Favorite

Complaints 

The Observer has engaged in some egregiously bad science lately, from atop a skirtless kayak skimming the surface of the Great Backwash of Carpenter Dam, the twin sister of Lake Catherine sprung fully formed from the thigh of Arkansas Power & Light: Lake Hamilton. That is to say, we've scoured the perimeter of the alternately soupy and craggy shore in an act of pure confirmation bias, favorably noting evidence to support an assumption we've harbored for years: that the construction of recreational homes has veered sharply away from its mission statement, eschewing the very naturalistic assets for which homeowners staked out lakeside territory in the first place shade, tranquility, privacy.

The New Guard bursts forth in the only way it knows how, clearing the blackgum and shortleaf pine and laying down windowless red-brick behemoths over the exposed clay loam, only to discover that the scene, bereft of foliage, looks rather naked, at which point younger replacements are brought in to shade a patio, meticulously mulched to accelerate their resemblance to their uprooted predecessors. (We can't help but wonder if, in what is a symbol of either poetic injustice or cyclical beauty, the twiggy upstarts are protected at their bases by remnants of that same old growth, hauled off, ground into chips, dyed red or brown and bagged and shelved for purchase at the Lowe's off of Hot Springs' Central Avenue.) A freewheeling lime green jet ski peels by the "slow down" warning buoy bobbing up and down at the entrance to the cove, leaving it looking for all the world like the pedestrian at the street corner whose suit has just been splashed with mud; jaw dropped, red-faced, seething, gesturing wildly at the "No Wake" warning across its chest. Beams of high wattage outdoor lighting make the moonlight look downright dumpy by comparison. Hammocks are anchored to poles erected on concrete pads until the new trees are strong enough to hold them up.

And, interspersed between McMansions, the Old Guard peers hesitantly out from behind the treeline like cartoon eyes in the dark. A-frames from the 1970s tread lightly, prudently, clinging to the hillside, extending an ugly, unpainted toe toward the foot of the spongy water in the form of an aging dock. Cinder block and wooden houses occupy a scant quarter of the property on which they lie, and landscaping means bagging up leaves once a year or so. Past-their-prime canoes and wooden paddles hide under rudimentary carports. Fishing implements are hung from nails on the undersides of dock covers, battered by the elements.

Sure, the gathering of this sensory data admits an inherently biased hypotheses, and probably a self-righteous air of stodgy fist-shaking at The Sheer Audacity of These Johnny-Come-Latelys, not to mention the hypocrisy of critiquing a Manifest Destiny sense of privilege from a place of only-slightly-less-privilege, but given the choice between a johnboat patched up with gobfuls of J-B Weld and the gleaming green jet ski, give us the johnboat.

On another note: The Dixie Chicks played a two hour show at Verizon Arena on Friday night before an admiring crowd that had longed to see the Chicks even now, years after they made their last recording. It was a wonderful night — though the black-and-white pop art and Rohrschach blots threatened to send some of us into grand mal seizures — and especially when all 9,000 in attendance lustily sang "Goodbye Earl" with the Chicks. "Earl had to die, goodbye Earrrrrrl!" The thing about "Goodbye Earl," in which an abusive husband gets his just desserts, is its cathartic effect for women, who know restraining orders are no protection. Take that, you bastard! Those black-eyed peas, they tasted all right to me, Earrrrrl! Maybe none of us would actually kill the asshole, but we can sing about it, can't we?

On Sunday morning, we read a story in the newspaper about a judge who asked a teenage rape victim why she couldn't have just kept her knees together. And we pictured all the women in the courtroom, singing: Ain't it dark wrapped up in that tarp, juuuudge?

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Addendum

    he Observer has our regrets, just like everybody else. For example: last week, Yours Truly published a cover story on the increasingly ugly fight over Eureka Springs' Ordinance 2223, which is designed to protect a bunch of groups — including LGBTQ people — from discrimination in housing, employment, accommodations, cake buying, browsing, drinking, gut stuffery, knickknack purchasing, general cavorting, funny postcard mailing and all the other stuff one tends to get up to in the weirdest, friendliest, most magical little town in the Ozarks.
    • Apr 30, 2015
  • Snake stories

    The Observer's boss, Uncle Alan, is something of a gentleman farmer on his spread up in Cabot, growing heirloom tomatoes and watermelons and crops of chiggers on property that looks like the perfect farmstead Lenny and George often fantasized about in "Of Mice and Men."
    • Aug 27, 2015

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Arkansas Democrats' rocky road forward

    No state political party in the modern era has had a more abrupt fall than Arkansas's Democrats
  • Child welfare too often about 'punishing parents,' DCFS consultant tells legislators

    Reforms promised by the Division of Children and Family Services are "absolutely necessary," the president of DCFS's independent consultant told a legislative committee this morning. But they still may not be enough to control the state's alarming growth in foster care cases.
  • Donald Trump taps Tom Price for HHS Secretary; Medicaid and Medicare cuts could be next

    The selection of Tom Price as HHS secretary could signal that the Trump administration will dismantle the current healthcare safety net, both Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Fake economics

    Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.

Latest in The Observer

  • Writers blocked

    OK, back to basics, Observer. Get hold of yourself. Give the people what they want, which is escapism! If you don't, this column is eventually just going to devolve into The Prophecies of Hickstradamus at some point in the next four years: "The Orange Vulture perches in the fig tree. The great snake eats Moonpies and Royal Crown Cola by starlight ..." That kind of thing. Nobody likes that. Too much deciphering and such.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Cassandra

    The Observer's grandfather on our mother's side was a crackerjack fella. Grew up in the sandy hills north of Conway. County boy, through and through. During hog-killing time in December 1941, the story in our family goes, when word of Pearl Harbor reached his little community, he and his friends loaded into his T-model truck and made the rough journey to the first speck of civilization that included an Army recruiting office, where they all enlisted.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • Lessons from Standing Rock

    A Fayetteville resident joins the 'water protectors' allied against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • Vive la resistance!

    House Minority Leader Michael John Gray wants to chair the Democratic Party of Arkansas. His plan to lead the party back to relevance: Start listening to Arkansas again.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Vive la resistance!

    • We are not asking you to place a stent in the Democrats Heart nor to…

    • on December 4, 2016
  • Re: Vive la resistance!

    • Finally! A young person who is truly interested in listening to the working people of…

    • on December 4, 2016
  • Re: Vive la resistance!

    • Isn't Asa Hutchinson up for re-election 2018?????? Maybe Donald will offer Asa a job in…

    • on December 4, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation