interwebs isn't lost on me either.

Raven Mack said...

I have both of Janisse Ray's books coming to me now from the library, I shall check them out, literally.