Any of You Cowgirls Out There Got the Blues???


“Politics is for people who have a passion for changing life but lack a passion for living it.” — Bonanza Jellybean in Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Before I get all philosophic about the current state of what passes for political discussion by the dem party hacks over at the Capitol’s negative campaigning testbed, I thought I’d share a nugget out of my past that seems oh, so apropos right ’bout now.

As our heroine Sissy and her guru Chink contemplate the world about them, sitting on an overlook above the Rubber Rose Ranch (whose early clientele bear a remarkable likeness to the snipes over at said “blog”, and indeed it might be where they have settled after exiting from the Rubber Rose), they have a nice revelation about politics.

Excerpt from Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins

“…Religion and politics are unnecessary to the culture or the individual that has poetry.”

“You really don’t believe in political solutions, do you?”

“I believe in political solutions to political problems.

But man’s primary problems aren’t political; they’re philosophical. Until humans can solve their philosophical problems, they’re condemned to solve their political problems over and over and over again. It’s a cruel, repetitious bore.”

Sissy thought she had the old goat this time, and not just by the pecker, either.

“Well, then, what are the philosophical solutions?”

“Ha ha ho ho and bee bee. That’s for you to find out.” She didn’t have him.

“I’ll say this much and no more: there’s got to be poetry. And magic. Your thumbs taught you that much, didn’t they? Poetry and magic. At every level. If civilization is ever going to be anything but a grandiose pratfall, anything more than a can of deodorizer in the shithouse of existence, then statesmen are going to have to concern themselves with magic and poetry.

Bankers are going to have to concern themselves with magic and poetry. Time magazine is going to have to write about magic and poetry. Factory workers and housewives are going to have to get their lives entangled in magic and poetry. As for policemen and cowgirls …”

The Chink wagged his beard at the ranch below. It was a beard that a nesting crane might enjoy.

If Sissy failed to comprehend completely, at least she no longer felt confused. Through a pinhole in the peace that dropped like the dusk around them, she squeezed one last question.

“Do you think such a thing can ever happen?”

“If you understood poetry and magic, you’d know that it doesn’t matter.”

The moon rose.

For those of you you who would rather read the “Reader’s Digest” version, or are too young to remember anything but maybe Uma Thurman movie trailers, go read the review by Dan Geddes at The Satirist.


Duganz, consider this a payback summer reading recommendation for having made me devote a week to reading Keith Richards’ Life and its concurrent listening sessions with 30+ old Stones recordings, and countless other musical miscellany.

Oh, and there is a wonderful recipe for douches in Cowgirl that might help the stench emanating from the Capitol’s henchwomen and henchmen these days. Jes sayin’…

  1. Dem Antidote

    I love it that you wove your message between the lines. That rarely happens on blogs. Kudos. I must try that sometime. As long as blogging is pointless, why not try a little magic?

  2. Geoff Badenoch

    “Cowgirls” is one of my favorite books of all time. I have carried the jack of hearts with me ever since I read it.

    And you are so right about the role of poetry.

    Thanks for reminding me to re-read “Cowgirls” again!

  3. If you can’t stand the heat, quit frying eggs on the sidewalk.

  4. lizard19

    ah, Tom Robbins is fantastic, great selection JC.

    it still rings true that what we face are primarily philosophical problems, not political ones.

    and our economic problems aren’t well represented by the current scope of the debate. wage stagnation, consumer credit/debt, sustainability, crony capitalism…

    and the scope of the debate at MT cowgirl is even more limited. i’d say almost not even worth mentioning.

  5. Pete Talbot

    I use MT Cowgirl as a source. Sure, it’s the mouthpiece for the Montana Democratic Party and you’ll seldom see a critique of a Democratic office holder, although very occasionally you will.

    Some of the posts are petty — Lord knows none of us have ever written a petty post — but there are some pretty good scoops, too.

    I don’t go there for inspiration, I go there for information.

