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Oh, please allow me to cling
To this last vestige of self-defining superiority.
All other "-isms" now out of bounds,
Let me take some small measure of reassurance
In the snug, smug comfort of knowing
That where I am
Or where I am from
Or where I was "erudited"
Makes me better than you.

This is my version
Of the American dream.
Safely perched high in my coastal balcony,
I can peer over the guardrail
Down my nose upon the riff raff below
In "flyover country."
From here on the civilized periphery
I can readily make my escape
If too many of those developmentally challenged breeder sheep
Make things truly insufferable
For those of us who know better than they do
What is best for them.
Am I blue? Am I blue?
Mais bien sur! Better dead than red!

Thank you, "God(s)",
That I was not born a corncob-wiping Midwesterner,
Or worse yet - * SHUDDER! * - a Bible-thumping,
George Jones-listening Southerner,
(Southern California doesn’t count,)
And that I was educated
In the Northeast, the Holy Land of Academe.

Even in my hometown
I can drift off to sleep at night secure in the knowledge
That anybody who is anybody
Lives here on the south side of town,
And if those bus-riding, liquor store-robbing,
Welfare-cheating, scum-sucking trailer trash
Who live north
Steal a car and venture anywhere near
My gated community
Or gentrified-but-tolerant "urban pioneer" zone,
They’ll be pulled over.

I raise a glass
Of organic free-range green tea
In a salute to myself.
I love this country –
At least my own little corner of it.


------
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. - Groucho Marx




Comments

The following comments are for "My Name is Region: An American Anthem"
by LinnieRed

region ragin'
Cool! Good thing that's green tea you're toasting yourself with and not a "mudslide". I love your title pun.

( Posted by: drsoos [Member] On: February 6, 2005 )

Yay!
Take it from someone who was born and bred trailer-trash: this is a kickass collection of stereotypes filled with fun phrases and asides. I love the trip over "flyover country," the toast with tea, the mini-rant in the middle of the fourth stanza.

The best thing is that you used stereotypes about "the left" to construct a perspective from which you could mock stereotypes about "the right". That's cool.

Man, I was around when "Better dead than Red" had a different, if eerily similar, meaning. Thanks for making me feel old (sheesh)!

Actually, until I got to the end of the second stanza, I thought you were speaking from the perspective of "reds" flying over countries who don't have the good sense to be American! You should write a "red" version of this, too. That'd be fun.

I remember when I used to believe all of these things about "the left". It'd be nifty to gather stereotypes about the "the right" and use them to construct a parallel poem.

Excellent work!

( Posted by: Viper9 [Member] On: February 6, 2005 )

Linnie - I will print this
I will print this poem and leave it on the pillows of my two teen-age sons. I hope they come across it over the years when going through boxes of personal "artifacts."

This is a masterpiece!!!!

I have viewed life from the different perspectives that you "expose" here, over the years. You have really nailed some "stuff" down in this piece.

Funny, I never really viewed people with money as snobby or elitist, (I always thought it was more "individualized" than that) until I moved in their circles.

There are some wonderful, genuine people of status and/or wealth... but as groups, these cliques you have outlined can be accurately stereotyped based on their own words and actions, to some degree.

"... Steal a car and venture anywhere near
My gated community
Or gentrified-but-tolerant "urban pioneer" zone,
They’ll be pulled over."

I remember getting a call from a neighbor in New York because "there [was] a car in the neighborhood that clearly [didn't] belong [there]. It [had] big patches of rust on it and everything! Should [she] call the police? A few of the other neighbors [had] called [her] about it already. They [were]worried."

My father is the most honest, hardworking man I have ever known, and he drove more cars with rust than I can count.

When I was born (the third child of seven), we had a trailor.

Now, my parents have a nice house, here in Maine and a small Winter place in Florida. They are the same people they always were - as down to earth as humanly possible - yet, I see how they are recieved differently now by both the people with more and the people with less.

Just because they have, they are viewed by family members with less, as snobs (although their actions don't reflect that). Because they have more - materially - they receive more social invitations from people of cliques they didn't rub elbows with when we were kids.

