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, October 12

SONG OF THE DAY: Poor Loser


The rise of Artisanal Poverty in American culture over the past quarter century has been strange, where the children of affluence conceal themselves in the camouflage of struggle, only to end up buying houses cheaply in “bad” neighborhoods, after years of renting in same places, driving up the “value” of those locations collectively. The first sign of successful occupation is the small business bakery, in a corner store front that had either been abandoned for a while, or was a church, or some weird shit. But now it’s a bakery, with really delicious but expensive pastries and breads, and literally nothing else. Definitely pie. The boutique pie shop is a definite staple of the Artisanal Poverty movement. Many of the denizens still dress as if they’re street urchins from Birmingham (UK) in the decades after the Industrial Revolution, but most of them are college graduates, albeit struggling in the declining American Empire, thus often required to work service industry jobs while also “building” their own small businesses through the access to wealth they always had as foundational support. They make money, but also have a lot of bills, thus they’re always “broke”, usually because they have to access forms of wealth they’d rather not more often than they’d like to. And for many of them, used to seeing the previous generations accumulate wealth rather than barely hold even or actually dip into that wealth, it feels like they are broke somehow. They try to save money, only going to the pie shop or corner pastry spot a couple times a month, rather than every Tuesday afternoon like it used to be. They share the logins for streaming services with their close circle, so that they can still watch everything important without having to pay for it directly. Eventually, the original house in an old neighborhood loses its luster because everything got “too bougie” and gentrified for them, the earliest colonizers of a bad neighborhood. So they sell it, quietly, without calling a lot of attention to the move, because profiting off a neighborhood that they directly helped gentrify breaks the Artisanal Poverty aesthetics. Keep that on the down low, but they can roll the profits into paying their parents or grandparents back a little bit of money, to keep things kosher for the next time they have to lean on that wealth that will inevitably fall to them anyways. Plus, usually they got a little extra to roll into a new truck down payment for their construction business, which also helps validate the Artisanal Poverty vibes, because it’s like they are an old country music song, except they are wealthy, and hardly rural in cultural practice, despite what their location may have ever suggested. Artisanal Poverty’s clout levels have risen immensely in recent years, due to the expansion of memes, which have co-opted skillets (aka “frying pans” to most of them), pop country music of yesteryear, and pre-suburban imagery of rural America. Most of them don’t realize pop country has never been truly rural, in many many decades, and they are worshipping a past vision of American life that never actually existed in the first place, not unlike Trump supporters, just from a contrarian position. Dolly Parton is the patron saint of Artisanal Poverty, which is no diss to Dolly, because I play my “Jolene” 45 at 33 rpm at least a couple times a month still, though to be honest the shit I go to more often than not is the first Trio record. Artisanal Poverty loves Dolly Parton, and Reba McIntire too, but never has shit to say about Emmylou Harris, ever. Very telling. But Dolly’s visual aesthetics plus progressive attitudes towards sexuality makes her the patron saint of Artisanal Poverty. So if you find yourself walking through a strange city, and you’re going through a rough-looking neighborhood, so your media-ingrained anxieties start to rise, and you’re slipping into hyper-awareness fight-or-flight mode, but all of a sudden you see a small bakery shop, for some weird reason, with Dolly Parton blasting respectfully loud inside, fear not friend, you’re not in an actual poor neighborhood. It’s just an Artisanal Poverty zone, and you’re safe (as long as you or your parents’ credit rating is good enough). Try the organic apple fritters, and lose yourself in trying to decipher all the colorful expensive tattoos’ super-clever meaning!

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