  6. Monco

    For what it’s worth, I think Cowgirl is important. She writes stuff that is newsworthy but the Montana press refuses to cover, always has the scoop because she does research (as oppose to simply opining about whether a piece that Ezra Klein wrote is or isn’t a good piece). She exposes fair-game negative items about candidates, which is something that is especially important to democrats in Montana because the GOP has a natural numbers advantage and can simply trot out their standard playbook about how we are taxers and spenders and radical environmentalists, and often win the day with this nonsense, whereas we don’t have that luxury and thus require negatives to be exhumed on a case by case basis. She made a mockery of the GOP legislature’s ass on a daily basis. And, she has never (at least in the last seven months since I became a fan) posted anything nasty about this blog, unlike this nasty uncalled for thing that JC has posted.

    • I don’t think there was anything nasty or attack-like about what JC wrote.

      What he pointed out is that there is a difference between policy and politics.

      That policy brings about solutions, not politics.

      As for Ezra, I can’t recall anyone every opining here about Ezra’s latest post….but I do recall LitW doing it. More than once. Was that a back-handed nasty swipe at LitW?

    • JC

      “Nasty uncalled for thing?” You find Robbins nasty and uncalled for? Sorrrryyyy… I came of age in the 70’s and Robbins was very much du jour reading then.

      FWIW, MT Cowgirl bills itself as “…Gossip, Satire…”

      Satire is ok there, but not here???

      And MTCG has thrown some barbs at me, but that’s not why I wrote this piece. It is a prelude to Milt Shook’s piece that they recently linked to and praised–which is a direct attack on blogs like this, and the people who write here–at the behest of Rob Kailey, who is engaged in a battle with this blog and its writers, and writes nasty stuff to us and about us all the time.

      And how do we know that Rob isn’t posing as “Cowgirl” or feeding them some other info or ghostwriting for them? Afterall, Milt Shook freely admits to being a ghostwriter, and he was referred to MT Cowgirl by… Rob Kailey.

      The more that Rob and Cowgirl scratch each other’s back, the more his attitude and actions are going to rub off on them. And that’s something the montana dem party should think about while they continue their attacks on the “principled left.”

      • Pogue Mahone

        I guess that I didn’t really view that piece as an attack on anybody really. I viewed it either rightly or wrongly as a strategy session. What works and what doesn’t. Look, NO mainstream enviro group approves of the tactics of the E. Rangers. We are pariahs. And we accept that. But we DON’T disown them. Everyone has their part to play in a movement. They have theirs, and we have ours. They are good at many things, and we are good at some things. I view spats like that. Find common ground where you can, and do your own thing. I try to ignore the personal attacks and concentrate on the bad guys and the goals we are all trying to achieve. That is ALSO why I try to limit my personal attacks on fellow lefties.

        • JC

          Why don’t you lay out some advice for those who attack us then? I don’t ever hear you dissin’ on Rob for his personal attacks on 4&20 and its writers here and elsewhere.

          As to bad guys, many of us view Shook’s piece (and Rob’s efforts) as part of a concerted effort to marginalize sites like 4&20 and its writers.

          • Dem Antidote

            MCG is an apparatchik site not meant to foster debate but rather to assist in one of two purposes of the Democratic Parth – to win elections.

            The other purpose is to stifle, demean and contain progressives. In a rational setting, the 2000 Nader uprising would be seen as an intra-party philosophical squabble. But the Democrats do not tolerate philosophical divergence and so ostracized Nader and all who believed in the progressive agenda.

            To be a Democrat now is to work and/or vote for Democratic candidates. Philosophical objections to party “doctrine” (there really is no consistent party philosophy) are not tolerated. It’s a tyranny of sorts, more like the Catholic Church than a political party.

        • Steve W

          Larry, the problem with that piece (Milt’s) is that it’s factually just plain wrong.

          Lesson #1 Apparently Milt wasn’t around during bush vs Gore because the guy with the least votes won. Milt is also unaware that voters all over the West have repeatedly won on medical cannabis, only to be arrested by local, state and federal authorities who could give a rats ass how the voting went. Obama certainly didn’t let a little voting get in the way of his DEA cops. Obama didn’t let voting get in the way of Joe Lieberman. But the left should shut up?

