05 October, 2007

Ted Nugent at Whole Foods

Just got back from picking up a few things at our local Whole Foods Market. (For those who don't know, it's an upscale organic-oriented grocery chain founded in Austin, TX). The main reason I go there is not for the opportunity to spend wads of cash to feel good about eating vegetables fertilized with cow poo and meat from animals who did yoga and got daily massages, but because our other local grocery store has slid the point that someone transported from Bulgaria during the heyday of Communist rule would complain about poor service.

So I'm standing in the dry goods aisle when I notice it: Ted Nugent's signature tune, "Cat Scratch Fever", with all of the suggestive lyrics intact, playing far louder than the typical background Musak. This all at 10:30 in the morning. I'm not complaining--just observing.

Something has changed fundamentally in our culture when this is seen not only as non-controversial (do they know what the song is about?) but commercially advantageous. In an environment where the apples and bell peppers all seem to have been scrubbed to pristine perfection with a toothbrush, one can't help but musing: in another place and time, that toothbrush would have been applied (along with a bar of soap) to Mr. Nugent's mouth.

Call me a fuddy-duddy if you like. I actually like the song and am not objecting to its being played (WFM can do what it likes). It just seems weird that somehow we've gotten to a place where what was once on the far far fringe* of outrageous culture is now perfectly mainstream.

*(Mr. Nugent once graced the cover of 'High Times', fronting an article about how he had soiled himself and failed to bathe for two weeks in order to avoid the draft. Don't ask how I know that.)

UPDATE:
Here's another critique of a different kind of music and its ostensible 'progress' in the 20th century.