If history teaches us nothing else, it teaches us the notion of “the good old days” is a myth and a sham. Need proof? Consider Charles Guiteau. He was a piece of work for the ages, one who put our contemporary wingnuts to shame.
David Koresh had nothing on this guy.
Indeed, the 1881 series of events which led to Guiteau’s place in history look absolutely preposterous when viewed through the lenses of today. Yet there they are.
Like many of you I’ve had quite a few cars since I got my driver’s license way back in 1988. Some are remembered more fondly than others. I’d have to say my current ride, a 2004 Ford Focus, is somewhere around the middle of that list. What do I like most about it? It’s paid off.
And it hasn’t had full coverage since.
However, there are a couple vehicles from my past I’d love to have back.
When I was a wee wiseacre in the 2T I learned about the Idaho state emblems. Every state has them. You know, state bird, state flower, state tree, state cottager ….
OK, just kidding about the last one. Maybe.
Like every other state we also have a state song. Some state songs are well-known outside their borders, such as “Georgia on My Mind,” “Home on the Range,” “Oklahoma!” and … “Born to Run.” Seriously, you don’t mess with the Boss in New Jersey.
Our state song is “Here We Have Idaho.” Chances are decent you haven’t heard it, even if you’re from Idaho. There’s a reason for that. It’s bloody awful on every conceivable level.
Oh, the humanity.
Now please don’t think I’m picking on the performers here. There’s simply no way to sing this piece without sounding like you’re clobbering a rabid hyena with a Louisville Slugger. I chose this particular clip because apparently no one else wanted to be caught dead singing the song in its entirety on YouTube.
Just look at how this turd was constructed. The music was composed by a Sallie Hume Douglas in 1915 under the original title of (no kidding) “Garden of Paradise.” A couple years later, the original lyrics were written by a couple of people at the University of Idaho who were unaware of the tune’s provenance. By 1930, two other sets of lyrics were written because, why not?
Finally in 1931 the Idaho Legislature, noted patrons of the arts they are, declared the Douglas tune the state song along with lyrics written by the then-director of music for the Boise Public Schools. In other words, “Here We Have Idaho” was essentially written by a proto-Oprah fan and your elementary school music teacher. I’m somewhat comforted by the fact I’m not the only one to recognize its banality.
Oh but it gets better. The lyric, “Here we have Idaho, winning its way to fame” is bad enough. However, the original lyric was, “Here we have Idaho, scourged on its way to fame.” Wow, you can’t get much more metal than that.
Pictured: scourging your way to fame.
This state needs a lot of work in many ways. However, I think we can agree we need a new state song, one that’s not completely embarrassing. Granted, there’s not a lot out there to go on. I tried looking tonight on YouTube, but I didn’t find much. I did come across a band called Idaho in my search. They’re actually pretty good. Check them out. Unfortunately they wouldn’t work for this purpose, as they’re from California and their most recent album is titled You Were a Dick.
There’s no way that’s getting through this government.
Still, write your legislator. Give Butch a call. Do something. If I give the world one less thing to laugh at us about, I’ve done my job.