Commuting Through The Culture Gap

Posted on December 27, 2009


Driving to work Christmas Eve morning I get into traffic and find myself posterior to something that embodies a symbiosis of all things repellent in everyday living. I see in this lipstick-scarlet Dodge minivan all the jingoistic mantras of the last decade: the renaissance of ’80s morality echoed by magnetic Jesus Fish, the vague and obnoxious “Choose Life” license plate,  W ’00 and ’04 campaign stickers; words go buzz and buzzwords never fail to surface generation after generation.

The years never desist in their orders to obey.

2000s: Support Our Troops.

1990s: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

1980s: Just Say No.

Don’t Use.

“I learned it from watching you!”


“This Is Your Brain On Drugs.”


“What am I?”

“I don’t know… a burrito?”

“… I’m a JOINT!”

A Two Day Interim Passes and then

As I attempt to make my purchase at Discount Auto Parts in a timely manner, the clerks in attendance have their attention spans wasted on a Frankensteinian nightmare pastiche of every paleoconservative cliche you could pre-package and mass-produce through your own personal mindscape. As if wearing a cowboy hat in public in any post-Reconstruction era environment could be any more ostracizing, this particular unfortunate working class drone also sported a pair of grey, lifeless Crocs.

Crocs. The pinnacle of foot fashion for the 21st century.   The shoe so perfect for fat people and that they invented a butter to rub all over them. Or so I’ve read.

That car, that guy. I saw these things and I saw not merely a statement of their views and outlook, but in their presentations I was able to discern a common semiotic marker amongst this particular sect of the populace. This populace split into two bickering microcosms, the red-necked and the blue-balled. This schism is not novel to us. It’s merely surfacing in its magnitude after having festered gradually for decades.

A camp calls itself independent, then tries to split in a violent conflict, doesn’t, and a hundred and fifty years of culture war later we’ve got the Union descended into hemp-adorned 9/11 Truthers and the Rebels gone south to broader, brighter, beer-bellied plains of 9/12 Project cross-chatter.

Our nation indivisible? As unlikely as it is individual.