Thoughts On The Liberal Redneck

Many of you have seen the Liberal Redneck, Trae Crowder, on video either through Facebook or other means funded by the New York Daily News.  He’s now their “Redneck in Chief,” and managed to get himself to a national platform where he can spread a message and get paid doing what he loves.  I’m happy for Trae, but just remember he’s spreading the message of those he’s paid to speak for.

There’s nothing wrong with that.  He’s a comedian.  Part of a stand-up comic’s success is reaching a national audience.  Trae managed to find that when it came to politics through his “Liberal Redneck” videos. He’s done well with them; many go viral and he’s gotten a position with the New York Daily News.  I don’t think all his videos represent the whole Trae Crowder, but that’s cool too. You can be an ad man and not represent the whole truth of being you.

When you see the “Liberal Redneck,” just remember he’s being paid to support a certain narrative that works for him.  That’s all.  He’s funny, and he deserves to be paid, but if he was the “Conservative Redneck” he wouldn’t get a day’s worth of air play because of his positions.  If he came out more nuanced than an extreme Liberal’s position to do nothing less than “shatter” Southern stereotypes he’d not have the attention he does now.

Trae, I’m honestly happy for your success if you’re reading this.  You deserve it.  You busted your ass with Drew Morgan, Corey Forrester, and D.J. Lewis, and you came out on top.  Bravo to you.  There’s nothing wrong with taking orders from the NY Daily News and supporting that if it feeds your family and you get national attention.

However, it does behoove your national audience to know that you’re not a NY Daily News slave.  Your political views are more than what you’re paid to say.  You have a better mind for politics, the world, and life in general than what the NY Daily News allows you to vent as their “redneck in chief” and if you really aired some of your views then they’d fire you in a heartbeat.  I won’t discuss that, because you need the money and you deserve the fame you’re getting.

But let’s be honest.  The News is telling you to say certain things, and you do it because it gives you a great paycheck.  That’s fine.  Just admit that you have more nuanced stances than what the NY Daily News tells you to say and we’re good.  We’re good right now, as I write this.  I just want the world to know the “Liberal Redneck” is a bit more grounded in reality than the views he puts out on the world’s stage.

Let’s not forget the accent either.  Your videos are filled with the southern drawl most people expect of the barefoot hillbilly type.  Yet when you do club shows it’s completely different.  You actually sound like you’re a decent human being.  Why do you let the NY Daily News make you their token “hillbilly” from the South?  I would imagine the money, but I’m often wrong.

In any case, Trae Crowder, the “Liberal Redneck,” is a credit to the Scruffy City regardless of his political leanings. If you’re a comedy club owner you’re a fool to not book him.  If you want him to speak you’re a fool to not contact him.  Just remember when you do it’s all about the message Trae Crowder’s been told to spread so he can keep making money.

And there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.

Rant in D Minor.

This will have no substantive value.  It is a rant for your own pleasure and entertainment.  Right now I’m getting this shit off my chest, and I’ll use my platform to deal with it.  I call it “Adventures in Parenting With Unrepentant Fuckwits,” or “What Happens When You Make Me Go Full Gorilla At 6 PM For Stupid Shit.”

As an homage to Bill Hicks, let’s shorten it to “Rant in D Minor.”*

One reason I relish being a solo practitioner and my own boss is because I love my kids and want to be there for them when a crisis situation occurs. About 10:15 this morning one of those crises moments happened.  My wife rings my cell phone.  It’s her vet tech, and she puts me on speaker.

“Your son is running a 101.9 degree fever.  You need to go get him.”

Cursing like crazy at this point, I hop in the car and dash off to the day care.  They’ve got rules there, rules I can’t complain about for protection of children against contagious diseases, and one of them is if your kid has a fever running over 100 degrees then they have to be without fever for 24 hours, pain medication and fever reducer free.  I’m just glad it’s the son though, and not both the kids, because if it’s both then I’m getting nothing done besides telling my daughter it’s not okay to lick the television.

