The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Reading for the Road: I Was Born in the Backseat of a Greyhound Bus

Posted on | August 9, 2019 | No Comments

No, not me personally — I was born at Georgia Baptist Hospital (since renamed Atlanta Medical Center) off Boulevard downtown — but the lyrics of an old Allman Brothers tune came to mind:

My father was a gambler down in Georgia.
He wound up on the wrong end of a gun.
And I was born in the backseat of a Greyhound bus,
Rollin’ down Highway 41.

You can’t get more Southern than that, folks. “Ramblin’ Man” was the 1973 tune that became the Allman Brothers’ first (and only) Top 10 single, and more or less created the Southern rock boom of the 1970s. The song could also be seen as part of the same “road music” as The Eagles’ 1972 hit, “Take It Easy,” co-written by Jackson Browne:

Well, I’m a-runnin’ down the road,
Tryin’ to loosen my load,
Got seven women on my mind,
Four that want to own me,
Two that want to stone me,
One says she’s a friend of mine.

The romantic idea of life on the road — carefree, escaping from the hassles and hangups of life — appeals to something essential to the American character, dating back to our pioneer roots, when restless young men would leave the coastal settlements seeking freedom on the frontier. Rock-and-roll bands often sang about the traveling life because, let’s face it, any kind of success in the music business requires touring around to play in gin joints and honky-tonks. But traveling for a living is certainly not as glamorous or romantic as some people think. After spending a few years crisscrossing the continent on the campaign trail, I understood something one of The Beatles once said about their tours — it’s just a car to the airport, then a plane, then a car from the airport to the hotel, and so on. The “glamour” of travel isn’t remotely glamorous when you’re traveling for business. When you’re covering a political campaign, there’s no time to go sightseeing or lounge around the pool. You eat the free breakfast at the hotel, head out to whatever events you’re covering, find someplace to file your story for a midnight deadline, and then maybe hit the hotel bar for a couple of cold beverages before you crash, then get up the next day and do it all again.

“Political correspondent” kind of sounds like a cool job, and I suppose there’s a certain amount of thrill value in that rush to deadline, but doing it night after night, week after week, it becomes a grind, and by the time the 2012 campaign was over, I’d had enough of it to last a lifetime.

Road music is on my mind tonight because as soon as I finish this, I’m packing up and heading down to Georgia for my Uncle Casper’s funeral. I’d originally planned to leave this afternoon, but then I looked at the distance, figured I could drive it in 12 hours and, doing the math, decided it would be OK to leave about 10 tonight. So here are a few things for you to digest during the overnight shift, starting with Ace’s takedown of virtue-signaling #NeverTrump types:

Every morning is a new chance on twitter to seize on the SJW narrative of the day and shriek in triumph, “See? We were right about Trump, ALL ALONG! Now you see! Now you see! Now you see! We’re not the dumb ones, we’re the smart ones! YOU’RE the dumb ones! See?! See?! See?!”

It’s no longer about politics for these people, and hasn’t been for a long time now. “Politics,” for them, is merely an excuse to parade around and flaunt their moral superiority, demonstrating (to themselves, if to no one else) how much better they are than the rest of us. Ace also deserves a hat-tip for calling my attention to something I’d really rather ignore, namely Rick Wilson’s recent appearance on a network watched mainly by people trapped in airport lounges:

Tonight [Thursday] smelled like an awful lot like — although FOX has an internal philosophy of “never apologize, never back down,” that somebody finally said, wait a minute, every one of these idiots with a manifesto, it could be right off of Tucker Carlson’s teleprompter…
Every one of these idiots who comes out and says America is “browning” and we’re being invaded and we’re losing a demographic war. It all sounds an awful lot like, I think, this terrible and terrifying pseudo-intellectual framework they’re trying to build around white nationalism by excusing it.
Saying, oh, Oxycontin is causing white nationalism and economic anxiety is causing white nationalism. No, white nationalism goes of its own. It is a poisonous movement in this country and we have to be honest about it. And Donald Trump has empowered it.
Let’s not forget Donald Trump retweeted people like “WhiteGenocide99” during the campaign. I hate having to recap the whole Trump arc from birtherism to Charlottesville to the Central Park Five, all these things. We know what this man’s character is.
And what Tucker was trying to do for months on end was to gussy it up a little bit and pretend this nationalism of his isn’t driven by an underpinning of racial anxiety and hatred. And I think it’s disappointing but understandable, the Murdoch’s are not going to walk away from billions of dollars of ad revenue that they’ve been able to generate through shows like Tucker and Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity and these other guys who go out every night and, you know, they’ll wink and nod to white nats out there from Tucker’s show.
Andrew Anglin and all these alt-right guys, they call Tucker “our guy.” They love the fact that he is vectoring the normies into their white nationalist movement in a way that is, I find particularly dangerous, and I think that Tucker has a responsibility to face up to that. I think he was a little nervous tonight. I think there was something in the air that didn’t quite sit with his normal confidence.

Wilson, who has turned his #NeverTrump stance into a career of sorts, hates Tucker Carlson because . . .? Oh, because of ratings. And money.

Tucker Carlson was Number One in the 8 p.m. ET time slot Thursday, with nearly 2.6 million viewers, while Rick Wilson appeared on the 11 p.m. hour of Don Lemon’s CNN show, with less than 700,000 viewers. And, apparently, the most important thing that CNN was “reporting” at that hour was — wait for it — what Tucker Carlson had said on his show three hours earlier. Do you think that maybe having a panel discussion about what’s on a competing network might not be a surefire formula for successful “news” programming? Or do you think maybe some CNN viewers (at least, the ones who aren’t trapped in an airport lounge) might decide to change channels and see for themselves what Tucker Carlson is saying, rather than watching CNN “analysts” talk about Tucker Carlson?

Meanwhile on Facebook, Juliette Akinyi Ochieng (who is not a “white nationalist,” except that everybody who votes Republican is now a “white nationalist,” according to CNN) has some really cogent thoughts about mass shootings and the “do something” gun-control reaction. She invokes Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, first published in 1987 and more relevant now than ever.

Well, that’s enough reading to keep you busy overnight. It’s past 10 now, and time for me to pack up and hit the road, but not before reminding you of the Five Most Important Words in the English Language:

HIT THE FREAKING TIP JAR!



 

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