Sunday, May 04, 2008
A Confederate Sea of Dunces
The Confederate flag was proudly flying above the drunken rabble in the NASCAR parking lot this morning . Here was the Budweiser-for-Breakfast Club, massed and ready for action; Made In America, Drunk In Public and Proud Of It.
I heard Molly Hatchet playing. From more than one truck.
The tribe pictured above seems to worship canned meat products. There's an inflatable canopic jar tethered to the top- I think that at the end of the ongoing ceremony the wienier idol will be released from it's moorings and Ascend Heavenward , taking the devout with it. Good riddance.
Did you know that there is a flavor of Vienna Sausage called "Bilingual Chicken"? There is.
It wasn't mentioned at this Armour tent...I doubt that the company's decision to print labels in Spanish would have been a hit with this crowd. I saw more than a few "America is Full" t-shirts - at first, I thought that it was merely an incomplete sentence but I quickly caught on that it was an anti-immigrant statement.
I didn't see any Mexican NASCAR fans, nor did I see any Cinco De Mayo festivities.
I did see the U.S. Border Patrol. They are hiring.
Here we see a NASCAR version of inter-racial harmony. Off-key, it was.
There was a tent that urged onlookers to sign up for credit cards, enlist in the Armed Forces and embarrass themselves at karaoke - all under one roof!
Public drunkenness was not only allowed, it was encouraged and exploited.
This is a dangerous place.
More wiener worship. These (above) are marinated in 30-weight motor oil , rolled in sawdust and cornmeal and then deep-fried in boiling Crisco. One will cost you five dollars.
Two might kill you.
The only fresh food I saw was what was in my cooler. I didn't see any apples, oranges or bananas on the grounds, other than this. No fruit juice either. I tried to blend in by quaffing an energy soda that I scored from the trailer next to mine, but my banana gave me away, marked me as Other; on my breaks I hid under a trailer and ate stealthily.
I didn't know this, but if you are crew , you are supposed to eat the Corn Dogs and drink the Kool-Aid.
There was Kool-Aid available to those who could afford it but juice, as noted, was conspicuously absent.
Notice the Navy recruiter in the background,above...military recruiters were ubiquitous at the track. The end begins here for some, I imagine.
I drank as little fluid as possible, as dehydration was preferable to urination- the toilets were straight out of Trainspotting. Bad scene in there. Very, very bad.
One thing that fascinated me was the amount of Nationalistic jingoism I overheard... over and over...only American Cars were acceptable...everyone hated foreign cars, Jap cars in 'tickular. I started fearing for my Volvo's safety, it being parked alone in a sea of Amurrican Trucks and all, but then I noticed that a great many of the diesel rigs were Volvo.
Maybe Volvo is OK ? They are made by Aryans.
I really wanted to point out that nothing for sale in my booth was Made In America; that all the toys, shirts, gimcracks and geegaws were manufactured overseas, mostly in China. I wonder how much gasoline was consumed during this event- attendees, vendors, the race itself- how much of that money gets used to pay for ski resorts in Dubai?
From an economic standpoint, NASCAR seems to move an awful lot of American money and jobs overseas.
It's not exactly a green sport either.
I kept these thoughts to myself.
One of my crewmates told me that this race was smaller than last year's, which was smaller than the year before... I heard many tales of woe about the costs of operating diesel rigs for ten months out of every year- bitching about how the "global warming assholes" were going to ruin the country- how Cheerios suck the big one- it was an overload of cognitive dissonance.
Apparently, each driver's company releases a 'collectible car' for every racing season. This year's 'collectible' was actually a pretty cool toy -but it came with a $70 price tag! Parents would admonish their kids, telling them that they could have that car, but they wouldn't be allowed to play with it, otherwise it "wouldn't be worth anything".
Then they would by a left-over toy car from the previous year for use as a 'play' toy.
These older toys were available for 10%-25% of the original price.
I saw a pattern here... this year's $70 'collectible' will be next year's $12 'play toy'...hmmm.
When I ran a comics shop, kids would ask me: "how much will [this comic] be worth in ten years?"
My stock reply was : "That book won't even be worth reading."
Then they'd tell me that "they don't read " the comics, the books are investments.
They'd often buy two copies after these exchanges, thinking that I was trying to talk them out of buying the book in question so that I could retain ownership of it , hoard it for ten years, sell it and retire.
Free advice: If something leaves the factory with the phrase "Collector's Item" printed on it, the odds are very,very good that it will never increase in value. Ever.
I had to wear a NASCAR shirt while I fed lead-based Chinese toys to hungry Americans. It felt weird.
I wonder what would have happened if I'd worn an Obama '08 T-shirt? I saw a great deal of anti-Hillary ephemera but no openly anti-Obama statements.
I guess the Confederate flag speaks for itself.