The Friday Morning Listen: Desmond Dekker – Israelites: Anthology 1963-1999 (2001)

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Photo: Bill Trotter, Bangor Daily News
A funny thing happened to TheWife™ on the way home from work the other day: a six-hour road closure. I’ve complained about my commute before, but not even my worst winter horror story can compare to this. Apparently, a bus pulled out in front of a pickup truck, which hit the bus broadside, causing a propane line to rupture. Fire fighters on the scene did their best to avoid an explosion, keeping the bus dowsed with water until the hazmat team could arrive. TheWife™ was lucky enough to have gotten stuck right in front of a restaurant. So after several hours she pulled off the road and had some dinner. The road reopened in another hour or so.

A few people on the bus were hurt, as well as the driver of the pickup truck. End of story. Sort of.

I made the mistake of reading a couple of online news items about this. That is, I made the mistake of wandering into the comments section, where I was treated to some of the most entertaining and depressing “discussion” I’d seen in a long time. I didn’t know whether to shake my head and laugh or to just pound it on the table.

I know that the Internet enables troll-like behavior. People can be mighty enraged behind their keyboards, emboldened by the anonymity and the attention. But is that all it is? I want to believe that it’s true. I want to believe that these folks are in the minority. But the amount of vitriol, condescension, lack of respect, and mind-bending logic was tough to take. And sadly, all too common these days. Yeah, it kind of reminded me of American politics. It was a parallel I wouldn’t have expected.

In the end, we went from a story with potentially tragic consequences to talking about socialism, the supposed casual attitude of the police department, and the ineptitude of the emergency responders. Despite the lack of facts, many virtual fingers were pointed. Again, much like politics.

There were some bright spots in all of this, mostly having to do with the generosity of the businesses and other citizens along the road. There were many reports of people bringing food and drink to the poor folks stuck in their cars. In fact, TheWife™ went into that restaurant very near closing time but they stayed open for her. I take comfort in these anecdotes, hoping that those people make up the majority.

People like to say that this is the greatest country in the world. Statements like that have never made much sense to me, seeing as to how I’ve been to two whole countries in my life. But there is a whole lot of great stuff here. I just wish it wasn’t so easy to stumble into these pits of abject stupidity.

Oh, and I’m listening to Desmond Dekker because I happened to hear “Honor Your Mother And Father” on the radio while I was waiting for TheWife™ to come home. Those snarling know-it-alls sure could use a dose of Dekker’s message. At the very least, I’m hoping that the sunny disposition of the music is enough to counteract the ugly vibe sent out by a few dumbasses with Internet connections.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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