An Odd Little Incident in the Culture War

Is "Little Pink Houses" a Patriotic Anthem?

Kyle Smith of National Review thinks so. I half-agree. I don't think I've heard it more than half a dozen times, and always on a car radio. But I do remember the first time, because "Ain't that America" jumped out at me as a perfect expression of amused and unillusioned affection: "Yeah, it's a crazy country, but we love it anyway." I've used the phrase at least a few times here, apropos some bit of very American extravagant eccentricity. Here, make up your own mind:

And I love the old man saying to his old wife: "Hey darlin', I remember when you could stop a clock." I was just saying that to my gray-haired wife the other day. 

One of the category tags on this post comes from this song, which is not that great in itself but which I've always remembered for the title phrase and for "Somebody give me a cheeseburger":

And that's my Fourth of July post. Shine, perishing republic--and recall that that poem was written in the 1920s.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I like the line,
"But just like everything else those old crazy dreams
Kinda came and went"
Seems like lines an older man would have written. Mellencamp was young when this song was released.

"Seems like lines an older man would have written." I'm pretty sure I knew about that idea when I was young. Similarly, I don't think Cat Stevens was particularly old when he wrote "Father and Son." When I was young I was more sympathetic with the father than many of my generation would have been. I think they would have interpreted it as one of the "those old guys oppressing us again" songs. Like "She's Leaving Home" [gag!]. But I don't think it was.

It is more fittingly the feeling of an old man, but I had similar thoughts when I was still in my twenties. It just depends on how naturally depressed and pessimistic one is. :-)

I always thought, even at the time it appeared when I was in my early twenties, that "Father and Son" was a remarkably perceptive and sympathetic treatment of both sides. I definitely didn't think of it as dismissive of "those old guys."

And '"She's Leaving Home" [gag!]' -- I agree. :-) Lovely tune, but...I think, although I can't remember for sure, that even at the time I thought it was somewhat cruel toward the parents. And "meeting a man from the motor trade"--that's not going to end well. Maybe we should give McCartney credit for seeing the shabbiness of that.

It was, however, somewhat later that it dawned on me that the last line was actually more or less insane: "Fun is the one thing that money can't buy." You'd think a Beatle would know that money can buy great quantities of fun.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)