Listen to Phish, Save the World

Why would we let an insane person brandish such a large gavel?

It’s been an interesting Sunday here in sunny San Francisco, what with the health care debate raging and March Madness serving as a welcome distraction from said health care rage. As I’m wont to do when things get weird, I took a long walk in the fleeting, fog-threatened sunshine and listened to some music. Today, that music happened to be performed by the lovable funkmeisters that are Phish.

Don’t act so surprised. I love Phish. Those three words prove I’m not a Republican, contrary to my droning pro-capitalism, anti-jargon rhetoric.

In fact, upon the recent announcement of Phish’s upcoming Summer Tour, I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, the Pollyanna stoner contingent is on to something. They represent the purest of capitalists these days, whether they like to admit it or not. The only business booming in California right now is the legitimate marijuana trade, and the taxes on the tidy attendant profits are our great state’s last best hope. Indeed, Phish parking lots have long been home to lucrative off-balance-sheet, untaxed business plans featuring heavily beaded handicrafts and buttery grilled cheese.

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I actually remember being at a few dozen Phish shows way back when, and regardless of locale, weather, or state of mental lubrication, I was always at peace with roughly 30,000 utter strangers for three hours. That’s rare in our world of continuous doomsday proclamations regarding church, state, economy, and climate, and we should look for the wisdom in these crowds. However, we will not be using the hackneyed term “crowdsourcing”.

Ignore politicians, watch basketball, listen to us!

A quick rundown of a few Phish ditties and their implicit advice will advance The Smatter’s mission of promoting amusement and enlightenment:

Tune: “Down With Disease”

Convenient Misinterpretation: Accessible health care for all would be great. Let’s go for it!

Relevant Line: “Waiting for the time when I can finally say/That this has all been wonderful but now I’m on my way”

Summary: Simplify, agree, and move on. Don’t listen to unions or insurance companies. Do listen to Mike Damone, always.

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Tune: “All Things Reconsidered”

Convenient Misinterpretation: We should rationally reconsider all things, especially when they’re trailing down a road of complexity and obfuscation (health care bills, financial regulation, etc.).

Relevant Line: None, it’s an instrumental.

Summary: It sends a clear message with no words. Very heavy.

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Tune: “Run Like an Antelope”

Convenient Misinterpretation: Exercise is good for you, and being somewhat out of control might be healthy for the spirit every once in a while.

Relevant Line: “Set the gear shift for the high gear of your soul/you’ve got to run like an antelope, out of control”

Summary: I just spent several minutes trying to determine if lemmings or antelopes jump off cliffs. Turns out, neither do—the lemmings thing is a myth. Sometimes there is no point; get right with that.

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Tune: “You Enjoy Myself”

Summary: ‘Nuff said…enjoy The Smatter!

Follow the genesis of an Internet phenomenon and witness the power of overhyped self-promotional hyperlinking here.

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