Friday, April 15, 2005

Yippie I O Ki Nay

The FLUBA Committee on Academics With Too Much Time On Their Hands has been following the recent antics in the Policy Studies Journal, thanks to Wolfpack economist Craig Newmark

The first shot being fired by Texas A&M's Kenneth J Meier:

Get Your Tongue out of My Mouth ‘Cause I’m Kissin’ You Goodbye: The Politics of Ideas

The thesis of this article is that country music is a crucial part of the politics of ideas, and, in fact, many policy debates are resolved in country music well before the intellectual community of policy analysts reaches a consensus. This article will recap some of the key policy debates in which country music set the agenda....

Professor Meier offering that:

Quite clearly James Quince Wilson borrowed his theory that crime is a function of demographics, specifically young males, and that demographic change would eventually resolve some of the crime problems from Hank Williams Jr. (1982b), who noted:

'Nobody wants to get drunk and get loud,
All my rowdy friends have settled down.'

And, that Charles Murray's Losing Ground was inspired by Johnny Paycheck's Take this job and shove it, I ain't working here no more. Among many other questionable assertions.

U of Colorado's Peter deLeon countered with an ambush from Broadway:

I’m Vexed Again/Perplexed Again . . . : An Alternative View of the Politics of Ideas

...if country music reflects a 'politics of ideas,' it is the 'ideas' of the NASCAR dads, rather than the American public, writ large. There is a much wider, arguably more storied, musical venue...extant in the nation, that of the American musical theater.

deLeon had the varmint pinned down with a withering barrage:

Well before James Q. Wilson talked about a 'broken windows' syndrome (1975), Cole Porter had long ago (well, 1935 to be exact) inveighed against the ongoing injustices of the criminal justice system and domestic violence, in particular....

Miss Otis regrets....
from under her velvet gown
She drew a gun and shot her lover down, Madam
Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today.

He reloaded with Harry Warren and Al Dubin's fiscal policy:

We're in the money,
The sky is sunny;
Old Man Depression, you are through,

Again, with Kern and Hammerstein's labor economics:

He don't plant 'taters, he don't plant cotton,
But them that plants 'em is soon forgotten,

But, just as he moved in for the kill, allowed his foot to pass in front of the barrel of his smoking Winchester:

Cole Porter...still could add something to the environmental movement....viewing the wide open and western spaces...

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open coumtry that I love,
Don't fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze,
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don't fence me in.

Resulting in a self-inflicted wound which allowed Meier to escape to fight another day:

Jesus Loves Me, But He Can’t Stand You: A Reply to My Out-of-Tune Critics

For, unbeknownst to deLeon (and Meier too, apparently) Cole Porter didn't write the lyrics to Don't Fence Me In. He purchased them, for $250, from a Montana highway engineer, and cowboy poet, named Robert Fletcher (though he later signed over a portion of the royalties to Fletcher when the song became a huge hit).

And, the song debuted in Hollywood Canteen. Performed by none other than singin' cowboy, Roy Rogers.

Ironically, Bob Fletcher has another claim to fame; he instituted the state of Montana's Depression era Historic Markers project

Ironic, in that he appears to have borrowed the idea from a similar state of South Dakota program, and that his scholarship has long been recognized as shaky.

Speaking of which, do the taxpayers of the states of Colorado and Texas know where their political scientists are right this minute?

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