We get back to the house and I give my son some Motrin.  His fever goes down immediately, and I get a strong suspicion he’s teething again.  Every single time he’s cut a tooth he gets a fever, and this was no different in my head.  He ate well, took a good nap, and I got some work done until he got up (Including three, yes three posts at Fault Lines you’ll be able to read tomorrow).

When my son awakens he’s not in the best of moods, but it’s to be expected.  Temperature’s still low, though.  By dinner he’s lethargic, not willing to eat, his fever’s gone back up, and I’m starting to get worried.  My wife, who is home by this point, confirms our son is teething.  It’s not just any teething, it’s a molar, which means it’s painful as all hell for him.  Fortunately, there’s a remedy for such things, but I have to go get it from a place called “Bohemian Baby.”  It’s an all natural teething oil called “Punkin’ Butt,” and the stuff works wonders.  My wife says she can either go or I can go get it.  I opt for the latter decision because of a couple reasons.

The first is that when it gets to a certain time of night and my kids are tired, they turn into the pint sized equivalents of drunks at the bar on last call.  My daughter is the one white girl who doesn’t want to leave and is protesting loudly because she’s just downed her twelfth shot of Jager and “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”  My son is the bro who’s ready to fight anyone over anything, and protesting loudly because he just lost his last game of Beer Pong or Flip Cup.  Reason two is that “Bohemian Baby” is about two miles away,  I just ordered Chinese food, and I figure I can get the oil, be back in time for the kids to go to bed, and nothing go wrong.

I make it to “Bohemian Baby” and there’s a sign on the door that they’ve moved locations.  However there’s people inside this store, and it looks stocked.  A lady opens the door and asks what’s going on.  I ask if I can purchase a container of “Punkin Butt.”  The lady, who is lit brighter than a Christmas tree and smells as though she’s just stepped out of a Colorado dispensary, says “We have that, but like, we can’t sell it to you here.”

“Why?”

“Because this is like our online distribution store now, you know?  You want to buy it in town, you have to go to the West Town Mall location.  That’s our…what do you call it…um…yeah man…”physical location.”

I politely explain my situation and ask if I can make an “online purchase” somehow at this store.  She declines, and tells me the place to go is “Next to Sears, so you don’t have to worry about going in the whole mall, man.  I mean that’s a good thing, right?  At least I wouldn’t go near one of those mass commercialism centers.”

I thank the young lady, and turn to leave.  She says “Wait.  You’re going to want to go to the…wait…is it the first Sears entrance or the second Sears entrance?  I’m….wait….I think it’s the first Sears entrance.”  None of this exchange meant a damn thing.  There’s no telling what this stoner meant by “first” or “second” entrance, and there’s no telling even if she knows what planet she’s on.  I thank her and drive to Sears.

When I get to the entrance of Sears that leads into the mall proper, “Bohemian Baby” is nowhere to be found.  I ask at least three store owners if they’ve heard of “Bohemian Baby” and where the location is.  None of them know where this store is, if it’s open, or what it’s about.  If you know me, by this point you know it’s an exercise in restraint for me to continue keeping my cool.

One store owner, the guy running a place called “Wireless Toyz,” points to a mall cop and says “Hey man!  The Mall Dick will know where the place is!”  Thankful for finally sensing a useful function of a Paul Blart, I ask the guy where Bohemian Baby is located and if he can point me in their direction.

They’re on the other side of the fucking mall, and closing in twenty minutes.

I used to train Parkour regularly.  I do cardio regularly as a morning routine, if it’s walks, runs, cycling, or otherwise.  I can tell you with absolute certainty the next few moments consisted of me running for Bohemian Baby faster and more nimbly than David Belle’s iconic chase scene from District B-13.

I make it to the store as they’re slamming their gates shut.  My foot lands in the door of the store.

“I’m sorry sir, we’re closing.”

“No, you’re making one more sale tonight.”

I’ve been told in moments of sheer anger I’ve developed a certain penchant for a “thousand yard stare.”  It worked tonight, as the young lady planning on shutting down her shop asked what I desired most.

