Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A bit more on Bageant

Chutney wrote in the comments section on my last post:

In the small city where I grew up, there is nothing to do except shop, drink and worship. Sounds like Bageant's home town is the same.

Nope. Bageant says he lives in Winchester, VA.

Winchester, VA is about an hour from me, meaning it's like an hour and fifteen minutes or so from the National Gallery of Art, the Studio Theater and all sorts of places where cool people hang out in Washington DC

But he doesn't have to drive up my way. There are plenty of opportunities in his town. A quick poke around the internet reveals that Shenendoah University is in Winchester, as is Shenendoah Valley UU church.

According to the Shenendoah Arts council, their exhibition of art by local African American artists opened on the third with a reception. If Bageant stayed home and watched TV that night, that's his business, but I doubt the connversation at this event was about consumer products.

In fact, next Friday at the Armstong theater at Shenendoah university, there's going to be a performance of a dance troupe from Ghana.

It costs five bucks. I suggest that Bageant take a night off from surfing the net and go.

Assuming that Bageant's tastes run more to the literary, perhaps he would enjoy joining the Shenandoah Arts council's fiction writing group that meets every other Tuesday in their board room.

Or he could try the Winchester Little Theater, where a Tom Stoppard play opens on March 3.

And he shouldn't forget the first Friday event, where Winchester's six art galleries hold open houses and serve wine and cheese.

Funny, it looks like there are quite a few people who look at the town Bageant describes as "armed and inbred" and think it could be something more.

Too bad Bageant is too busy whining to join them.



PeaceBang said...

I think you're reading him way too literally, and over-focusing on one obnoxious smear of some Virginians.
Since Joe's so incredibly self-deprecating, and uses "we" language"(including himself among the numbed out) and is obviously dealing with issues of his own mortality and life meaning, I'm not sure why you think he deserves such a scorching.
Since he pokes fun at himself for "yammering off our asses in cyberspace," there's not much need for you to do it for him. He's aware.
This is an article about so many things: it's about community and about the high cost of dying, and the high cost of trying to buy "out" of the middle class, and it's about the ways we've learned to accept environmental degradation and genocide as "normal."
It's one bloggers cry in the wilderness. I hear not one whine at all in the entire ten pages.

I'm amazed that you see nothing of worth in this remarkable piece.

Chalicechick said...

Being willing to admit that you're being silly is nice. But if you're still being silly, you are.

It's not one obnoxious smear, PB. He implies over and over that people are television-addicted morons obsessed with consumerism.

In his neighborhood, there are people creating art and exhibiting it.

If politics are more his speed, he should be talking to his neighbors about the gay marriage amendment in VA.

No, one guy in Winchester can't save the people in Guantanamo bay, but there are organizations that are trying to make a better world right in his neighborhood. (And those people probably share his concerns.)

I do see whining because I see someone talking about problems who seems totally unwilling to lead by example and do anything about them.

He acts like buying nine guitars is the only option he had for satisfying the voice within. Not true. May I suggest selling eight guitars, giving the money to Northern Shenandoah Valley Homeless Network and using the remaining guitar to entertain some old people once a week at the senior center?

He wants to feel needed? He will feel needed then. That's how people come to feel needed. By doing stuff for other people, not by complaining that nobody has shown up on your doorstep to deliever you a feeling of connectedness on a platter.

There is community available. His people, not the people on TV but the actors and lovers and strivers-after-better things who live in his town, are waiting. But he's only wanting to go on about what morons we all are.

I wrote a peice very similar to this as a high school senior, focusing on how we were all numbers to the giant corportations who controlled everything (including a story about a family identified by numbers rather than names dying in a plane crash) and how pretty much everybody but me was a moron puppet of the bastards who controlled the TV news.

His peice strikes me as similarly adolescent.


LaReinaCobre said...

I read the article again, and looked at Joe's pictures of the town where he lives.

I don't think he is much of a high society guy, so perhaps wine and cheese and theater troupes are not much up his alley.

While it's still true that his drumbeat is familiar to me, his writing is good.

It is his blog, to say as he wants. Who says he needs to have a solution for every problem he identifies? Or that he even needs to take part in the solution? If anything, his essay does convey his feeling of stuck-ness.

My only concern at this point -apart from the "deserving native" comment which I sincerely hope was some kind of satire - is that he ends on a note of such deep sighs. I think that in this age of cynicism it is not enough to draw attention to what is false, but to walk the path to what is real. And if one cannot lead the way, then find someone to follow.

Chalicechick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chalicechick said...

Uh... To me, whining is about bitching incessently about your problems because fixing them requires effort on your part.

How exactly am I supposed to fix the problem that this guy is lame?