I don't even think they see it. Everything is a seperate event, living their days from one to the next. But they are too close to the situation to see the dynamics in action. I've never mentioned it to them. I suppose it's a gift to be able to enjoy it all with that special innocent bliss.

Also, I have to agree with Viper - I knew what you meant when you said "red," but I too remember the use of the word "red" to mean something completely different. Maybe there are a lot of things going wrong in the world, but how nice not to live under the fears of former generations? We had a bomb shelter - : ) - My kids would be amused by that. I think I should tell them about it.

I really liked this poem. Please keep posting!

Felicia

( Posted by: feliciastone [Member] On: February 7, 2005 )

Re: "Region" - The Day LRed Went "Coastal Postal"
I've calmed down now, so I thought it was time to stop back in and say thanks to all of you for your enthusiastic comments. Glad y’all enjoyed this.

soosieQ, I’m truly honored to have my little title pun recognized by The Master. I bow to your Inner Punster. ("Mudslide!" Oh, man, that's funny! Thoroughly tasteless, just the way I like it!)

Vipe & Deme: I sincerely appreciate your compliments! So you want me to do the counterpoint to this, a la the quintessential "red-stater"? As much material as I could think of to pull together such a well-deserved "rebuttal," I think I may explain in a follow-up rant why I don't have the heart to do so. Besides, I find it more sporting - and just plain more fun - to poke holes in liberal pomposity from the inside.

To be fair, I WILL say that such snobbery is by no means limited to the coasts. Next time I'll describe an example from right here in the heartland that'll make your skin crawl.

Felicia/Paula (Which is it??? I'm so easily confused!) - It fascinates me that the rant reminded you of the effects of acquiring wealth. I can certainly see that, but I have also seen it in those who base their "superiority" simply on alliance with certain social or political groups, whatever their personal standard of living. I loved hearing your response to this "Life Association Test."

Lucie, when you described your snooty "consignment store lady," (and I use the term "lady" advisedly) my irony detector went off louder than the smoke alarm does every time I cook! Wait - don't tell me - she only sells "Certified Pre-Owned" designer clothing, doesn't she? And you have to apply for "membership" to shop there, right?

Oh, yeah - Demeter, I'm glad you found "free-range green tea" to be "priceless." However, you CAN actually buy it at the Crunchy Groovy Macrobiotic Food Co-op in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 50-lb. cruelty-free hemp bags. They'll charge you on a sliding scale based on your income and level of societal oppression.

I'm sorry. I can't help myself.

( Posted by: LinnieRed [Member] On: February 10, 2005 )

Linnie's "Anthem"
LinnieRed: I'm SoCal born. Educated in Northeast...Drink green tea...Enjoy satire..

Smiling,
B

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: March 29, 2005 )

Demeter & Bobby, Re: Red Rant
Oy veh! I DID promise a follow-up rant, didn't I? What a meshugana shikse I am! Such promises I make that I don't have time to keep! So many ideas, so little time! I need another vacation just to get all this writing done!

But enough kvetching! Lilia, your "Shalom, y'all!" makes me think of a friend of ours who works for an Orthodox synagogue in Miami and who loves to entertain his youth group with wonderful original country songs on his git-tar! (Wow! What would you get if you combined country with klezmer? I think that would be a blast! But I digress...as usual!) And, of course, it makes me think of Kinky Friedman, too.

So why not "riff/rant" on red-staters? In many ways, at least intellectually, I think I identify most closely with a lot of "blue-staters." I tend to land on the liberal side of many so-called "social" issues. (I think I may actually be turning into - *GASP!* - a libertarian!) Did some time in the activist trenches years ago, especially when I worked for Planned Parenthood.

Religiously, I'm a largely agnostic, semi-existentialist, not-currently-active Unitarian Universalist. I have an unnatural addiction to education: I've done my damnedest to get the most & the best education one could possibly get from Midwestern public institutions. So I actually have a fair amount in common with religiously & socially liberal academic/intellectual types, I suppose.

