Have you ever had a song come on the radio and it annoys the heck out of you every time you hear it? That’s the way I feel about That Summer sung by Garth Brooks. It tells the story of a teenage virgin who takes a summer job working on a widow’s farm. And you know what comes next. She needed to “feel the thunder” and therefore she teaches him all about sex, “her hands of leather, turning to velvet in a touch.” Yadda, yadda, yadda. The summer ends, he goes on his way but years later he can’t go by a wheat field without thinking about “that summer” and all the things the widow lady taught him. Bring on the violins and gag me with a spoon! First of all, if the sexes were reversed and it was a teenage girl being groomed as a sex toy for an older widower, we’d all want to prosecute the widower for a crime in 38 or 40 states. Two: I don’t like the stereotyping of widows as predatory creatures. Don’t we have enough baggage to carry around, given the fact that half the married women probably think we widows are after their man now that we don’t have one of our own? Do we need to have them start worrying about their sons as well?
If people are going to write songs about widows and widowers I much prefer Dave Matthews’ One More Day. It’s a song about a drunk in a bar bemoaning the fact that he’ll never get another day with his beloved Grace. This widower is singing, “You think of things impossible and the sun refuses to shine, I woke with you beside me, your cold hand lay in mine. Excuse me please, one more drink. Could you make it strong cause I don’t need to think.” Ya, I guess I’m a sucker for a drunk who proclaims he no longer needs his heart and eyes because he can never again be with his lovely Grace. Can you believe it, my life is so mundane at the moment that I’m writing about country western songs?
And that’s not what I want to do. All week long I’ve been trying to find a topic to write about that borders on deep and profound. No such luck, I’m all out of deep thoughts and pretty words. Do you ever get in one of these moods where you think you should be able to dig deeper and find a grain of Universal Truth to expound on? My restless writing mood, I suspect, was initiated by the coming CNN ten part series on the 1960s, “the decade that changed everything” as their promos say. My life, like that of the nations was in such turmoil back then. I want to see the series but I’m not sure I really want to take all my sixties related skeletons out of the closet for closer examination. But on a broader spectrum, it will be good for younger people who didn’t live through the sixties and who think the world is falling apart now, to see it. We’ve lived through tough time before, stressful times and more good came out of the turbulence than bad. It just takes a long-range view to put things in prospective.
Take, for example, the people who point to the outrage over NBA owner Donald Sterling and rancher Clive Bundy’s racial slurs and say that’s a sign that "the liberal's political correctness agenda” has gone too far and, they say, that is threatening free speech. They also say racism is at an all-time high. I say it's just the opposite i.e. more and more people, now, have the freedom to speak up when they are offended by the likes of Sterling and Bundy and that’s evidence that racism in America is on the decline, not on the rise. It's like we've lanced a boil and all the poison is splitting out. When I was younger people would say something racist and no one had the guts to call that person out for those attitudes and that silence bred more of the same and gave permission for people to treat others of color with disrespect. Public scorn does not equate to being punished by the government, so therefore there it is no infringement on free speech. The Sterling's and Bundy's of the world are still free to say what they want BUT we should never forget that everyone else in America is equally free to condemn or agree with them. It hasn’t always been that way in my life time. Thank you, Archie Bunker's son-in-law for showing us the way to stand up to old-school racial slurs. It's been a long road we've all been on since those days.
Well, now I’ve done it. I’ve broken my rule about writing about politics or controversial topics in my blog. Unfortunately---or fortunately depending on your point of view---I’ll probably be tempted to do it a few more times as the CNN series on the sixties unfolds. I am a political junkie in another facet of my being, a facet I rarely show here or to family and friends. ©