I wasn’t even thinking about the legislature’s vote today on making the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize” the state rock song when I took this photo. I, like many people, assumed the legislature would simply follow the will of the people who voted for this honor.
Yeah, I should have known better. Back when I covered politics, the big topic of the day was the creation of home rule in county government. Bryan Dean and I had exposed numerous examples of fraud, corruption, nepotism, cronyism and waste in just Oklahoma County alone. Similar situations were poping up across the state. Home rule would have simply allowed voters to overhaul county government and make it more professional, ala city manager form of municipal government.
Legislators held hearings, county officials wore buttons saying “county government works” and before you know it, the issue was buried never to be heard from again.
Here’s the big secret, friends – you can’t trust Republicans or Democrats. Corruption, abuse of power and ignorance knows no bounds.
So, we have the deal with UCO’s Contemporary Academy of Music, aligned with London’s program, moving forward with construction underway for the classrooms on the top floor of Bricktown’s Oklahoma Hardware Building.
It’s a big deal for Bricktown and downtown in terms of potential economic development and the city’s national and international image.
And who’s in the heart of the deal? Scott Booker, manager of the Flaming Lips. It was on an icy evening at LIT a couple years Scott first told me of his dream for this project. He loves Oklahoma City. That same evening I visited with Wayne Coyne and learned first hand he too loves Oklahoma City.
Do they agree with everybody’s politics? No. Do they expect everyone to agree with their politics? No.
I’m not a music historian. But I wonder if Memphis or Tennessee was as rude to Elvis Presley after he became an international star and he was using his celebrity to benefit his hometown? I wonder if Liverpool disowned The Beatles. I wonder if New Jersey disowned Bruce Springsteen. I know, I know very, very well that Oyster Bay, Long Island never disowned Billy Joel.
What do all these musicians have in common? They’re iconic, they have international followings and they all love their hometowns, warts and all, and they’ve all tried to use their celebrity to bring economic development back to their communities.
Guy Liebmann, what say you? Would you have really fought construction of a Flaming Lips theme restaurant and museum in Ward 8 as its councilman? Jeff Hickman, would you have told David Boren not to allow the Flaming Lips to perform at OU or teach a course with their friends? Mike Shelton, did your stint with Jim Roth teach you to not show up for contested votes?(NOTE: I never saw Roth miss any votes when I covered him)
Yeah, I”m picking on you guys. Because I know you. Maybe I’ll share what I know with readers.
In the meantime, please don’t let anyone try to honor Kristen, Vince or Toby. Stick to honoring flowers and birds.