“One container Punkin’ Butt, please.”

“Will that be all?”

“Yes.”

“Are you a member of our rewar…”

“No.”

“Do you…”

“No.”

I hand her my card, sign off on the dotted line, and leave.  My kids are in bed asleep now, and we got our Chinese Food this evening and wine.

If I ever see that fuckwit from the “online distribution center” again, even if it’s in my office on an emergency matter, right now I’ll refer her happy ass out the door to someone else.

These are the things you do when you’re a dad.  You deal with the fuckwits of the world, and you do your best to protect your kids from them.  Soon I’ll write a post about the three kinds of Dads I’ve encountered in family law.  I just hope I do my father justice by setting an example for my kids.

*D is for Dad, in case you were still puzzled.

Laughs For Jasmine *UPDATE X4

I’m proud to announce “Laughs for Jasmine,” a fundraising drive co-sponsored by “That Midday Show,” a radio show on 103.9 FM in Knoxville,  and Mediation is Dead.  We’re raising money until the end of April for Jasmine Wade, a two year old girl with stage four brain cancer.

Jasmine’s story is rough.  She’s two and has brain cancer.  Both her parents have lost their jobs as they travel to Memphis and St. Jude’s hospital for Jasmine’s cancer treatments.  I’ve verified all this through Jasmine’s aunt and have taken the time to contact Jasmine’s parents.  I’ll be going to meet the family soon.

In the meantime, I’m going to ask those of you who have enjoyed “That Midday Show” in Knoxville for any reason to go to the Patreon for That Midday Show and even donate a dollar. Likewise, if you’ve enjoyed my work here at MiD or at Fault Lines, please just go donate even a buck.  Every bit will help, but we’re going to make this good for anyone who decides to donate, because this is a kid with brain cancer and their family can use the help.

If you donate $1, we will give you and your business/organization a shout out on the air.

If you donate $5, we will give you the $1 reward and we’ll discuss any topic you want on the show.  Bear in mind if you go this route we’re on broadcast radio and subject to FCC regulations, so keep it in the fairway.

If you donate $10, we’re going to give you the above rewards, plus we’re going to play any song we can for you as part of the show.  Even though it’s a comedy/talk show, we still play music.  Keep the FCC regulations in mind when you select this reward.

If you donate $20, you get all the above rewards plus you get to state your case, on air, to settle the debate over whether a hot dog is a sandwich.

If you donate $40, you get all of the above plus a special crafted video from Puppet Pro Wrestling Superstar Foam Cold Steve Allsewn.  Foam Cold will do shout outs, roasts, anything you want on his YouTube channel. Thanks to comedian Lance Adams for negotiating this with Foam Cold!  OH HELL YEAH!!!

Donate $100, and we’ll give you all the above plus a rare “That Midday Show” shirt in the size of your choice, signed by as many comedians and talents we’ve had on the show as possible.

We even have a special reward as of today’s broadcast.  If you donate $100 and specify by mentioning the hash tag #Laughs4Jasmine on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll be able to get comedian Jeff Danger to come perform at your birthday party.  This offer is one time only, first come, first serve.  Just twit @thatmiddayshow on Twitter with the hashtag #Laughs4Jasmine and tell us you want Jeff Danger when you pay your $100 and you’ll inject a little Danger into your next birthday party.

Another release, as listed in the updates.  As a “one time only” deal, if you donate $50 and specify by twitting @thatmiddayshow with the hashtag #Laughs4Jasmine you can receive a complete collection of author Michael David Anderson‘s works.

This post will be updated as I get more rewards from people.  But there’s nothing stopping you from helping Jasmine and her family in their time of need.  If you’d like to donate but don’t have the money to do that, you can do us a solid by sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter with the hash tag  #Laughs4Jasmine.  If you want to donate a special reward, email me and we will work it out.  This drive is running through April, and will end on April 30, 2016, when we will donate all the proceeds to Jasmine and her family.

