By Lin Brehmer

Jeanne Platt asked “Why is a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac a bad thing?”

Futile as the gesture may be, we want the world to make sense.
We want flowers in May and ice cream in August.
We’d like health care to care.
We want our Ethics Committees to demonstrate that their political decisions have been ethical.

We believe there are things that just don’t go together.
An Aaron Rogers bobble head at Halas Hall.
A folksinger covering Michael Jackson.

If we have presumptions, we would like them carried out.
We enjoy our beauty queens vapid and confused.

We want our songwriters disheveled and intense.

We have cognitive expectations.
When a professional football player speaks well in an interview, some people will laud the athlete for being articulate. Why? Because it’s easy to surrender to the narrative where the athlete skirts academic requirements in college and makes it to the pros as a punch drunk anti-intellectual.

We’re really talking about stereotypes. That dangerous assessment where we have made a judgement about a person before we have met them.
A judgement where we use the phrase those people as in, those people are some bad hombres.
We collate people into folders for our convenience. We assign behaviors.

If you ever went to the old Sam’s Wine, you might have happened across a giant of a man, an African American in camouflage pants with piercings and tattoos. And you might have guessed, he’s the guy who’ll carry my wine to the car. Except you guessed wrong. That’s Sir Charles. Knighted in France for his elite knowledge of Champagne. Employed to purchase champagne for one of the great wine shops. A man hired to conduct champagne tastings on the North Shore.
As we know, guessing wrong has become a matter of life and death.

And what’s wrong with a deadhead sticker on a Cadillac?

The Grateful Dead epitomized the ethos of the unwashed revolutionary. They created the anthems for the sunny counter-culture. But we all grow up one way or another. And the children of the dead woke up in real jobs. CEO’s who vacationed at The Pyramids with The Dead.
The captains of industry bowing to the legacy of captain trips.

So there it is. A Deadhead sticker. We expect to see that on a VW bug or at least on a fuel efficient hybrid. Instead, we see the Deadhead sticker on the great American status symbol. A Cadillac.

Is this an ache for a lost vision? Is this an indictment of the radical who sold out?
Or is it as simple as coming to terms with things that don’t go together.

We like to tell people whether or not they are allowed to join the conversation. Why are you talking about this? I don’t expect this from you.

The best thing we can do in this world is defy expectations. It’s up to other people to keep up.


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