28 August 2005

Money for Floods

Richard Shindell is a storyteller whose medium is folk music. That distinguishes him from self-absorbed pseudofolkies like James Taγlor and Carlγ Simon who can't speak of anything beyond their respective failures in lustlove. Neither, however, does Shindell's work fall into the opposite abyss of preaching, along the lines of Phil Ochs.

OK, have all the neocons left yet? Good. In any event, the overplayed doom-mongering on the news reminded me of a song on Shindell's album Reunion Hill.

The President came
In a green helicopter
He and the Governor
Walked all around
My sister broke down
And he gave her a hug
And told her he’d do
Everything that he could
Everyone knows
Rivers will swell
But they always find money
They always find money
They always find
Money for floods

"Money for Floods" (1997).

This is not intended to take away from concern over the destruction about to hit the Gulf Coast; only to point out that such discrete events are not the only times or places that need attention.

I supposed I could take this off on a 5,000-word tangent on the social and psychological precursors of the chanson de geste and their relationship to the wasteland of modern "country" music (which, for whatever reason, has a lot more to do with pickup trucks and bars than with drawing a living from the land, which is another 5,000 word tangent). Today, however, I won't; that's why this is a footnote.