We’re doing this because the saying “Laughter is the best medicine” has some merit.  Comedy can heal your soul when you’re really stressed or upset about an issue.  Right now the collective Scruffy City Comedy Community has the ability to do some real healing by giving to this cause, and we’re going to make it count.

Let’s all share some laughs for Jasmine Wade and her family.

UPDATE: We are in talks with The Longbranch Saloon for a benefit on April 26th for Jasmine Wade.  Details to follow.

UPDATE x2: If you’re going to the Einstein Simplified show at the Blue Slip Winery in Knoxville tonight (April 12), there’s going to be a tip jar out for Jasmine.  Show starts at 8:15.  If you’re not going, why not?

UPDATE x3: Added to the “one time only” donations category is a collection of works from author Michael David Anderson.  Donate $50 and you will receive signed copies of his books “Teddy” and “Wake,” copies of his poetry collections, the Kindle releases, and a copy of his upcoming Kindle Single, “Desynchrony: A Sullivan Doyle Story” when it releases.  This is an incredible value and I’d pay $100 for it, but Michael Anderson wants to make sure you donate to Laughs for Jasmine with this prize, so he’s set it at $50.

UPDATEx4: Spoken with comedian Lance Adams and he’s now offered the following, which is going in the rewards.  You donate $40, you get all the rewards below that total, plus you get a special recorded message from the world’s most prominent Puppet Professional Wrestling Superstar, Foam Cold Steve Allsewn.  Foam Cold will do shout outs, roasts, whatever you want.  It’s up to you.  Just let us know when you twit @thatmiddayshow with #Laughs4Jasmine on your donation that you want Foam Cold.

My Letter To Bill Hicks, Revisited

Back in 2013, I wrote the following letter to a dead comedian named Bill Hicks. It went viral, to the point where this comedian’s brother, Steve reached out to me and asked if I would send his mother Mary a written copy of the letter.

I was so honored by this request that I printed a copy out on my firm’s letterhead and sent it to Mary.  I got a handwritten response from her, and a few mementos that will be passed on to my kids one day.

I revisited the letter this morning.  One aspect that’s always amazed me about Bill Hicks is he stands out in a select field including guys like George Carlin and Lenny Bruce, who will be forever relevant because of their contributions to history and the way they presented truth.  Bill was a guy whose words can resonate across generations.

The text of the below letter still remains as relevant today as it did in 2013.

Dear Bill:

During my undergrad years, a friend exposed me to “Rant in E Minor.” I was immediately hooked, right from the start where you gleefully described the premise behind “Let’s Hunt and Kill Billy Ray Cyrus” all the way to the end of the album. I immediately bought all of your CDs that I could find at the time and began making my way through your catalog.

I’d never heard anything like what you had to say, and it resonated me. Years after you left this planet, your words still influence a generation of individuals who feel disenfranchised and as if they have no hope. I’m no comedian, Bill. I don’t have any real understanding of what makes humor work, but I can tell you this: You were a prophet.

Prophets don’t need to tell people omens of the future. Prophesy is simply a means of speaking the truth. And you spoke it with the fervor of a man with nothing to lose and a mission to tell the world what was going on.

The funny thing is this, Bill: You were right. You were right about so many things, and you don’t even get a chance now to see how scary right you were about some of your predictions. To illustrate, I’m offering up a couple of examples from your finer works:

“I’ll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. “I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.” “I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.” “Hey, wait a minute, there’s one guy holding out both puppets!” “Shut up! Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control. Here’s Love Connection. Watch this and get fat and stupid. By the way, keep drinking beer, you fucking morons.”—Rant in E Minor (1997)

You recorded that in 1992. Today, we live in a world where bipartisan bickering is the norm. Our congress is in a hopeless state of gridlock, fueled by hatred of either side’s beliefs. And nobody seems to notice there’s at least one man—if not more—pulling the strings of everybody who claims to pay attention to modern politics. They’re not watching “Love Connection” though—it’s “The Bachelor,” “Jersey Shore,” and “Hell’s Kitchen.” And the beer…we have more beer than you can imagine.