          Lesson #2 Margret Meade said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

          Margaret Mead is correct. Milt is wrong. At least if one looks at history. I don’t know where Milt attended school, but I was taught that about 1/3 of the people who lived in the 13 original colonies at the time of the revolution supported the revolution. That 1/3 were Tories who opposed the revolution, and that 1/3 were ambivalent to the revolution and really didn’t care if we had a king or a president. Milt would have waited until hell froze over no doubt to openly oppose British rule.

          Lesson #3 the Blue Dogs were heavily voted out of Office in 2010, and now are a tiny group within the Democratic Caucus. The lefties were voted back into office and now are the largest caucus within the Democrats by far. The reason this happened is that voters didn’t like the Blue Dogs as much as their challengers, and that voters liked the lefty Democrats more than their challengers. Tough luck there Milt. Good thing the left didn’t listen to you or they would have ended up like the Blue Dogs.

          Lesson #4 This is the stupidest and most impossible and unbelievable Lesson of all that Milt tries to sucker in the gullible with. Milt claims their are NO SIMILARITIES (not one mind you) between the relevant parties duopoly in the US.

          Never mind they both get their financing from the same people, never mind they all eat and party together in their off time, never mind they all work together in the same places, both inside and outside the Government, Their is NOT ONE, NONE, NO SIMILARITIES! between the parties.

          Yeah, sure,

          Lesson #5
          When someone is so wrong about the first 4, it may not be worth the time or effort to replay to all the “Lessons”

          I will say that I agree with #6. Waiting for a political savior isn’t a strategy and if you want it done right, why not do it yourself? But the rest of his stuff is easily refutable. The rest of his stuff is stupid. the rest of his stuff is divisive. The rest of his stuff is bad advice.

          It’s the kind of advice that if taken will hurt progressives and will lose elections.

          • Dem Antidote

            The biggest objection I had to the piece was the idea that we are “extreme” and he is “centrist.” If you examine issues one-by-one, you’ll find that what he calls “far left” are more in line with mainstream opinion than his “centrists.”

            This is the biggest achievement of the two-party structure – to marginalize the mainstream. They say they are doing it to win elections, but they are really only doing what we all do – appeasing their financiers. We only vote. Money is what matters.

  7. Pogue Mahone

    I hear that! I lost a whole lotta respect for JC on this post. I can’t see the why of it. I’ve always thought of JC as a real intellectual, but now he just looks petty. Whasupwith THAT, JC? HEY, like Kris Kristofferson says it best: “Everybody’s gotta have someone they can look down on”.

    Jesus was a Capricorn
    He ate organic food
    He believed in love and peace
    And never wore no shoes

    Long hair, beard and sandles
    And a funky bunch of friends
    Reckon we’d just nail him up
    If he came down again

    ‘Cause everybody’s gotta have somebody to look down on
    Prove they can be better than at any time they choose
    Someone doin’ somethin’ dirty decent folks can frown on
    If you can’t find nobody else, then help yourself to me

    Eggheads fussin’ rednecks cussin’
    Hippies for their hair
    Others laugh at straights who laugh at
    Freaks who laugh at squares

    Some folks hate the Whites
    Who hate the Blacks who hate the Klan
    Most of us hate anything that
    We don’t understand

    Now THAS some good poetry for my redneck soul! Kris is my kinda redneck, a RHODES scholar redneck! And JC, I still luv ya, man, but NO you can’t have my Pabst!

    • Pogue Mahone

      p.s. I LUVS me some cowgirl!

    • JC

      Larry, you don’t get satire? Geez, do I gotta spell out Robbins to you, too? And I’m down-trodden to have lost your respect “on this post.” I’ll try and make it up to you on the next one. Really. ;-)

  8. Pogue Mahone

    p.s.s. Best love song EVER! For you younger dudes who were too young to remember.

  9. lizard19

    thanks Pogue, i’m going to use this as an opportunity to repost what i think is the most touching duet i have ever seen.

    it drives home the need for poetry and magic to have its space, and kids, when given the chance, embody that.

    • Pogue Mahone

      Wow! A little Rita! Great song. I like the Hispanic influence. The Hispanics STILL get it. They love their music and guitar. The Mexicans I knew in Billings up would never listen to a boombox at a party. They’d just bring out the guitars and sit around and sing. It was wonderful.

  10. JC

    ps Larry, here’s a song for you

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