My fellow inebriates,
On the way home from dropping Miss V off at work (yes, 15 and productive—more on that another time) CFOX radio announced a song we LOVE.
Only, CFOX announced it as: “Vintage CFOX.” As though CFOX ever played this song back in the day when it came out. Which it did not; it was strictly a classic rock station.
This may seem like no big deal. But it illustrates the impulse that all individuals, organizations and institutions have to scramble to the right side of history after the fact.
More nefariously, it illustrates how simply history can be rewritten and never questioned. While it’s arguably trivial if CFOX wants to claim it used to play the Cure and Depeche Mode and Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Public Image Limited and the Smiths—the historical fact is that it did not. If you were nerdy enough to like those bands, you had to discover them on your own back then.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We love that CFOX played this song today. But it isn’t a “vintage CFOX” song.
Why is this important? My fellow inebriates, it’s important because this stuff is happening in front of us all the time. With larger issues. With more complex issues. We’re currently seeing pendulum swings on topics like gender medicine, the origins of COVID, whether Justin Trudeau ever called anyone a misogynist for refusing a vaccine, and much more. And each time a swing happens, people scurry like rats to the “right side.” Sometimes the internet catches them; sometimes it doesn’t. Rarely is everyone paying enough attention for it to register that history is constantly being rewritten.
If this feels unsettling, it’s because it is. Personally, I prefer the brand of “unsettling” that comes from downing a bottle of middling Chardonnay. Slow Press is a good example. On sale for $15.99 at my local booze store, this Californian white is big and bold and hits all the proper oaky, buttery notes. But it also has an overly yeasty profile that overtakes its subtle tree fruit notes and leaves me with almost a cream cheese aftertaste that I don’t really love. On top of that, it feels unnaturally acidic.
The unsettling part of all this is that I can’t decide whether I like it. I mean, I like imbibing anything with 14.1% alcohol. But would I buy this particular wine again? And what if I say I would, and I tell you I would, and then I do go out and buy it again, and then I decide I don’t like it so much, and instead of telling you I’ve had second thoughts, I just edit my blog post to say I never cared much for it in the first place? This way, I can be on the right side of Chardonnay…
But I wouldn’t do that, my fellow inebriates. I’m much too incompetent to edit my own history. So I leave to your own impeccable judgment to buy this wine, or not, and to listen to the Cure, or not, and to partake in political discourse thoughtfully and kindly, without straw-manning other people’s arguments and before consuming an entire bottle of wine. And to change your mind freely, while having the bravery to acknowledge what you thought before and explain the path to your new thinking.
According to my local booze store’s write-up on Slow Press Chardonnay, it goes well with fish tacos, so you could try eating some of those too, while listening to the Cure (which you never heard on CFOX in 1992)… or not.