Saturday, April 14, 2012

Happy Ruination Day!

This blog is reputed to have a crush on Gillian Welch:

Nicely sandwiched between Friday the 13th and income tax day, April 14 is the anniversary of Lincoln's assassination, the sinking of the Titanic, and the worst of the Dust Bowl far it's been a pleasant enough day here and now, but I'm a bit edgy.


Magatha said...

Hey, I did a search for "Ruination Day" references for the last week, and here you are and here it is. As another Gillian Welch crush-having person, I'm conscious of Ruination Day every year. It makes me appreciate my usual experience of it: a pleasant spring day in Northern California, in a modest apartment, with lots of hiking trails nearby, a functioning electrical grid, clean water than comes out every damn time I turn the faucet. I feel so lucky. But also edgy.

The triple Ruination Day events happened in large part because humans were careless and arrogant. The Dust Bowl victims on Black Sunday were largely collateral damage. The people who'd scored big on the land speculation were long gone, leaving an ecological disaster behind. One book ("The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan) says that in about a decade, humans managed to engineer the destruction of an environment that had been functioning well for 20,000 years.

See? Gillian Welch causes me to read books. I haven't read anything about the Titanic, but the Abraham Lincoln reference got me to reading "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery" by Eric Foner, and that led me to a bunch of other Civil War books.

And in Gillian Welch's Elvis Presley Blues"
...I was thinking that night about Elvis
Day that he died, day that he died
He was all alone in a long decline
Thinking how happy John Henry was that he fell down dyin'....

It wasn't till I read Melissa Harris-Perry's book "Sister Citizen" that I made the John Henry/steam drill connection.

Gee, sometimes the void answers back and talks your ears off. But one more thing. From Aimee Mann's "Lost In Space" album, in "Today's The Day", she mentions "Major Reno on the bluff", and I think, hmm, what the heck does that mean? So I looked it up and eventually read "The Last Stand" by Nathaniel Philbrick, which was fantastic.

So hello, thanks for this post. It's just an amazing song.

mtraven said...

Thanks for stopping by, I see your mind bounces around much like my own.