To help celebrate our twenty-fifth year of being on the information superhighway, we have reached out to some of our current and former columnists for check-ins and updates. Today’s columnist, John Moe, is a long-time, hall-of-fame contributor to the Internet Tendency. His Pop Song Correspondences first appeared on our site in 2004. In 2014, he put out an entire (and hilarious) book of them. We’re happy to have John back on the site today with a brand-new letter.
Dear Mayor Slick,
The Indiana Department of Safety has contracted my firm to evaluate the causes of the ineffective city government and crumbling infrastructure in and around the city of Rocknrollsburg (formerly Fort Wayne). We have been performing inspections and attending city government meetings or “concerts” for several months, and we present here a summary of our findings.
We are still unclear as to why the state ceded the city to a rock band from California, but that is not ours to judge. The condition of the city, however, is ours to judge, and the condition is very bad.
In our professional opinion, the problem stems from the fact that you built, or rather rebuilt this city on rock and roll. Not on reliable public works projects, not on sound fiscal management, not on community consensus and engagement, but on rock and roll, which is a musical form and not a legitimate method of city planning and management.
Here are some of the things we noticed:
- The overpass collapse on Aboite Center Road, out by Lutheran Hospital, was definitely due to it being built entirely out of electric guitars. Those are not effective load-bearing guitars, Mayor Slick. They are regular guitars and cannot hold up cars. People could have died.
- We have a term we use in our industry: “hoopla.” It means raw sewage. And it’s a big problem in Rocknrollsburg. Large sections of the sewers were rebuilt out of drum kits and amplifiers, which was just a huge mistake. So now, we’re fighting a losing battle against hoopla. When the musical gear fails, as it inevitably does, lower-elevation parts of the city are ankle-deep in hoopla. And sometimes it’s worse than that.
- Guitar Center has neither the experience nor expertise to fulfill the civic infrastructure contracts it was awarded without a bidding process. Plus, have you met the guys who work at Guitar Center? You don’t want them in charge of things.
- The IT systems have all been integrated with synthesizers and drum machines, a step that needlessly complicates the city’s online efforts. City employees all needed to be trained on how to use the new equipment, and that was a long learning curve to no clear beneficial end. The computer networks don’t run any better; they have a kind of hollow, new wave, soft rock sound to them now that, frankly, sucks.
- In your recent address to the city, you implored people to “listen to the radio,” but given your edict to blare classic rock radio from large speakers around the city, your citizens have no choice.
Now, the good news is that many of the issues in the city can be fixed. As I have explained, exasperated, at countless city council meetings, we can bring in corporations to undo the damage you have caused. Reliable and respected corporations. But my entreaties fall on deaf ears, both figuratively and literally, because of, again, the blaring rock and roll music you insist on playing at all times on massive speakers. When you do respond to the corporation idea, you claim that I am playing “corporation games.” And I’m not. I’m merely trying to save the city you recklessly built on rock and roll. As for your claim that my position is irrelevant because corporations are always changing names, well, that’s immaterial, and I think you were just going for a rhyme.
Marconi Civic Engineering Consultants
P.S. We were especially annoyed when we learned that you ordered all airplanes at Rocknrollsburg International Airport to be referred to as starships. “Airplane” is a perfectly nice name for these things, but “starship” just sounds stupid.