Earlier this week as I was listening to the radio a classic from my youth came on, it was Charlie Daniels singing; Long Haired Country Boy. And as I did way back when, I started belting out the the lyrics. As I was singing the chorus for the second time;
But I ain't askin' nobody for nothin',I was gob-smacked with a revelation. Two pieces of information came together.
If I can't get it on my own.
You don't like the way I'm livin',
You just leave this long-haired country boy alone.
Two weeks ago I ran across an essay by Sara Robinson, Visions Editor at Alternet. Her essay was titled; How the Ayn Rand-loving right is like a bunch of teenage boys gone crazy. Her words started reverberating in my head;
All this Ayn Rand libertarian me-first-and-the-rest-of-you-go-to-hell stuff — the there’s-no-government-like-no-government theology that’s now being piously intoned as Holy Received Truth by everybody, male and female, in the GOP — is, very precisely, the kind of politics you’d come up with if you were a 16-year-old boy trying to explain away his dependence on Mom.That attitude is reflected in Daniel's lyrics including the lines;
Parents? I don’t have any parents. I raised myself, on roots and berries and small vermin I dug up in vacant lots. That lady hanging around, feeding me and nagging me and picking up my socks and driving me to practice? She’s just the nanny state. That bitch. I hate her.
Society? There’s no such thing as society. There’s only what I want right now, which is the ultimate good in my universe. And what I want right now is more time on the XBox, pizza money and the keys to the family car.
The future? If I pursue everything I want now, then the future will magically take care of its self. Dinner will appear. So will clean socks and the next-gen XBox.
Obligations? I am God’s gift to the world. I don’t owe it anything. In fact: it owes me — just for being so magnificent, cute and special. Even my mom thinks so.
A poor girl wants to marry, And a rich girl wants to flirt.It's a cynical "Fuck You! They're all the same!" life view that we've grown used to being told by the media is reality, when in actuality it is just the distorted perspective of the libertarian Tea Party right wing of the GOP that has come to dominate the Republican Party. Nothing the Democratic Party does even comes close, by light years.
A rich man goes to college,And a poor man goes to work.
A drunkard wants another drink of wine,And a politician wants a vote.
I don't want much of nothin' at all,But I will take another toke.
There's also the fantasy we keep hearing, about building something from nothing all by oneself. It's idealized in a PBS documentary called; Alone in the Wilderness. A story about a man who goes off into the Alaskan Wilderness and builds his cabin with his bare hands and lives off the land all by himself for the next 30 years. Dick Proenneke worked for over 30 years doing various jobs that gave him the skills to survive for those 30 years in the Alaska wilderness, including a stint in the US Navy where he learned how to be a carpenter. Even before he built his own cabin, he borrowed the cabin of a friend until he completed his cabin to the point it was livable. He also had another friend, a bush pilot, fly in supplies he ordered from Sears ever so often. So much for not needing anyone. It's a myth, a fantasy. It doesn't reflect the reality that we're all dependent on one another.
As Sara Robinson points out it smells of contempt for government and women. Women who in their roles as mothers act as the government demanding that you clean up after yourself. Or mind your manners and quit bothering others. Or taking responsibility for your actions. All the things the GOP want to enact so you don't have to act like an adult, so you'll be "free" to do whatever the fuck you want to do, damn the consequences to anyone or the world.
She goes on;
How to Tell the Men From the BoysAmerica in general, conservatives specifically, have forgotten how to be adults. They either point with "horror" or snicker at the sexual escapades of others like teenagers snickering at their buddy who was caught having sex by the cops at the local "Lover's Lane" all the while secretly wishing they were there with their "Lover", whether it's a girl or a guy. The world looks on in disbelief at our immaturity. The problem they see is we're the biggest kid on the block, often irrational in our response to events around us. But they have to be careful, because we also have the biggest guns as well as more guns than anybody else, and we've shown a propensity to use them. We want everyone else to play by the rules, but demand that we're the exception.
Conservatives completely fetishize masculinity. They idolize sports heroes, warriors and the Manly Jesus of modern evangelicalism. They eagerly seek the trappings that will buttress their sense of maleness in their own minds — guns, big trucks, enough money and power to push other people around. The further right you go, the more exaggerated this focus on hypermasculinity becomes.
Psychiatrist Stephen Ducat explained this phenomenon at long length in his book, The Wimp Factor. Ducat’s research shows that right-wing men are so obsessed with the external trappings of maleness precisely because they’ve failed to develop the inner qualities and accept the obligations that are required of actual adult men. It’s all show, with nothing solid on the inside to back it up. And the more fragile their masculinity feels to them, the more exaggerated the outer display they put on is.
Given the insecurity that lies at the heart of this sad compensation, it’s especially ironic that they’ve got the whole country buffaloed into thinking this is appropriate adult behavior. We’ve ended up with a culture of maleness that emphasizes the objectification and degredation of women, a lack of male accountability for anything that happens in the culture and a definition of masculinity that’s all about empty shows of dubious might — like peacocks preening on parade.
For the record: This is a comic-book stereotype of manhood as it’s imagined by little boys. But it’s not the real deal — not even close.
Ms. Robinson again states it well;
A 50-year-old CEO who’s still whining because Big Bad Government is asking him to clean up his shit, look after his little brother and not act like a psychopath in public is flat-out suffering from arrested emotional and social development. He’s not a grown man, despite his thousands of employees and millions in salary. He’s still that teenager, hating on Mom because she dared to remind him that he’s still deeply dependent on the resources provided by his larger family. And as a mother, I’d invite other moms to join me in calling out this immaturity for what it is, wherever we see it.
So next time you're listening to the radio and Charlie Daniels comes on with Long Haired Country Boy just remember it's the teenage anthem for the libertarian conservatives who are trying their best to run the country as tho' we let the 16 year old boys make the rules. I will agree with Charlie about one thing tho', we should all sit back and take another toke.
On with the games!!
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