Pedestrian Nation

I’ve noticed that the words “Diablo Cody” are worth some page points in the blogosphere lately, so I’m shamelessly dropping them into this post. I don’t know why her name is drawing traffic. I’ve turned a blind eye to her since the horrible news of her marriage and pregnancy. It’s not that I have anything against the greatest troll in screenwriting living happily as she desires, it’s that women with a bit of edge tend to lose that after they have kids. They either cash in their punk points and become just as aggressive mothers as they were artists (and make fraudulent claims about TSA agents), or they keep their rock n’ roll and become really, really lousy mothers. The fact that this woman will have a kid makes me believe that her detractors will view her as more human, and less a reflection of their miserable failed careers. Children may be the future but the latter is much funnier and more important.

After endless recommendations from friends whom I had respected, I finally watched an episode of “Glee” this weekend. It reminded me a lot of what Kurt Cobain wrote in his suicide note about his hatred of humanity and how easy it is to lose passion in a world full of people without empathy. Perhaps Cobain had seen the days of Glee coming and knew it was only a matter of time before the buffet-crowding imbeciles of Dumbfuckistan would listen to his music as it was spewed from the lips of some happy-go-lucky pre-op with happy feet. Could he see the face of the man in Kansas who would turn to his wife and say, “That girl can really sing, huh?” and then maybe download the song later on iTunes and refer to it as “that song from Glee”?

It is possible, had Cobain known the past, that he foresaw the day when the “Pedestrian Nation” would again rise to engulf entertainment with their Snuggie blankets and Rock Band game systems. Because it’s happened before.

In 1984, a television show premiered featuring a cast of adorable children who faced the daily tribulations of school life while performing in their music group, “Kidz, Inc.”. The show, Kids Incorporated, ran for approximately nine years. These children, whose troubles involved playground bullies and harboring secret crushes on classmates, covered popular songs like “All Fired Up” and “Livin on a Prayer”. The latter, a Bon Jovi classic about the struggles of the working class during the height of Reagonomics, was performed at the local malt shop known as The P*lace:

He’s not even pretending to play the right notes. But I digress. What was once a shred of truth about the nature of maintaining a blue collar relationship has been put through the pedestrian blender and minced into a sauce that everybody can enjoy, even the sonofabitch who owns the diner that Gina works all day at.

Let’s recap. The first lyrics of this song go “I get up in the evening, and I ain’t got nuthin’ to say, I come home in the morning feeling the same way.” We can presume that the person this song is about wakes in the evening due to a graveyard shift which causes them to sleep through the day, and that this person has become so worn and exhausted from labor that they have nothing left to say about it. But the little box of assorted creams singing this song clearly has no job, and based upon the show’s wholesome themes would never be allowed to come home from anywhere in the morning. And because she looks like a chatty cunt, we know that if she ever had “nothing” to say she’d probably be really sick. And there was a robot. What. The. Fuck?

Do you get the picture yet? Check out Cop Rock. This was an ABC crime drama that aired in 1990. It’s mix of music, choreography, and courtroom settings caused the show to become one of the greatest television failures of its time. In this clip, 400 years of racial oppression is whittled down to a man in his underwear being serenaded by a bunch of angry blacks who lynch him to a mighty bass drum.

Which brings us to Glee. If Cobain knew anything of the past he could imagine a time when, after Nirvana’s inevitable breakup, he would struggle for years to find the passion he once had for creating music. He would one day write a song that would be his legacy. It would speak to people. All kinds of people. And based upon people’s heartfelt connection to that work, some lazy bitch would snag it for an episode of Glee to get a cheap emotional pop. Like this!

The next time somebody from Hollywood wants to know why the country isn’t as progressive, why voters cling to shallow voices like Sarah Palin, why they spit on immigrants and could care less about Israel or the corruption in social classes, it’s because of them. It’s because anytime there’s a messenger the message is stolen and traded for a plate of cookies and a few Nielsen points. And it spreads, because that’s what happens with stupid things, they end up on a Facebook stream minutes after Olivia-Newton John appears. And then they look at you like you’re crazy when you turn to your friends and ask, “This is the fucking show everybody is talking about?”

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4 thoughts on “Pedestrian Nation

  1. I take extreme issue with your assertion that women can’t both be interesting women and decent mothers.

  2. “They either cash in their punk points and become just as aggressive mothers as they were artists (and make fraudulent claims about TSA agents), or they keep their rock n’ roll and become really, really lousy mothers. ”

    *she tries to figure out which one she is*

    also, i have never watched glee and you reminded me why.

  3. I had a friend who got so drunk at work he stripped buck naked and walked around the store in a diaper he made out of Dominos pizza bags. At the time it was just Eric being “Crazy Eric”. If he did that now he’d be Destiny’s husband acting a goddamn fool when he has a kid at home.

    Do our life changes make us less interesting, not only as artists but as people? Yes. Unless your idea of the perfect father is a guy stumbling around a kitchen with a pizza bag strapped to his nutsack.

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