A View From The Handbasket

Tuesday, October 31, 2006
A plea for mercy
Posted by neros_fiddle at 1:33 PM

Dear Major League Baseball, National Football League and General Motors:

As a mere cog in the machine of global capitalism, I cannot presume to understand the decision-making process that goes on in the plush conference rooms deep within your respective global headquarters. However, I am going to make an uneducated guess: you do not want prospective consumers fleeing the room when your broadcasts and commercials air, sticking knitting needles in their ears and cursing your names to the uninterested heavens.

Would that be fair to say?

If so, for the love of all that's good and decent, PLEASE stop running those damn commercials with the John Mellencamp song "Our Country." Seriously. It is currently impossible to watch a football game without hearing that piece of crap at least once every single commercial break. That is cruel and unfair. I realize you own the universe and we merely occupy it, but surely there is a shred of humanity left alive somewhere in your marketing departments that could do us this small act of kindness.


1) This song has already been written once. The first time, it was called "This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie. It was significantly better that time.

2) The first line, which we are often assaulted with before we can dive for the remote in a vain attempt to rescue our last few functioning brain cells, is "I can stand beside ideals I think are right." (At least I think that's what ol' Melonhead is mumbling.) Please don't think too much about how empty and brain-dead this statement is. It hurts. A lot.

3) Later, if the remote is broken and we spend too much time searching the front of the TV for the volume button, we hear: "From the East Coast to the West Coast, down the Dixie Highway back home." In his haste to rewrite Guthrie, Mellencamp is making no sense. Is he invoking the grand sweep of American geography, or giving directions? If we don't live off the Dixie Highway, is it less "our country" than those that do?

4) Of all John "Cougar" Mellencamp's fake heartland anthems, this is certainly the fake-est. It sounds as though it were constructed in a clean room from genetically engineered old-timey instruments and sturdy but empty homilies.

In fairness to Mellencamp, the full-length version of the song contains verses that actually address topics of substance. Of course, you've chosen to include only the verses that are vague and meaningless enough to not cause problems with the right wing. This is as infuriating as it would be if Wrangler picked two lines completely out of context from "Fortunate Son" that made the song (a hundred times better a song than Mellencamp's) sound like a jingoistic feel-good ditty and used it to sell jeans. Oh, wait, they already did that. Never mind.

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