Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Poetry Corner: C.W. McCall

How do you deal with a redneck libertarian environmentalist?

Well, if you’re in a small town in Colorado, you elect him mayor.

Some of the readers of this blog may remember C.W. McCall as an icon of the 1970s CB radio craze, and his hits such as “Convoy” and “Wolf Creek Pass.” Those songs may have earned him a redneck image, but there’s more to him than that. He’s from Colorado, and much of his work reflects his love for the mountains there. “Glenwood Canyon,” for instance, is a powerful song protesting excessive and unfettered development of pristine areas.

He also has strong libertarian ideals. His resentment toward big government is partly hinted at in “Convoy,” but it’s much more evident in the song I present here.

His real name is different from his musical name, and under the non-musical name, he has been elected mayor of a small town in Colorado – I’m not sure exactly which, but it’s something like Ouray or Telluride. There are a lot of people up in the mountains who agree with his philosophy of preserving the environment while also reducing government interference in people’s lives.

In response to the latest terrorist threats, in which the would-be terrorists disguised explosives as common toiletries, air travelers are no longer going to be allowed deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hair-styling gel, moisturizing lotion, mouthwash, toothpaste, lipstick, lip balm, or just about any other cosmetic substance in carry-on luggage. Yeah, I can deal with a lot of restrictions, but in the dry cabin of an airplane, I can’t do without my lip balm. If I can’t have it, I can’t fly. The local TV news featured a woman who was forced to discard a $40 lipstick at the security checkpoint – I seldom use lipstick, and on the rare occasions I use it, it’s not $40, but that lady took a hefty financial hit.

The conventional wisdom has been to keep the most urgently needed toiletries in the carry-on bag, in case the airline loses the checked bags. Obviously, that’s going to have to change. Pat and I have always tried, as much as possible, to travel with nothing but carry-on luggage, both to save time and to reduce the chances of luggage being lost. Under the new rules, either we have to check a bag in order to take our toiletries with us, or we have to buy toiletries when we get to our destination.

Yeah, I can understand the national-security viewpoint that says what looks like a tube of toothpaste may actually be a tube of plastic explosive. But I wonder how much security is gained at what expense. And who pays if vital toiletries go astray? I have sensitive skin, and only a few, very rare, brands of sunscreen will protect me without causing an adverse skin reaction. I have always made sure to have my sunscreen in my carry-on luggage, in order that the airline will not lose it. Now, I will be forced to put the sunscreen in my checked luggage. I don’t like that idea at all. If the checked bag gets lost, I will have to stay out of the sun until I can find a replacement for the sunscreen, and I have already discovered that this sunscreen is hard to find even in places where I would expect it to be easy, such as South Padre Island.

But a bigger idea than just my having sunscreen when I need it is the question of when government “protections” interfere with personal freedom. Yeah, we want to be safe from terrorists, but how much freedom should we give up in order to get how much protection? Maybe I’m caught up on shallow, cosmetic issues, but it seems to me that forcing people to travel without toothpaste and deodorant is not a good idea.

There Won't Be No Country Music (There Won't Be No Rock 'N' Roll) (C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
Well, it's only gonna be about an hour, friend
'Til they dam your favorite river
So you can water-ski just one more reservior
And them supersonic ships are gonna take you
'Cross a sea of pavement
To one more faceless brickyard on the shore

Yeah, it's only gonna be about an hour or so
'Til they rip off all your mountains, boy
And that one last tired old eagle bites the sand
And all of that high-and-mighty scenery's
Gonna be leveled to the ground, boy
By a bunch a' them mindless strip mines on the land

[Chorus]
So listen well, my brothers
When you hear the night wind sigh
And you see the wild goose flying
Through the gray, polluted sky
There won't be no country music
There won't be no rock 'n' roll
'Cause when they take away our country
They'll take away our soul

Well, it's only gonna take about a minute or so
'Til the junkyards fell the prairies, boy
And them smokin' yellow grass fires start to burn
And the warnings on them beer cans
Gonna be buried in them landfills
No deposit, no sad songs, and no returns
Yeah, it's only gonna take about a minute or so
'Til the factories blot the sun out
You gonna have to turn your lights on just to see
And them lights are gonna be neon, sayin'
"Fly Our Jets To Paradise"
And the whole damn world is gonna be made of styrene

[Chorus]
So listen well, my brothers
When you hear the night wind sigh
And you see the wild goose flying
Through the gray, polluted sky
There won't be no country music
There won't be no rock 'n' roll
'Cause when they take away our country
They'll take away our soul

Yeah, it's only gonna be about a second, boy
'Til they take away all'a this country
And they'll tell you not to listen to this here song
And that far-off sound of freedom's
Gonna be an echo from the past
And the final tune is gonna be sad and long
And it's only gonna be about an eye-blink, boy
'Til they pull out the wool to blind us
So we just can't read all the messages on the wall
But the only words that matter
Oughta be scribbled all over them billboards
In big old black and bloody letters, ten feet tall
[Chorus]
THERE WON'T BE NO COUNTRY MUSIC
THERE WON'T BE NO ROCK 'N' ROLL
'CAUSE WHEN THEY TAKE AWAY OUR COUNTRY
THEY'LL TAKE AWAY OUR SOUL

There won't be no country music
There won't be no rock 'n' roll
'Cause when they take away our country
They'll take away our soul
There won't be no country music There won't be no rock 'n' roll 'Cause when they take away our country They'll take away our soul
There won't be no country music There won't be no rock 'n' roll 'Cause when they take away our country They'll take away our soul 'Cause when they take away our country They'll take away our soul

4 Comments:

Blogger Tillerman said...

Uh, yeah, that's a big 10-4 Pig-Pen.

Fri Aug 11, 07:02:00 AM MDT  
Blogger javajive said...

Yeah, no kidding about the lip balm!

www.chaptastic.com

Fri Aug 11, 12:07:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous Mom said...

Chapstick vs. My Life?

My Life wins every time. Had I been one of the thousands of passengers scheduled to fly to the US on 8/10/06, I would have given ANYTHING to know that my life had been spared. Dying with moisterized lips would have been far worse than surviving with dry lips. There is a trade off for everything. As one who was in Munich on 9/11/01, when we were ready to return to the US we heard no complaints about the strict rules and regulations that had suddently been put into place.

There is a trade off for everything, including my life.

Fri Aug 11, 08:22:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

Part of the whole notion of civilization has been accepting restrictions upon our behavior in exchange for the common good and security. So, as social creatures, we'll always be giving up some of our freedom. The question for Americans, as independent-minded individualists, has been just how much freedom we can stand to sacrifice in return for any promised blessings of civilization and government.

We'll no doubt not invoke "Live Free or Die" or "Don't Tread on Me" or "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or death" over a tube of lip balm or gentle-formula sunscreen. Yet vigilance remains our duty and we must examine critically whatever it is that the "gummint" thinks is good for us, hold our representatives accountable, and debate the value of any proposed tradeoffs between freedom and security.

Sat Aug 12, 10:50:00 AM MDT  

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