I’ve always been a fan of Kinky’s epigrammatic Texas humor as well as his mucic which was both downhome Texas and surprizingly sophisticated. He recently described himself in an interview with The New York Post as “the bastard son of Bob Wills and Lenny Bruce. That would be gay marriage I guess, but I support gay marriage.”
And in discussing “Ride ‘Em Jewboy”, believed to be the only country and western song about the Holocaust, he said something that rang true: “Jewish eyes are handcuffs. Jews see things differently because of the Holocaust and they don’t look at the world optimistically as Christians do. Jews don’t quite trust the crowd as much.” (On further though I’m not sure “handcuffs” is the right word. Maybe ” dark shades”. Or that Jews are the only people whose suffering has dimmed their optimism. Frankly I don’t think history licenses anybody in this suffering world to feel “optimistic”. Nonetheless it’s thought-provoking and suggests a certain seriosness beneath the barbed banter).
I met him once while I was travelling on Willie Neslon’s bus, while doing a story on Willie during his tax fugitive crisis, and “the Kinkster” as he likes to call himself struck me as not just a witty put-on artist (as the name of his band “Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys” might suggest), but someone incredibly smart and surprizingly, well, solid.
Anyway, he’s running for governor now and I have almost zero influence on the voters of Texas except for the parents of my ex in-laws down in Dallas, who still like me–Hi, Ruth and George!–but I love Texas, and I think it wouuld be one of the most refreshing things to happen in American politics if Kinky won his independent bid.
It’s not impossible. At first even he seemed not to take it too seriously. In addition to writing mysery novels instead of music these days, he runs an animal shelter and originally he said his major campaign plank would be to outlaw the de-clawing of cats. Don’t get me wrong, me and my cat Bruno are totally with him on that. But the recent Post interview suggests that his current surge in the polls (only 12% behind the front- running Repbulican incumbent) suggest he’s thinking of a broader mandate. Indeed let me leave you with one of his more serious-minded political remarks which a lot of politiicans outside Texas could take to heart:
“A politician is looking at the next election. A statesmen is looking at the next generation.”
Ride em Kinky!