Bandanas, Badasses and Rock & Roll

There are certain things that naturally go together, right? You know what I mean, like those exam questions designed to test your ability to correlate similar things. The question features a group of related things and one relatively odd thing and you’re supposed to choose which one doesn’t belong in the group. Maybe it’s been a long time since you’ve taken an exam or practiced your personal correlating skills, so here’s an example:

Which one of these things is not like the other?

a. Leader

b. Statesmen

c. President of the United States

d. Dignitary

e. Donald Trump

f. Gentleman

I know, this was an eeeeeasy one, but sometimes they’re a bit trickier and it’s harder to effectively do the correlating, trust me on this. There are always subtleties to consider along with the limited view of our personal knowledge and understanding, but let’s not leap off that stage just yet.

Take Ted Nugent (please) for example. He’s a bandana wearing, badass rock and roller, sterotypically speaking, right? Okay, well, yes, there is a fine line between badass and psycho and to be honest, badass is quite a bit more subjective when you compare it to psycho which covers a whole lot of crazy territory and holds the distinction of being universal slang for batshit cray-cray, excuse me, I mean crazy.


As correlations go, they often rely on our penchant for stereotyping one another.

What would you say if I told you the ‘Nuge’ claims to have never taken a drug or a drink in his life, that he’s a card-carrying, gun-toting member of the NRA and one of Charleston Heston’s favorite sidekicks, as well as, a sweaty, long haired, guitar slingin’ rock and roller who writes songs about cats, okay, I stretched that last one a bit over “Cat Scratch Fever”, but would you say these attributes correlated?

Looking past the red herrings, distractions and distinctions

Let’s practice another correlating question, shall we? You might find this one a little more cagey than the last one, so you’ll want to do your research before answering.

Which one of these is not like the other?

a. Bill Clinton

b. Newt Gingrich

c. Rush Limbaugh

d. The Unknown Soldier

e. Ted Nugent

f. John Wayne

g. Donald Trump

h. Mitt Romney

Speaking of distractions, could someone turn that damn Jeopardy jingle off, for Pete’s sake? I’m trying to correlate here!

Time is up. If you answered anything other than g: The Unknown Soldier (as in the tomb of) consider yourself effectively bamboozled along with the rest of the flag waving, patriotic puddin’ heads because the remainder of these Americans are draft dodgers. That’s right folks, all of them were either too smart, too rich or too privileged to defend and protect the constitution of the United States against enemies both foreign and domestic (I know this last part by heart because I raised my hand for it in 1983). Maybe they were simply luckier than some and their number happened to be skipped or they had a really good medical reason for not being drafted, like self-induced psychosis (hint: “cat scratch fever”).

This is what makes correlating so tricky. Some things which appear the same on the surface actually conform to a different set of criteria underneath. What you see is NOT what you get.

Simply put, the same set of rules and conventions, even in a democracy, do not apply to everyone, but where I hail from they still call this hypocrisy. Hypocrisy does, indeed, rhyme with democracy, same number of syllables and it rolls off the tongue about the same, but that’s as far as the similarities go.

If this little correlating game proves anything, it demonstrates that we, as a reasonably educated and free society cannot continue to take things at face value. I’m just going to go ahead and rip the bandaid off. The days of “What you see, is what you get” have been over for a very long time.

We have an individual obligation to dig deeper for the relative truth in any context which manifests implications and conditions which will fall upon all of humanity regardless of any other distinguishing features which give the illusion of separating us. We can no longer rely on ten-second sound bites, social media, symbology, unbiased journalism and uninformed opinion to make critical decisions. We must do our homework.


Speaking of doing ones homework, I looked up the origin of the bandana and its paisley pattern which became the unlikely iconic symbology passed from one American sub-culture to the next. Care to take a stab at where it came from?

I think you’ll be surprised.

“Buta” Source: Wikipedia
S Lynn Knight, 2016
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