Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Midwestern alcoholism

Watching American Movie (a documentary about a mulleted independent filmmaker from the Milwaukee suburbs), I was reminded of the phenomenon of Midwestern alcoholism. Supposedly the Midwest is the home of traditional values, but having grown up there, and left, I've realized that a large percentage of these folks are pickled most of the time. Usually it's the sixpack+ of beer after work, but there's also hard liquor, glue, coke, meth, acid, hairspray, whatever. Whatever distracts from the bleakness of forced conformity and the end of youth with thirty more years of crappy jobs and a disintegrating marriage ahead.

I am being hard on the Midwest. But this is just to counter the myth of cleanliness, happiness, and religious piety surrounding the vast center of the country. The heartland is tripping, folks.

In the DVD commentary it sounded like both the main characters in the film had gone straight, so good for them. Maybe seeing themselves on film did the trick. They seemed like intelligent and interesting people, even though the filmmakers made fun of them. Who knows what they could have done in a different place.

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