Friday, June 04, 2004

Remember the chorus "They took Paradise and put up a parking lot"?

It's been a couple of years since I saw the county I grew up in, and I am sorry to say it's not there anymore. Franklin, TN cocooned itself in historical status, so most of old-time Franklin is still there (in a very manicured, cultured and cultivated sort of way) but what used to be Brentwood is a horror show of malls, chain stores, condos, and all-round yucky stuff. Don't get me wrong -- I understand that people have to live somewhere, and that all those places are jobs for someone -- but did it have to all be plastic and pre-fab and UGLY?

I can see a Red Lobster sign -- or for that matter, Red Lobster food -- anywhere in America. Did we really need another one in what used to be beautiful farmland? The place where the Huff Bros used to make the best country hams in the world isn't there anymore. You can't get good country ham (not that I eat it anymore, but that isn't the point) but you can get fast food galore.

As I told my son on the phone, it's sad when that beautiful green country has turned itself into Concord, CA. Or Anywhere Else, USA.

One of the things I love about Oakland and my new adopted home, LA: they have kept some of the weird old stuff that make a place distinctive. It doesn't all have to be plastic or prefab. (I know, so strange to say that about LA. But it's true, at least about the buildings. Let's leave the nose jobs and tummy-tucks out of this.)

Hmmm. This is hardly "gleaned objects" from my studies, so maybe it's off topic. Or maybe not. I would not want to be too quick to pick up every shiny new idea or practice. Some of the shabby, old, annoying stuff is what makes a place where it is. I am an unabashedly Reform Jew. But I am glad that we're past the "Classic Reform" phase in which we had "ministers" not rabbis, Sunday "Sabbaths" and other monstrosities. Red Lobster signs and other traife can stay out of my home county.

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