As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Thursday, December 12

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


The Mechanics
« Syron Smith in Michael Madigan's neighborhood 'Chicago Model' Infecting Other Cities »

Op-Ed Thu Dec 17 2009

Jimmy Buffett as an Opiate for the Masses

As a McCarthy, it is in my blood to hate communism. Don't you dare try to tell me that my blood is red, you commie bastards! My blood looks like God Bless America and nothing else. What? That sentence didn't make sense? Not to a communist it doesn't. (I'm looking at you, Ramsin)

I recently witnessed the communists' secret weapon of mass destruction - a poison that has infected our very culture - and I'm here to expose it for what it is. This is the key to truly subduing the proletariat. Worried about the bourgeois coming to the realization that this life is the ultimate exercise in absurd mediocrity? Take a hint from us capitalists and simply give them a taste of this wonderful, pseudo-Floridian opiate.

You see, a few months ago I went to a Jimmy Buffett concert. The show was in an arena that was in the middle of a concrete jungle - a sort of post industrial wasteland on the south-side of Chicago. You wouldn't know that, though, after you entered in to Buffett's fantasy-land. Fake palm trees, leis, Hawaiian shirts, bamboo-laden bungalows, and even massive screens showing surfers, boats, and beaches engulfed your every sense. I had entered into another dimension. The juxtaposition of the world outside with Buffett's tropical party atmosphere was almost as disturbing as the concert experience itself.

Here were thousands of Midwestern suburbanites gyrating and cheering as Buffett sang songs and told tales of wild parties, mass fornication, and excessive inebriation. Each person waved their hands in the air and sang along as if to say "yes, me too!" to everything Buffett presented before them. Most everyone there was piss drunk or high or both, consuming $10 beers (Buffett's very own "Landshark" brand) or margaritas at college-binge rates. People rolled in after another day at their 9-5 and came here to forget, and they succeeded.

Buffett's entire mantra extols a lifestyle that absolutely no one but him will ever live. None of the people at that concert were going to return to their sailboat after the show. No one was going back to their beach cabana to smoke a bowl and fall asleep in a hammock. They'll return to their suburban homes, go to bed, and go to work hungover the next day. But damn, wasn't that a good party last night? That's the idea that Buffett wants you to very literally buy into, so that he can continue to pelvic-thrust that fantasy in your begging-for-it face.

This is the capitalistic version of brainwashing and propaganda, our own cultural opiate: present before your working masses a life on a pedestal - an ideal fantasy - and then convince them that they're living it by attending massive concerts where Buffett assures us all that we're just pirates chilling out in our reefer boat, munching on cheeseburgers in paradise. Sure you have to work your ass off at a job that eats your soul for 362 days a year, but dude! You're a parrot head! Just crank up "Margaritaville," chill out, and look forward to the next massive Buffett concert, man!

Don't try to defend Buffett as an artist, please. There is no such thing as any kind of transcendence in his music or his performances - which is the point of art, isn't it? - but rather only a consistent steel-drum exhortation to engage in the basest forms of epicurean hedonism. Transcendence leads us to something higher, not back down to mindless self-indulgence. It is the perfect way to subdue your citizens. Work your boring middle class job so that you can hope against hope to afford some kind of four day vacation in Florida where you can have a little taste of what Buffett suggests is your entire purpose. Numb yourself from the meaninglessness of your life by laying down more sacrifices at the altar of your calloused erection.

- What's that? Sure man, I'll take a hit off that bong... What was I talking about? Damn, I love this song.

 
GB store

Chris B / December 17, 2009 2:45 AM

"...so that he can continue to pelvic-thrust that fantasy in your begging-for-it face."

This stuff is better than Dickens.

enn / December 17, 2009 9:42 AM

What the fuck is this shit? Why is there an overcaffeinated PJ O'Rourke wannabe in my feed reader?

stephen / December 17, 2009 3:30 PM

where is there transcendence in any of contemporary music? how is margaritaville any different than wierd fishes? Unless you are listening to gregorian chant or hoping the beastie boys are going to do a concept album on hegel, why do you have to take a shit on jimmy buffet fans, which tend to be good hardworking, albeit a little shallow and fun-loving, people? all music and story telling serves as an opiate, what do you want Buffet fans to listen to? Something that makes them realize how tragic their lives are and depresses them? Or maybe you just wished they didn't exist?
also, "he went to paris" kicks ass musically. so suck it.

wayne / December 17, 2009 4:08 PM

stephen, how about you read the whole article before blowing your load of ill founded criticsm. all music is might be some form of a fantasy. but the point is that buffet stands for a particularly unrealiztic and debased fantasy. even worse, it is an opiate, it makes people comfortable with living meaningless lives, whereas other forms of music can encourage positive reform and action. and um..."he went to paris" sucks ass.

Curtis Spiteri / December 17, 2009 7:50 PM

Hey ENN, as a free thinking, possessive type that I'm sure you portrait yourself around town, you sure look like a mouth breathing, close minded neanderthal.

Oh wait, that is the progressive type. Sorry.

BTW, Jimmy Buffet is ear poison for anyone under 50 years old.

Ramsin / December 18, 2009 1:08 PM

Curtis, I got no patience for your bullshit. First you comment on my post with your conservative sloganeering calling me a "liberal", which I'm not, then you come into here and say progressives are hypocritical mouth breathers. This isn't the Free Republic. Treat ideas and people with respect or get the fuck out.

conor / December 18, 2009 2:26 PM

ENN - What's the point of being such a mindless asshole about things? If you don't like the article, don't read it. No one has a gun to your head. Why waste your time posting something degrading to someone you don't know, completely disregarding the ideas therein?

And Curtis - if you're just going to insult someone, you should probably at least spell check your post first. I mean, just as a courtesy.

GB store

Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project
GB store



About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Mike Ewing, mike@gapersblock.com
Mechanics staff inbox: mechanics@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15