Harry D. Cup Sick American b/w Love Letter 45 (Silver Pelican, 1980)
Harry D. Cup! Nah this isn't a sick joke about a well endowed hirsute. Whatever humor that is in these grooves is certainly not intended. Recorded in (I assume) anticipation for the 1980 presidential elections, Sick American is both a condemnation of America's "ills," one of those ills being those who run Our Nation down! Cup's complaints are the same canard that conservatives have been rattling off for the last hundred or so years: Crime is unrelenting, taxes are too high, queers are overrunning the place, and sex is everywhere. In the future I will post some tracks from other conservative complaint records recorded in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s and then direct you to tune into Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh and hear exactly the same spiel. Sure, the words are different and the style of delivery has evolved. but the message is exactly the same. Since we don't have a sense of history we tend not to see/hear that conservatives have been on point for the last hundred years. We look at all their complaints as crisis and when they get power act hastily to address these ills. Ten years later, the country is still "sick." What has changed though is that conservatives have expanded the power of the state by stripping away individual & constitutional rights and concentrated economic power to a few by skewing taxes downward and privatizing public services. The country becomes "sick" in different ways, ways that spawn more "sickness" and the complaints get louder. Of course liberals are also to blame for this mess. They stand by frightened that countering the claims of "sickness" is going to lose them elections, elections they lose time and time again because they are viewed as timid and ineffective. Only when conservatives fuck up big time by doing things like say privatize a goddamn war and health care for soldiers, do liberals sack up. And the media? It takes a comedian like Steve Colbert to nail the Washington Press Corps for being lapdogs unwilling to get to the truth of how wrong things have went and a free fall in the president's poll numbers for them to get a wee bit critical of the powers that be and messages like Mr. Cup's...and a little too late, don't you think? Nothing new here, folks. The cycle plays itself out over and over and recordings like this keep getting turned out (though now stuff like Harry D. Cup is the three squares of talk radio). The frustrating thing to me isn't the conservative/liberal struggle, but the dishonesty in which it is carried out and the lack of historical insight anyone engaged in the fight allows in the debate. Sick American occurs in a vacuum and thus we remain sick americans. My observations are certainly not new. I'll dig up some Mark Twain complaining about the human race and you'll hear that I merely echo his condemnations. Flip the record over and you really won't be surprised of what you hear next.