Photo by Tommy Lisbon

A TWO PARTS WHISKEY COLUMN

Is the state of art, in all it’s uninspired mediocrity and exclusivity, a result of the diminishing fingerprint of our nation’s once great hobo? I’m not here to whine about being born in the wrong time because I sure as fuck don’t want to be born before indoor plumbing, but damn is it romantic to think about how easy it must have been to dream big just a hundred years ago.

There was a time in our country when all the great poets and artists were travellers; men and women who were hellbent on adventure just itching for an experience beyond the walls of their hometowns. Of course back then it didn’t seem so bad to sleep on the streets and not know where your next meal would come from, as long as you could get around to seeing something new and a journey had beckoned. You could hitch a ride through a county and not fear for police, tickets, cancel culture– you could lie about work history and get any job you wanted –you could pull fruit from a vine and not get shot. Imagine that.
Nowadays, I wonder about new painters missing out on the starry nights above them from all this light pollution. I think about the meadows and creeks that are closed off to the public; all the private property for government research. The writers who won’t ever leave town because it’s just too convenient for them to stay put. Would any of the greats I’ve come to love have flourished in this age of abundance? Will any of the works we’re so familiar with resonate when nothing’s left to marvel? With so much of our land in the hands of corporations and private property, how can anyone hope to explore our cities without risking jail-time or a misdemeanor? How can we inspire future dreamers on the beauty of this Earth if we keep on closing it off? Or is that the point… so we all just forget.
We’ve already forgotten so much, what’s one more thing? Hobos, drifters, nomads — they held such a different decree once upon a time. It was a choice to be unbounded, but we forgot that too. And maybe that’s the cure to it all, to get back out there on the road and find ourselves one more time.

This isn’t a cry for us all to march into the streets and live in the cold, but more of an admonition on the way class warfare has evolved. It seems more and more like we’re letting the powers-that-be shut us out from our world. And it seems more and more like we’re dividing into class brackets too unsustainable for any kind of unity to rise against it. What can you do if you’re just looking to find yourself in the midst of a culture like this?

Dreamers, drifters, artists — people who’ve never had to study religion or economics throughout history are now stifled by it. The creativity that once blossomed from the minds of our youth has turned into a constant state of introspection and self-doubt. It seems like we’re forced to either join the so-called losers out in skid row where the apartments smell so sharply of piss and the screams of a newborn rings heavy into dawn; or we can grab a hold of old Uncle Corporate’s nutsack and pray against hope that your wages can cover a broomshed in Downtown. I feel sorry for the artists of today. All we have left is rap music and spraypaint and one of those is hardly a fucking art.

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