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Something about the honesty being too something, sometimes
February 16, 2009 10:22 AM   Subscribe

"It did feel a little isolating at the time, having atheist parents who thought skiing was a pretentious extravagance, believed America should stay out of Vietnam and regarded Valentine's Day and Mother's Day as 'meretricious, capitalist flim-flam.' " Daniel Grafton Hill IV (better known as this guy) remembers growing up with Daniel Grafton Hill III in a progressive, over-achieving, mixed-raced family. Meanwhile, the Hill father-son saga takes an ominous turn in the next generation.
posted by grounded (30 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
That video was hilarious. His body has no rhythm and that drummer is enjoying himself a little too much.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 10:37 AM on February 16, 2009


Huh. I am a III, and an atheist parent who thinks skiing is a pretentious extravagance, believes America should have stayed out of Vietnam (and Iraq), and regards Valentine's Day and Mother's Day as meretricious, capitalist flim-flam, and am raising my son, IV, accordingly.

Fortunately, my family is neither notably over-acheiving nor mixed-race. So the kids will probably be ok shouldering just the load of "progressive."
posted by rusty at 10:43 AM on February 16, 2009


rusty: and an atheist parent who thinks skiing is a pretentious extravagance

I'm kind of curious about this one. Why skiing?
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:10 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Skiing is for white people. Duh.
posted by signalnine at 11:13 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Interesting articles, thanks for posting.

...But Gawd, what a horrible song that was.
posted by applemeat at 11:23 AM on February 16, 2009


I and my forefathers have been roman numerals for generations.

I will be naming my child using dewey decimals though, in an act of obstreperous rebellion against the partriarchal hegemonic normative society.
posted by freebird at 11:44 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to decide whether, in the battle of pretentious names, D. Dipshit Douchebag is more or less so than Distressed Douchebag III, or whether always using a middle name, Distressed Dipshit Douchebag, is tops. Maybe a combo? D. Dipshit Douchebag III? Please help.
posted by maxwelton at 11:55 AM on February 16, 2009


It cannot be a coincidence that I just heard Dan Hill give an interview and live performance on CBC radio (about one hour ago).

I only caught the last 15 minutes but he talked only of his father. The host asked him why he had stopped writing songs in 2003, and he said, choking up, that he had been writing songs to win his father's approval, but didn't realize it until his father died. Writing his book kept his father alive to him and allowed him to recover his creativity. His book is called "I am my father's son" and he performed a song of the same name. It was schmaltzy, but touching.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:03 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


My lefty grandmother had no problem with skiing, but she was utterly opposed to ski lifts. She thought if you were going to enjoy the fun of skiing down the mountain, you ought to do the work of getting up the mountain first. She'd been involved in revolutionary socialist outdoors groups back in Austria, which may be where she developed this attitude.
posted by craichead at 12:05 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, c’mon guys, all athiests hate skiing. It’s all ball bearings now.

I don’t get the whole ‘it’s ok you’re extorting my son’ thing. Maybe it’s a rich guy deal. I don’t know. But were I outmatched like this they’d be damned lucky if I did call the cops. Everyone sleeps. Maybe that’s a bit too ghetto. But someone robs me or my kid - that better be the last time I ever see that son of a bitch. Especially showing that kind of disrespect to my family. Clench your hand near my wife? Uh uh. Much less threaten to slit her throat? And only *then* you call the cops?
What’s this guy doing he can’t put 100% of his focus on this situation? I could be in NASA orbiting the Earth and I’d drop the shuttle out of orbit and come home to straighten this out. I’d be asking for help from everyone and their brother, cops, gang units, social workers, if I had the kind of money this guy apparently has I’d have a private investigator. I’d humble myself to any level, accept any advice I think would fix the situation. I’d look within myself as well. Hell, I might even have a family therapist, but I wouldn’t be asking him for tactical details. Oh, time to move. The bad guys are just too tough.
But there’s no substitute for being there.

