David Byrne’s brave stance against contemporary art, and how it has become “inoffensive tchotchkes for billionaires and the museums they fund.” would be a whole lot braver if David Byrne himself weren’t rich—”the galleries cater to the wealthy…the rest of us are allowed a voyeuristic view of the merchandise and the attendant swirl of activity in the palace”—and pretending he’s not, and also if he wasn’t once in a long-term relationship with a woman who once sold a photograph for nearly four million dollars.
You remember The Old Dogs, right? Of course you don’t—you are not a senior citizen. Let me explain: there was, in the late 80s, a country music supergroup called The Highwaymen, which consisted of a sort of Mount Rushmore of country: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and, uh, Kris Kristofferson for some reason. Anyhow, they were fairly popular. You don’t remember them either. It’s okay.
Anyhow, about a decade later, there came The Old Dogs, who were sort of a K-Mart version of The Highwaymen, consisting of a handful of B-list country singers, guys who’d had hits and been popular, but were nowhere near the level of their predecessors: Mel Tillis, Bobby Bare, Jerry Reed, and our old pal Waylon Jennings.
That’s really all I know about The Old Dogs. I remember seeing TV ads at my grandparents’ house when I was a teenager for what I think was some kind of concert video. The internet doesn’t have it, and my grandmother’s vast VHS collection of stuff she taped off TNN is long gone, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.
Anyhow, here is the first of a five-part interview with the collective, moderated by Jimmy Dean, a guy whose country music bona fides are fairly insubstantial: he had one massive hit, 1961’s "Big Bad John", but is best known today for being a wealthy sausage magnate.
In the video, Jimmy is dressed like JR from Dallas. Everyone else is in various stages of Old Guy Comfort Wear. Waylon refuses to take his Dale Earnhardt sunglasses off, and I’m not sure if he looks sort of cool or not. Probably not.
I have not watched even all of this first video, much less the other four parts, but I highly recommend your watching it anyway. I’m sure it’s wonderful.
How long, I wondered, as I first sat down to watch this video, will it be before someone mentions Viagra?
It’s less than three minutes in. Jimmy Dean brings it up—har har—and then gives us this little pearl, when asked if it works: “It works so well that sometimes I don’t have enough skin left to close my eyes.”
What is there to say, really? How exactly to comment on…the absolute lunacy of this image? Like, what more dignified way to communicate the unspeakable immensity of God’s salvation than by using a picture of Tweety Bird? It sounds like something a genuinely crazy person would say: imagine a Wesley Willis-type of person approaching you on the street and telling you “I know Tweety Bird’s goin’ to Heaven because he’s literally drenched in the Blood of Jesus Christ.”
Anyway: I sent the picture to my buddy Aaron, who responded with this:
And I think about it every couple of hours, and have to stop myself from laughing out loud like one of those loonies I mentioned earlier.
Boy…do I wanna jump on this thing? It is probably wise not to but here goes: while I think it might be going just a little bit overboard to toss the word “rape” into things, this essay, which I’m sure will soon be burning up the blogosphere, about that shitty-ass Sun Kil Moon song sums up exactly why it’s so terrible. Maybe the only thing Meredith Graves misses is the fact that the song, which I’m guessing it supposed to be a joke, isn’t funny at all. At least not on purpose: the guy from Red House Painters calling The War On Drugs “the whitest band [he’s] ever heard” is pretty rich.
(I tried to get a “pot calling the kettle black” joke in there somehow, but I just couldn’t get the exact handle on it. Sorry.)