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.

Thursday, October 29

SONG OF THE DAY: Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore

Went to Goodwill last weekend, kids trying to find clothes but couldn't, I got a bunch of bright ass dishes because five for a dollar's hard to beat. Covid got those that can afford it on a "nothing but new shit" tip, but I can't do that. A lot of shit I still need in this house, but we're just gonna have to get it little by little, over time.
All of America has deteriorated in the past decade with regards to public buffoonery, but Fluvanna County, USA, seems an especially ignorant place. I remember back in the day, as a kid, with my high school in the same district, there was something about Fluvanna that wasn't like the rest of southside. Maybe a little too segregated, or not as many black folks as Buckingham or Cumberland or Prince Edward, or maybe it was just the weird putting on airs way of the white folks there. Suburban rednecks, who aren't really country, but don't realize it, and think they're HOA redneckery somehow is what real country is all about. And I'm probably wrong, by popular consensus, because certainly the sounds that come out of your average country radio station seem to agree with these don't-tread-on-me-but-keep-your-grass-cut ass fools. Nothing is more performatively country than driving a $75K truck to the Wal-Mart/Lowe's combo shopping center.
Anyways, there was a dude in front of us in the distanced checkout line, unmasked, strapped with a nine, patriotic neck tattoos, standing in front of me looking like a damn fool. The ladies who were working the register were masked up, behind a homemade plexiglass wall, both Winter's Bone people, working retail at the Goodwill. Nobody was going to ask this guy to wear a mask, even though there were signs everywhere, and he just stood there in front of me, holding a stack of DVDs. My kids were worried about going past him, and I told them how to walk around him in a wide path, and they could go wait in the car, which they did.
Guess I'm getting older, and more mellow, because despite wanting to really fuck with this guy, I didn't say shit. I didn't even take a picture to mock him online either. I'm trying to be better, not so judgmental of others, keep my heart focused on good philosophies to live by instead of letting my brain get hung up in the fear and division that leads to panicked thinking and panicked decisions which inevitably leads to tragedy. I don't need any more tragedy in my life than what's been dealt naturally; no need to call in wild cards too.
But what the fuck goes through a guy like that's brain? At that point, you're just being a dickhead, no patriotism or believing in freedom or anything. I grew up around guns, and you only carried them where you needed to carry them, even with a permit. You don't just go walking through the fuckin' Goodwill looking at old Van Damme movies strapped up. And the whole mask thing is just another layer of the not giving a fuck, where somehow freedom has been warped into these people's heads to mean, "I'll do whatever the fuck I want, fuck you if you disagree." It's not very community-oriented. But these assholes think they're still the salt of the Earth, because of the combination of internet propaganda and horrible pop country music themes for decades. He left, with his stupid fucking stack of DVDs and girlfriend or wife or whatever, and I moved up to the other lane of checkout, where a scrawny redneck woman, looking like every other Aunt Kathy from Virginia to Mississippi, was talking to the other Goodwill worker about their co-worker who had been out sick. "I'm bringing in bleach spray and spraying everything," she said, laughing. "No doubt," I said. She looked at me and said, "I can't afford to get sick." "No doubt, me either," I answered.
I guess if you got it, and can afford new shit, you can live in politically invested oblivion that election and democracy are still real. And I guess if you're a brainwashed dumbass who still mistakenly believes one half of that political system actually gives a fuck about your throwaway ass, you can walk around proudly with your pistol and no mask, a 21st Century foot soldier of the empire, continuing that pioneer settler/colonial front line. If you don't die, you've just proven your own point about how bad ass you are. And if you do die, they don't give a fuck.
I guess ultimately that's where I've broken from most of these people that consider themselves red state rural folk - I actually care about people, not in some abstract narrow economic evangelical way, but in a very general and broad way. If I see a person, I hope they're okay, and everyone around them is okay, and so on and so forth, like ripples of giving a fuck. So when I see somebody openly not giving a fuck, it bugs the shit out of me, because in a social contract where all of us living in geographic proximity of each other are supposed to give a fuck, the contract gets broken. And then everybody starts putting asterisks on when the contract is applied, whether someone is appropriate, or justified, or a respectable option, and the asterisks just start adding up, and soon you're standing there in the Goodwill checkout line not giving a fuck about anybody but yourself.
Anyways, my new old dishes are nice. I finally have enough of a matching set for five people to have a plate, bowl, and whatever that kinda bowl/kinda plate serving dish is, all at once. Just gotta get a table big enough for five people now. And maybe chairs that all mostly match. And have this fucking pandemic settle down. And then we'll have a big ass dinner together.

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