Plus this ‘no snitching’ culture. I don’t know, we’ve had discussions here about policing in general. But it seems to me this is a pretty harmful social trend. It certainly makes sense at certain times and places. Sometimes going to the police is not an option. But it’s become a wannabe bad-guy affectation most places at best, and even then it is, at least in part, an implicit threat which plays into the hands of the folks who actually are outlaws. And kids like this think they can have it both ways - live in the nice house, but live the gangster lifestyle.

Other than that, the ‘NDP Great Santini’ is a great line.

But yeah, skiing, how gauche. Surfing - now there’s an activity that only obliquely takes advantage of the Earth’s gravity in order to move laterally with little friction for the sake of entertainment and is therefore morally upright.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:16 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


The host asked him why he had stopped writing songs in 2003, and he said, choking up, that he had been writing songs to win his father's approval, but didn't realize it until his father died. that it's because he is a terrible, terrible song writer.
posted by shmegegge at 12:29 PM on February 16, 2009


I dreamed I saw Dan Hill last night
Alive as you or me
I said to him, what's with that sled?
"I don't approve of ski,
"I don't approve of ski".
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:31 PM on February 16, 2009 [14 favorites]


My lefty grandmother had no problem with skiing, but she was utterly opposed to ski lifts. She thought if you were going to enjoy the fun of skiing down the mountain, you ought to do the work of getting up the mountain first.

Funny, my socialist European immigrant grandmother believes the same thing.

Oh, and (lift/cat/heli accessed downhill) skiing isn't just a pretentious extravagance, it's the best pretentious extravagance.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:43 PM on February 16, 2009


What’s this guy doing he can’t put 100% of his focus on this situation?

I think therein lies a significant portion of the problem, which he seems to admit. I think that he may have let his kid run wild both because he was an inattentive parent and because he excused too much in the name of his son's "dramatic and perilous journey to come to grips with his mixed-race identity." You can let your kid be friends with every color of the rainbow without letting them be friends with a bunch of punk ass Canadian wannabe gangstas that are going to steal your shit. This dude should have nipped his son's "dramatic and perilous journey to come to grips with his mixed-race identity" in the bud early on:

Son: "I'm from the streets!"
Father: "Here you are moptop home sweet home. The hood. Alright little fella, say hello to your people for me. And when you see em' tell em' Leonard Washington's glad he made it out. Go on."

From here at 3:11.
posted by ND¢ at 1:07 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mitrovarr: Just quoting the intro copy. I'm not sure about "pretentious" actually. I mainly think skiing is a waste of money. You can snowshoe for free. I also think many other things are pretentious extravagances, I don't just have a thing about skiing.
posted by rusty at 1:13 PM on February 16, 2009


Snowshoeing is so boring.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:19 PM on February 16, 2009


This guy makes Dan Fogelberg look like Lemmy.
posted by applemeat at 1:19 PM on February 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


Are we talking downhill skiing only? I cross-countried for years as a kid, and a less pretentious activity, and group of people1, would be hard to find.

1: yrs truly excepted
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:22 PM on February 16, 2009


are you guys really going to go on about skiing?
wow.

thanks for posting this, grounded. the piece by hill on his son's troubles really has me thinking. i grew up in a similar situation (oil money and pop stars around) and a lot of kids i knew then didn't make it past their teen aged years. and all of the drama took place in a racially mixed area of tulsa, oklahoma. we all had the bad or missing dad thing going and i can't believe how little time i time i managed to spend in jail.

not all of my friends, associates and enemies were so lucky. some folks i miss. some shit i'm glad i survived and, like hill, when certain situations and certain people ceased to be i breathed a sigh of relief.
posted by artof.mulata at 1:57 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lemurrhea: If I'm making the rules here, and I think that I am, cross-country is exempted. And snowshoeing is not boring. I mean, it can be, but it's all in where you're snowshoeing. Choose your location well. Downhill skiing in a corn field is boring too.
posted by rusty at 1:59 PM on February 16, 2009


artof.mulata: If you want something about the actual post, I read the Maclean's article, and found it written in that peculiarly neutral mode that parental memoirs about their wayward children so often are, where there's no apparent reason for the kid to go off the rails, it just happens. At best, as here, there's some hand-waving about "exploring his identity" etc. As usual, I'm not buying it.

