[Marxism] Thoughts on Ronald Reagan

DLVinvest at cs.com DLVinvest at cs.com
Wed Jun 9 00:11:50 MDT 2004

In a message dated 6/7/04 3:39:57 PM Mountain Daylight Time, 
Waistline2 at aol.com writes: 
> I remember my dad taking me to "Robert Hall" to periodically get a new 
> suit, because mother wanted all of us to look good in Church. 

Raccoon carcasses...yum! Beats squirrel any day, or possum. I shouldn't joke, 
especially because what prompted your comment was Greg's account of how he 
came to hate RReagan and his class for what they did to us, but "got to laugh to 
keep from cryin'." I can't help it: It's the way we coped with misery (or 
should that be "relative immiseration" versus "relative white-privilege" in my 
hillbilly childhood. My mom made our clothes until I was old enough to refuse to 
wear them and too fast to get hit, or later, strong and mean enough to swat 
back. The turning point was when I grabbed the yardstick from her hand and 
broke it over my knee and just shook my head "no". She went in the corner and 
cried because she knew she had lost me, and my little brother, too, since she 
couldn't very well make just one sport coat -- she was efficient and wasted 
nothing (she was a Depression child, although relatively privileged even then), and 
dressed us boys as if we were twins as much for the effect as the efficiency 
of cutting two pieces from the same cloth. Then I started wearing what I could 
buy with what little I could earn on my own -- cutting firewood or later, when 
we moved from the hollers to a suburb of a mid-size industrial city (Erie, 
Pa., big GE plant) mowing lawns, painting houses, sticking our paws into the 
sluice of surplus-value that was sloshing down and fishing out the occasional 
turd (the treacle-down theory of economics, I called it, when Reagan brought it 
back): In other words, not much, and cheap -- but no longer the humility or 
humiliation of 'home-made" even though that was actually superior in design, 
craftswomanship, tailoring. She was very talented, creative, and could more than 
"make do" with what little we had. It was the advertising that sold the image 
that wore the clothes that we wanted to buy. Pretty soon, the Robert Hall chain 
wasn't good enough either: We outgrew that, too, but not our own conception 
of ourselves, the image we had in our heads of what we wanted to look like in 
order to impress some girl (any girl!). My Dad said I looked like a "hood" 
(a/k/a in sociologese, a "j.d." juvenile delinquent) -- and it took one to know 
one -- when I came home from the Thom McCann store with a pair of Cuban-healed 
"Beatle boots" with pointy-toes the wops called nigger-stickers.(Racism had 
infected us without us even knowing it, and we didn't think anything of it, 
thought nothing at all, to say such things unconsciously.) I thought he had paid me 
a compliment but he made me take them back because that's what he thought 
they were wearing in the ghetto, where we went to drink underage and groove to 
Otis "Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa"! Somewhere in the back of the brain, bubbling up from the 
limbic system, I can also hear that stupid jingle:

"Robert Hall this season
will show you the reason:
Low overhead,
high quality!"

Pass me a bottle of that goddam Stroh's, Melvin, and I'll buy you and Greg a 
shot o' Turkey for thanksgiving, no matter which turkey's elected. And we'll 
spit on the bosses' grave together and dance on 'em too if you can get Marvin 
Gaye to ride on your ol'man's funky home-made stereo.

Douglas L. Vaughan, Jr.
for Print, Film & Electronic Media
3140 W. 32nd Ave. 
Denver CO 80211

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