But the government is in control. Very much so. In fact, now we’re all being watched by the NSA. Our freedoms are slowly being taken from us by a police state that tells us we need to have less rights for the purposes of “national security.” Now the government just wiretaps your phone without a warrant or other court documents. If you choose to stay silent, you are implicitly guilty. These are things COURTS HAVE ALLOWED!!!

You were right, Bill. But it doesn’t stop there.

Go back to bed, America. Your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control again. Here. Here’s American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up. Go back to bed, America. Here is American Gladiators. Here is 56 channels of it! Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go, America! You are free to do as we tell you! You are free to do what we tell you!”—Revelations (1993)

Did you know that American Gladiators is gone now, Bill? Now we have shows like “Wipeout” and “Oh, Sit!” where people get to laugh at the expense of others as they bumble, stumble, and flop their way through obstacle courses for the glory of acting stupid on television. The other part is the same, though. We live in a world where the government continues to tell us they’re in control, they’ve got it all figured out, and they are the ones we should trust. Meanwhile, our country seems to keep sliding downhill in education, prosperity, and happiness. People are more sick than ever. But the Government’s got it all figured out…that much they keep telling us. And we’re free, all right. Just like you thought. We’re free to do what they tell us.

“I have this feeling man, ‘cause you know, it’s just a handful of people who run everything, you know … that’s true, it’s provable. It’s not … I’m not a fucking conspiracy nut, it’s provable. A handful, a very small elite, run and own these corporations, which include the mainstream media. I have this feeling that whoever is elected president, like Clinton was, no matter what you promise on the campaign trail – blah, blah, blah – when you win, you go into this smoke-filled room with the twelve industrialist capitalist scum-fucks who got you in there. And you’re in this smoky room, and this little film screen comes down … and a big guy with a cigar goes, “Roll the film.” And it’s a shot of the Kennedy assassination from an angle you’ve never seen before … that looks suspiciously like it’s from the grassy knoll. And then the screen goes up and the lights come up, and they go to the new president, “Any questions?” “Er, just what my agenda is.” “First we bomb Baghdad.” “You got it …”—Rant In E Minor

This ended up being true as well, Bill. Not just corporations—MEGACorporations, billionaire industrialists, people with solipsistic worldviews—they run the world, and they control the people who run our country. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kennedy assassination footage got played every time someone else got elected President, just like you said. Just to keep the populace in line.

I’m beginning to see why you kept thinking the Presidents got older—visibly older—from the time they took office to the time they left. Must be the weight of all that poison on their shoulders, Bill.

It doesn’t stop with politics, Bill. Music’s been corrupted too. I remember this diatribe of yours fondly:

“Rick Astley? Have you seen this banal incubus at work? Boy, if this guy isn’t heralding Satan’s imminent approach to Earth, huh. “Don’t ever wanna make you cry, never wanna make you sigh … never gonna break your heart” … oh, I wouldn’t worry about that without a dick, buddy. You got a corn nut! You got a clit! You’re not even a guy! You’re an AIDS germ that got off a slide! They’re puttin’ music to AIDS germs, they’re puttin’ a drum machine behind them in a metronome beat and Ted Turner’s colorizing ‘em, God damn it! These aren’t even people man! It’s a CIA plot to make you think malls are good!! Don’t ya see? (Imitates stereotypical American in a robotic manner) “But Bill, malls are good! Malls allow us to shop 365 days of the year at a 72 degree heat. That must be good.”—Sane Man (1989)

I don’t even want to begin to tell you about “RickRolling,” Bill.

But there’s hope in this world, because some of us actually remember a few things you said for the good of the world:

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.”—Revelations (1993)

Oh how I’ve carried that last one with me, Bill. You see, I choose not to be in fear. I choose not to be in hate. I choose to love. I choose to laugh. And no matter what, I choose to get on board, strap in, and throw my hands up in the air laughing and squealing wildly, because just like you said—this life, it’s “just a ride.”

See you on the other side, Bill.

Love, Laughter, and Truth,

—CLS