Monday, August 2, 2004

Rockin' In Dayton

Jerry Garcia is dead. Phish has broken up. The nation feels a palpable lack. Society, subliminally aware of an empty ecological niche, seeks to fill it almost without noticing it's doing so.
All the elements are lined up - a traveling show, featuring either an ancient artifact of the past or a simulacrum of that artifact, being followed and viewed by a bunch of out-of-touch, technology-shunning superstitious wanks.
Unable to find a long-haired pot addict willing to noodle on an electric guitar for 94 minutes at a stretch, the mysterious forces that settle these things settled on putting the Ten Commandments on tour.
Well, OK. Not THE Ten Commandments. If they found those, they'd be justified in putting that on tour, assuming they could stop the whole face-melting side effect conundrum or, barring that, get everyone to sign a waiver. No, these are Roy Moore's Ten Commandments, the giant stone memorial that resided in an Alabama courthouse until an unreasonably long and inexplicably controversial court fight got it, and the judge who championed it, kicked out of the courthouse for good.
Now, if you were kicking off a tour to promote an excessively religious, church-state merging, hick-loving, liberal-hating monument, where would you want your debut to be? Yes, Dayton Motherfucking Tennessee, also known as the Redneck Epicenter of the United States. Home of the Scopes Monkey Trial, home of the annual festival celebrating the conviction of an evolution teacher, home of the recent misguided attempt to ban homosexuals from the county, place where it took until 2002 to get them to stop teaching BIBLE CLASSES in the public high school. That's where Roy Moore's behemoth is starting its trip around the country.
It's almost as if, despite their backwards, science-despising, mud-wallowing yeehaw existence, the people of Dayton have developed a complex electronic monitoring system that tracks both the number and percentage of fibers of my being that I fucking hate them with. I can only assume an alarm went off a couple of weeks ago when the level dropped below, say, 41%, and so they made some arrangements, got some press, and proceeded to say and do stupid shit in front of reporters. They believe in a gentler time. They believe in a simpler time. But I know what time it really is.
"I think it was awful for them to make them move it from the courthouse. That is what our country is based on, is God and the Bible. Why we want to take God out I don't know. I think we are headed for big trouble when we take God out of schools and everything." - 70-year-old Jewell Sneed, who is secretly desperate for the country to turn back the clock to a time when "Jewell Sneed" was a perfectly respectable, even common, name.
The tour's opening went about as well as could be expected. They found an atheist (Larry Darby, head of the group that got the monument removed) posing for a picture next to the commandments, exposed him to the crowd as such, and the crowd then threatened to kill him. John Rocco, age 73, because Dayton, TN is apparently some kind of Twilight Zone-inspired mystical Brigadoon for ancient hick asswipes, shouted, "Why doesn't someone shoot him? He's not worth a damn".
Rocco also admitted to kneeing Darby in the back using the time-honored middle school "accident... on purpose" ploy, and confessed that he'd have shot Darby if he'd had his gun with him. Silly inbred fuck. The Seventh Commandment clearly states thou shalt carry thy shotgun at all times, lest ye be unable to defend the Kingdom of Heaven against varmints, liberals, and meddling kids.
Bob Lacy, who, at a spry 66, is Dayton's entire eighth-grade class, felt no remorse about potentially starting the world's slowest-moving lynch mob. "If he wants to lead an atheist group, people ought to know that. Let him wear that badge." After a quick check of City Hall, where they keep the atheist badges, they discovered that the dastardly atheists had failed to turn in the ones they'd checked out the LAST time Dayton became a hotbed of rabid church-state controversy.
This week, the City Council is expected to approve $12.60 for new badges, plus $8 in gas to send Jeb into town where there's a Kinko's. Another funding request, for four new AA batteries for the "How Much Does That City Boy Hate Us Ometer", should also pass unanimously.