Monday, March 21, 2011
REDNECKS IN AMERICA
The M&M car won the Bristol race yesterday. It was a good run Kyle Busch made. He stayed up front most of the race and missed the multiple wrecks that happened behind him. Busch ran against Jimmy Johnson and Carl Edwards. The three of them raced all-out the last 30+ laps. It was a 500 lap race. It was a good race from start to finish. Not many wrecks, and they weren't bad, just inconveniences good for pit stops. I found the above picture at a website, taken after Kyle Busch had made a show of smoking his tires for the crowd, smoking them good, a major cloud of pollution. If anybody politically correct ever went to one of these races, he'd be in continuous shock. The stadium becomes a bowl that holds the exhaust and rubber molecules from the tires. You can see it like an upside down bowl, like the bowl of night, visible pollution that is a bit noxious to breathe. But that's part of it. Rebellion. By God, you wanna see some pollution, I'll show it to ya. The roar is pure rock and roll, maybe even louder than an Aerosmith concert.
Outdoor activities are cranking up, like the car races. Not that sitting in a big stadium is an activity. But walking to it from where you have to park and walking back to the pickup is a major activity. Good exercise. I have been to one of the races, the CocaCola 500 outside Charlotte. The experience sitting in one of those bowls is similar to a rock concert. The sound is so loud it is thrilling. On the tv now the announcers pause for a minute or so and let you turn the volume up to hear the sound of the track. That is thrilling too. Women don't think much of it, but the guys love it. The car races are about as redneck a thing as you're going to find on tv. I've been griping along the way about television paying no mind to the working people. One day last week I sat before Country Music Television, CMT, 4 hours. Saw 2 redneck weddings and one redneck family reuniting--a daughter in a big working class family had got a high opinion of herself, married UP, drove a Cadillac SUV and admitted openly she felt like she was better than them. She was sentenced to I think 4 days and nights camping with the whole family. By the end of the experience, she broke through her stuck-up shell and became one of them again.
The weddings were berserk. These were casual documentaries an hour long apiece, of the preparations for the wedding, one with a fleet of tractors, obviously let to CMT by Farmall, them all being brand new tractors, and nobody in the cast able to afford even one. For the advertising. Both the wedding films were hilarious. Everybody proud to be a redneck. I had no idea such as that was going on. I think of the reactions of middle class people concerning the documentary, The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, like the Whites are the exception out there all by themselves. They were rednecks and rednecks are everywhere. They are the working class people, the people who quit school or barely made it through and didn't go to college. Secretly, they're people without hope. They're not bad people. A lot of them go to prison, but in America you don't got to prison any more for being bad. You go to prison for trying to make a living by hook or by crook when you're shut out from a respectable job that pays a wage you can live on. The poor go to prison. Unless you're like Bernie Madoff and pist everybody off.
I like my redneck friends the same as my non-redneck friends, who happen to be college educated, as it's college that is the line where redneck stops. Of rednecks I've known, I haven't found but a few that are what you'd call dumb. Just because somebody couldn't afford circumstances to go to college doesn't say anything about their minds. I don't know anybody who hasn't been to college who couldn't make it if they grew up middle class wearing Harvard sweatshirts when they were 10. I was looking at results of archery competitions in SW Virginia on a website a little bit ago. There are an awful lot of names of people who did some really good shooting. I doubt any of them went to college. A quotation I found last week of Oscar Wilde: Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. Rednecks I know have a great deal of knowledge of that which cannot be taught.
This is where I've come to draw the line between the working class culture and middle class culture, where even gossip circles don't intersect, that the knowledge in the working class is that which cannot be taught. The middle class is characterized by knowledge that can be taught. I appreciate both ways of knowing. When I start to say I prefer one to the other, it comes to mind immediately that it is not so. I don't. It is two different ways of thinking. I think both ways. I appreciate both such that I see them halves of a whole. Rednecks are rough and rowdy because the work they do doesn't afford them a BMW sportscar and a Hummer for the old lady, unless they're dealing drugs on the side, or maybe I should say working on the side. Rednecks only get to work at country clubs. Sometimes the exception happens and it's Beverly Hillbillies redux. What I'm getting at is we're all just people born into every kind of circumstance there is from the slums around the Mexico City dump to the Houston Country Club. The whole rainbow of possibilities in between.
By this time in my life I'm seeing that somebody with a brilliant mind can be born into any social circumstance, the same as with a block of wood for a mind can be born to any circumstance. Whatever our social circumstance we came up in, it's up to us individually to determine the nature of our lives in whatever pool we're swimming in. Too many people who had nothing going for them have come along and made a productive life. Too many people have started out priveleged and let it all drift away. We get for ourselves what we want, even when we live in a slum. It's the inner part that lives our real lives among the people we live among, whoever they are. It doesn't matter if they're rich and decadent or work hard for very little. Who we are is the person inside who sees through our eyes, hears through the ears, thinks by our accumulated experience.
What good or ill comes to us will be the same as the good or ill we act out individually. Our lives are a singular experience in place and time. It's not about how comfortable is the ride, but how we feel about ourselves down in that little cell in the heart where we keep our true self safe from attacks from the outside. The only way to expand out of the tiny cell is to allow vulnerability. Tough decision. I'd just as soon hang on to not being too vulnerable. I've come to believe that to really be able to walk along one's spiritual path guided by the Master, we have to let ourselves be vulnerable sometimes, and that's not so easy for anybody. I remember when I was beginning to allow my vulnerabilities out of the box, there weren't any consequesnces. None of them got hurt. And I felt relaxed about my own soft spots. Eventually it comes to where it's no big deal at all. I'm not there yet and don't know that I know anybody who is. We're all wherever we are along our individual spiritual paths, even when we're not aware that we're on a path. Like in the old mountain hymn, some paths lead to destruction, and some to the pearly gates. I think the pearly gates is clarity within, our little self set free from the cell, free and out in the light above the trees. Free bird.