But, like you, I've become too close to "heartlanders" to be able to haul off with a really rousing slam-the-stereotype rant at their expense. I've lived all my life in either Ohio or Indiana. These are my folks. My grandfather had to drop out of high school to support the family because his own father was an alcoholic. Yet "Geep" was exceptionally well-read and had an amazing vocabulary. His sister, my great-aunt, probably attended only an Indiana "normal school" to become a teacher. Yet she eventually headed up the team of educators, writers, and artists who created the "Dick and Jane" series of reading textbooks in the '30s - the same books that later taught most of the Baby Boom generation to read. Her amazing career paid for my own college education.

Hell, the ladies at the convenience store around the corner don't charge me for my coffee refills if the manager isn't looking! How can I make fun of them?

Now, some locals I have no problem lampooning! The "side of town" stanza of this rant was actually inspired by a co-worker of mine. Despite having no more than a high school education (and, quite frankly, being ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray!), he fancies himself quite the Renaissance Man because he dresses well, buys art and antiques, and - most importantly - lives right next to the "old money" suburb of town. He also fancies himself the epitome of liberal tolerance, lecturing job applicants on how our organization allows no discrimination on any basis - and regularly pressuring subordinates to donate to his pet progressive causes. Yet he routinely, obliviously insults those of us who don't live on the "fashionable" side of town. He probably can't spell "hypocrisy" - he just embodies it!

I guess I just have a "thing" about people who affect a snooty attitude of superiority over others. I know it pisses me off when people treat me as if I'm beneath them, and I try hard never to treat others that way - at least not to their faces! ; ) And, of course, folks who seem to take themselves way too damn seriously give me an irresistible urge to administer the literary equivalent of a good "pants"-ing. (Who here wouldn't LOVE to "pants" Ward Churchill mid-lecture?)

Oh, and Bobby: I can't remember for certain, but I THINK it may have been some piece you posted or comment you made - probably while we were all in the throes of post-election-season ranting and comment-food-fighting - that turned out to be the straw that broke the camel's back - or, in this case, set off this rant in the first place. Damned if I can remember what it was, though. Anyway, I think I owe you thanks and props for whatever part you played in inspiring this! : ) And, by the way, I'm no expert, but I would have sworn you were supposed to SMOKE green tea!

Thanks again for remembering and appreciating this piece! I DO have many other ideas for more writing, so I hope time and life will cooperate in allowing me to follow through on them!

( Posted by: LinnieRed [Member] On: March 29, 2005 )

LinnieRed's seeds of green
Linnie: Could you be referring to my comments to "theconcordpoet?" (his second poem?)..where he called me a "Yankee" and I replied I was actually "SoCal born, had lived in FLA and GA, but thanked the Gods I had received education in Northeast?"..."Developmentally disabled" was in there too, after "concord" referred to himself as a "retard."..I think "green tea" may have come up in comments there, as well.(He told me to go drink some "coffee.").."Inspiration!"..Indeed!....This was during "write off" controversy, early Jan....

Smiling,
Bobby

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: March 29, 2005 )

Linnie's "inspiration"..
Linnie: The poem is "love you," by theconcordpoet.(Posted Jan 31, I believe) Comments are there. We had exchanges as well, at "The Wolf," the first post by "concord."

Green tea contains antioxidants, I believe..
Green Thai-stick, on other hand, contains THC.
They each serve in unique way to soothe soul.

I like the movie, "Reds."
Bobby

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: March 29, 2005 )

Bobby! That was it!
It's all coming back to me now! Those were the very comments - following all the months of bitter political bickering before the election, all the subsequent snarkiness after the election about red states & blue states & "Jesusland," plus goodness knows what else I may have been enduring in real life - that switched that silicone chip inside my head to overload! It was positively cathartic! How retarded of me to have forgotten! ; )

Thanks for being my Muse!

I like the movie "Hunt for Red October."

Linnie

( Posted by: LinnieRed [Member] On: March 29, 2005 )

Linnie's litany of levity...
Linnie: Amazing. It's all documented. Who'd a'thunkit?...

I like "Red China Blues," by Miles Davis

B

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: March 29, 2005 )

An American Anthem
My wife said to come check you out. She said this woman "Linnie" is one kick ass writer. I gotta tell ya, she was right! This is some good stuff! I like your hard edged wit. Fun stuff.

( Posted by: DieBaronHobskewward [Member] On: April 16, 2005 )





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