Here we go: "It was precisely that success that, to some degree, alienated my son — partly because, throughout the first dozen years of his life, I was working for long stretches of time out of the country."

"...to some degree..." "...partly because..."

Sounds like Dad was absent, and son wanted to punish him for it. And as such, it's not any more interesting a story than the millions of others just like it, where Dad is absent because he's a drunk or in jail, or whatever. If Dan Hill wanted to come out and examine honestly why his son is the way he is, that might make an interesting story. This one isn't it.
posted by rusty at 2:19 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


“I want to hold you ‘till I die” is a pretty scary lyric if you think about it.
*Gasp! Gasp!*
Oh God! Let me go! Please!
*Hnnnnngh!* *choke* (fluids erupt from orifices)
Ahhh! Let go of me!
*HNNNGH!*
To be fair, maybe he didn’t have a whole zombie thing in mind.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:16 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of curious about this one. Why skiing?

Well, he was born in 1954. The big boom in American skiing came after WWII with the development of luxury resorts that imitated European models and competed for the patronage of the Hollywood elite (source). It was really only later that skiing opened up a bit.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:27 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


If we go with this definition of 'meretricious':

3. pertaining to or characteristic of a prostitute.

Then it gives the quote a whole different slant. Other than that, I fail to see how skiing could be tawdry or insincere. You have to go down a god damn mountain on two pieces of wood (or polycarbonate). You do something wrong you end up Sonny Bono. Now, snowboarding...most of those poseurs care more about what their board looks like. THAT is meretricious. (I'm a snowboarder...I kid).
posted by spicynuts at 4:09 PM on February 16, 2009


This guy makes Dan Fogelberg look like Lemmy.

Heh.
posted by dhartung at 4:45 PM on February 16, 2009


Man, Dan Hill. I'm sorry for his trouble; but I'm not prepared to forgive him for "Sometimes When We Touch".
posted by steambadger at 5:14 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


thanks rusty; i did read the maclean's article and i actually got into it.

my dad was around and so were the folks of a lot of other kids i ran with. and some weren't. but we got into all kinds of trouble. nobody was necessarily attempting to punish their folks. that might be the case for our protagonist, but then again maybe not.

maybe the kid was just high on voyeurism. maybe those kids he hooked up with were just more fun. maybe he was sick of the world he grew up in and was exploring other options.

and maybe it's a lil bit o' both.
posted by artof.mulata at 5:35 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I puke at the song, but understand what he was doing. Young artists get into nasty holes and we sneer at them later. This is why I get all heebiegeebie when I see an artistic kid get all " I want to reach the world". It will be shit. The video showed me somebody trying to express something descent, but the strings came in and the muzak won.
He was a kid, and then he had a kid. God bless. We grow up when we absolutely have no choice. I hope that I will try that hard.
posted by qinn at 2:47 AM on February 17, 2009


“I'm not prepared to forgive him for "Sometimes When We Touch".”

It’s better if you mentally replace Harry Cary singing it.
“At times I'd like to break you
And dr-eye-ve you to your knees
At times I'd like to break through
And hold you end...less..lee ... hey everybody, did you know ‘endlessly’ spelled backwards is ‘e-less ned’? Kinda like ‘shoeless Joe’ Jackson. heh heh. Except Ned Hanlon managed the Reds. Fly ball to deep left cent...uh, where was I?
Steve Stone: “ ‘At times I understand you...’”
Wha?
Stone: “ ‘And I know how hard you've tried...’”
No, that’s...*shuffles cards* This song is brought to you by Bud-weye-sr. The king of beers... And sometimes when we touch, The honesty's too much...let me hear ya in the stands!
posted by Smedleyman at 11:40 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that, Smedleyman. Every time I hear that song and don't become physically ill, I'll raise a silent toast to you.
posted by steambadger at 9:14 AM on February 18, 2009


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