Monday, November 18, 2013

"I think I'd rather die and go to hell and face the devil... "

Words first. Story afterward.
Genuine pathos requires tragedy-- the non-participation of the agent in his or her misfortune, tough circumstances alone don't suffice.
--Mr. Big Food

A sense of pathos is the sole accompaniment of the sentiment of disgust I feel watching msnbc.
--A. Leland

It has been made abundantly clear over the course of the semester that [Miss M] harbors no pathos for Hester Prynne.
--Daughter C

"Id' be better off in a pine box, on a slow train back to Georgia," invoked such pathos in Max and me that we convinced [Mr. Big Food] to not delete the duplicate copy on the Redneck Collection.
As long time readers know, the Redneck Collection-- a set of 50+ CDs filled with, well, redneck music, writ large, that Mr. Big Food has been putting together over the last 10 or so years, maybe more-- is always in the background. It's more than Country/Western. It's American music. We know these songs. Together with show tunes from the 50s, gospel hymns, The Beatles, The Who, The Dead, a little Credence, some Phish, and Charlie Brown songs we know, they comprise Our Family Song Library.

Early on, Mr. Big Food put Doug Stone's I'd Be Better Off on the Redneck Collection. It's hard to have a favorite from among these many many songs. But I've always liked this one. I remember commenting to Max that I thought this was the most pathetic song on the collection-- "pathetic" in the Greek sense of pathos. 

Through some series of events no one can quite recreate, the exact same song, same version, was duplicated on The Collection. This is against the Redneck Collection rules. Same songs are allowed-- how many version of Poncho & Lefty are there?-- but not identical same songs. Except for this one. As I recall, it took both Max and I to twist Mr. Big Food's leg to allow this song to be identically duplicated.

I cannot remember what arguments we put forth. But if we're randomly selecting songs, this one has a 2/n chance of being played. That's all we wanted. Just an increased chance to hear it.

FYI-- the saddest song is the one that chronicles the path from Hillbilly Heaven to Honkytonk Hell. And the most poignant is of course, June & Johnny's Waiting on the Far Side Banks of Jordan:
I'll Admit My Steps Are Growing Wearier Each Day
Still I've Got A Certain Journey On My Mind
Lures Of This Old World Have Ceased To Make Me Want To Stay
My One Regret Is Leaving You Be-hind
If It Proves To Be His Will That I Am First To Cross
And Somehow I've A Feeling It Will Be
When It Comes Your Turn To Travel Likewise Don't Feel Lost
For I Will Be The First One That You'll See
"Genuine pathos requires tragedy... ."

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