Monday, July 05, 2010


Visiting down in the mid-Atlantic region, our holiday has already been soundtracked by nu-Patriot classics like "The Lady in Red," "I Think We're Alone Now" and "Born in the USA," added to the endless parading of Sousa marches. Almost all got repeated ad nauseum during the festivities on the Great Lawn in the capital. Darius Rucker and more brass bands made the eyes roll so far back in the head, the fireworks couldn't even be glimpsed.

What was fascinating though was when headliner Reba McEntire strutted out and performed Bobbie Gentry's "Fancy," deftly inserting it into the Americana lexicon. The family frowned as I sung all the words to this obscure country song, fortifying those Texas stereotypes. Greil Marcus rightly sussed Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe" as a devastating snapshot of our country in The Old, Weird America yet the less well-known "Fancy" resonates at this moment of our consumer culture:
We didn't have money for food or rent
to say the least we was hard-pressed
when Momma spent every last penny we had
to buy me a dancin' dress. 
Stuck in my head now, so I'll be humming it while wiping hot dog mustard off my mouth with an American flag napkin.