Exiled Cultural Philosopher Makes Plug for Southern California Folk Singer-Songwriter
There seems to be a hearty fascination with Hubert Humdinger [pronounced hum-din-jer] both among my American and North Korean audiences. Humdinger is the exiled, infamous cultural philosopher who lives in an undisclosed area of Northern Europe. He contributes advice and insight, from time to time, to Dear Dirty America.
I was quite surprised the other day to learn the stodgy old thinker had been listening to a song he’d found on YouTube. “I put it on repeat, and it goes on and on. I’m in heaven when it’s playing,” he told me over our shaky Skype connection, “even though the poor bastard in the song is in a hellish situation.”
The song is about an unnamed person who gets stuck on his roof as he’s shoveling snow. The narrator’s ladder has fallen, and now the decision is to huddle on the leeward side of the chimney as the frigid North Dakota wind howls past, or take a leap and suffer injury, and possibly freeze in the snow.
“Stuck On the Roof Again” is by Southern California singer songwriter, Tom Brosseau. Brosseau was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and often his songs and albums are about the upper Midwest, and elements or happenings from the area.
“It’s quite a special, morbid little ditty,” Humdinger told me. “Stuck on the roof again,” he said, shaking his head and giving a chuckle. “It’s a pickle.” And he would know. “I’ve shoveled snow off my roof! I’ve nearly knocked down my own ladder and suffered the same dilemma. Jump or freeze. Or both.”
His tastes and preferences in music, among other things, surprises me. Mostly Humdinger is against modern music. “It’s all about mental programming. With their digital tools, today’s popular music is what they called in the olden days a ‘witch’s spell’,” he shouted over Skype. “As a vigilant citizen, I’ve analyzed the pounding pop songs. It’s about brainwashing. Destroying the individual thoughts of a person and adapting them into a hyper-sexual world. It’s about acclimating young people to self-destructive tendencies, such as violence, drugs, alcohol, and a worshiping of the lower, darker energies. It’s an absorption of one’s identity into a sickened cultural hell pit.”
Humdinger says there is authenticity to Mr Brosseau, and the songwriter has become one of his favorites. “Brosseau’s songs are stripped down. No pretenses. No bombast!” Humdinger said. “Just wholesome, down-home, unforgettable musical storytelling.”
The last time we talked about music, the infamous philosopher, who had all his books burned in the early 1970s by an overzealous American government bureaucracy, was listening to a Sufi singer named Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
“Even his name is mellifluous!” Humdinger had said.
[“Power of Music” painting by Leon Noel, 1848]