I’m not sure where this is going, but I know I want to keep writing. Sorry about the title. If it’s any consolation, the others were even worse. Terrible puns, half of which didn’t make sense to anyone but me. Instead I decided to reference a semi-obscure Roman poet who I’ve only ever read in passing. As snap decisions go, I’ve seen a whole hell of a lot worse recently.
If you’re anything like me (you probably aren’t, but in some ways you are), you’ve had this song in your head for the last couple of weeks. It’s best known as the theme song to an MTV show that became a hit movie. I’m a little embarrassed to admit how much I enjoyed the show when it was on. I was in Boston in the time, 26 years old and somehow having lucked into a good college. I was also homesick for my California dirtbag past, and the show reminded me of some people I used to know who embodied a kind of nihilistic recklessness. One of those people I used to know was myself, who was in the process of becoming a different kind of Scott Creney–a Scott Creney who made sane, rational choices and tried to keep his internal & external violence to a minimum.
The thing that bothered me about the show’s theme song (fucking bullshit would have still been my choice of words back then) was that it only used the opening part. It faded out before anyone could hear the melody, the words, the sadness, the broken trashed-out beauty of The Minutemen’s Corona.
I hope the surviving Minutemen, and whoever D Boon’s inheritors might be, made a lot of money off this song’s use in the TV show/movie. No snark, either. If I owned a restaurant, or a bar, or a massage parlor, Mike Watt and George Hurley wouldn’t have to pay for a goddamn thing in it for the rest of their lives. I haven’t read much Ovid, but I’d bet the lyrics to Corona knock anything he wrote straight out of the aqueduct.
The people will survive
In their environment
The dirt, scarcity, and the emptiness of our South
The injustice of our greed
The practice we inherit
The dirt, scarcity and the emptiness of our South
I could see it in her eyes
There on the beach
I only had a Corona
Five cent deposit
I haven’t done much with this website for a while. Nearly two years ago, my legally-recognized love partner and I were approached by the University of Georgia Press to write a book about the B-52s. We said sure, why not, that sounds like fun. It has been all that and a lot more. Our son was four when we started working on the proposal, just entering Pre-K. He is now a five-year-old in kindergarten. Juggling a writing life with a domestic life has been challenging, to say the least, and the time constraints meant that this website, among many other projects, got ignored for a year-and-a-half. The manuscript was completed in November, and is currently winding its way through a type of peer-review process, after which, edits will be made, and the book should be out late summer or early fall.
Or it was. Like everything else in the world at the moment, its status is up in the air at the moment. And while I have no illusions about where this ranks compared to everything else going on right now, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated. This is the first time I’ve mentioned the book’s existence publicly. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that nothing’s guaranteed, and a signed contract, or even a small check in the mail, doesn’t guarantee anything. Though I have to say that when I thought about things that might derail the project, I hadn’t considered a global pandemic bringing the entire country to a standstill.
Just another failure of my imagination, I guess. The lesson, as always, is sometimes you can’t be cynical enough. Especially under this administration, especially at this time in the country. For anyone out there who’s asked me to write more “Trout Fistings,” I’m flattered that people remember that project, but I kind of see TFinA as a document of a very specific American moment. And aside from specific instances of chickens coming home to roost, or a bad situation getting even worse, I feel like anything I wrote in that vein would just be repeating myself. I don’t know if Luke O’Neil ever stumbled across the Trouts, but his Welcome To Hell World series feels like it shares a similar sensibility, and is a great document of our times.
As for Covid’s Metamorphoses (please send any ideas for a better title to firstname.lastname@example.org), I’ll be taking an hour off from my new role as homebound kindergarten teacher to write on here each day, as some kind of compendium of thoughts & opinions & feelings about this extraordinary moment.
I was in Boston, dreaming of the Minutemen, learning to string words together, when 9/11 happened. I wasn’t certain about a lot of things that day, but one thing I knew for damn sure was that all the fear & anxiety in the USA at that moment was going to turn into the deaths of a lot of innocent people with dark skin. I was also pretty sure there was going to be a serious clampdown on American freedoms in the name of, uh, American freedoms.
The Coronavirus is already more disruptive 9/11, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to end up being more transformative to our society–though whether we will change for the better (more justice, more compassion, a strengthening of community bonds) or for the worse (even greater suffering for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, an acceleration of this administration’s fascist dreams, outbreaks of civil unrest) remains to be seen.
I will say, though, that I’m tired of finding out that my cynicism was actually naive optimism.