May 10 2005

Smoked Salad and Hillbilly Music

Photo of salad died with lapsed Typepad account

Dinner last night was this (now unpictured) vulgar carry-out Chopped Cobb Salad from EZ’s, a garishly-decorated strip-mall burger joint filled with screaming kids. Their cobb salad is a decent box of morsels, in a junk-food sort of way, especially when washed down a glass of 2002 Ecole No. 41 cab and an order of onion rings (although if you’re doing carry-out, which I recommend, you have to eat these as quickly as possible in the car on the way home; their half-life of crispy goldenness lasts only about 6 minutes).

I’m a fan of any salad that can somehow mange to taste like it’s been smoked.

Anyway, I got outside the aforementioned while watching “American Experience”on the seriously leftist PBS. Last night’s feature was a documentary about early 20th century radical lesbian pinko singing group the Carter Family. Topics covered included how Maybelle Carter singlehandedly invented country & western guitar, and other anti-Bush propaganda.

After 40 minutes’ worth of pleasant, unpretentious Carter Family recordings, the documentary’s ending was a nasty jar. To illustrate the group’s lasting influence on American music, the documentarist showed recent footage of one of those we-are-the-world clusterfucks where 426 critically acclaimed solo artists join each other on the Austin City Limits stage for a feel-good singalong of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.” You know — everybody plays lead, everybody sings lead, everybody looks sincere, most people don’t know the words, etc. In this case, the alpha-lead was sung by one of those country music dudes in a black 10-gallon hat; I couldn’t tell you which dude he was. He was making “Circle” his own with a bunch of glitzy, uncalled-for melisma, instantly exposing himself as a mediocre Nashvillized hack. Particularly when juxtaposed with the no-frills hillbilly purity of a Sara Carter.

All the good people are dead.