Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PSP Really Does Want To Help You Understand Arizona, And Unrepentantly Admits That Failure Is Inevitable

Do Not Play On or Around: Your teentastic host emerging from a dumpster at "The End of Alvernon," Tucson, ca. 1984-5 (photo probably by Sam Friedman or Jeff Farr).

It's true! I have every intention of taking a strongly Arizona-centric detour on this blog for at least the next several months. I want to make one thing clear: this is not about Arizona-bashing and certainly not from a standpoint of "what a dump; I'm so glad I moved away from there." Nothing could be further from the truth. This will not resemble, for instance, "The People of Walmart," a website I think is evil and horrible and makes me sad and angry (at the people who publish it). It also won't resemble The New Republic, which simply dismisses the state as a bad job and then washes its hands, thinking its work is done. To be honest, I can't really express a coherent opinion about the state because it's such an ingrown part of me that it would be foolish to pretend I could be objective. Arizona just is: there are things about it that are awful; things about it that are breathtaking; things about it that are peculiar and make you feel funny. But you can't make sense of it all unless you... oh, what the heck, you can't make sense of it all period, but it's still worth the attempt.

Photo by AC Huestis, click for bigger.

I have plenty of old ephemera and photographs I've taken and/or collected over the years, and I'm hoping to also feature more photos by Sparkle Sibling Andrew (see above and here). I hope other Arizona Pony Pals™ (hint, Nixie Bunny, hint) past and present will feel free to contribute as well.

So anyway, stay tuned for probably too much Arizona, because you may as well capitalize upon something you know. The place is getting a ton of press lately, and there's just such a "they don't get it" quality to it all, I know I can help! And by "help" I mean "muddle the waters more." Don't expect me to actually explain anything outright; think of it more as color commentary.

Above and below – two views of a very political and stylish encampment of elderly homeless at an abandoned gas station, 22nd Street and Park Avenue, Tucson, 1986. Click for bigger.

UPDATE: I think I'm going to go ahead and implement a Draconian™ "no simplistic Arizona-bashing comments" policy, because we've all already said "this new law sucks blah, blah, blah," so there's no reason for this boring stuff to get repeated and minutely varied endlessly on and on, OK? So if you comment something along the lines of OMG, have you heard they're all racists because of new legislation? I'm going to delete it.


Madduane said...

can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Stylish homeless elders? Who knew?

Awesome pics, thanks!

sagetyrtle said...

A suit! A WHITE SUIT! I am enchanted. (Also, looking forward to what you have to say about Arizona.)

John said...


Isn't it funny how California can pass some horrifying anti-immigrant proposition or anti-gay referendum and people say, "how could this happen in our perfect, progressive, wonderful state?" but when the exact same thing happens in Arizona (or here in Texas) people say, "See, this PROVES that every single person in that state is horrible!"?

Mostly my take away from this is, "People are really stupid, aren't they?"

Matty Boy said...

As far as I can recall, I've never been to Arizona, though I live in California (Northern), and I've visited all the states that surround it on work assignments.

I only know one reliable thing about the state.

It's a dry heat.

Peteykins said...

It's a dry heat.

Which is, of course, as unreliable as everything else people "know" about Arizona.

samael7 said...

My partner was born and raised in Phoenix. Much of his family still lives there, and he's a newcomer to Cali, and he still visits home a lot, especially since his mom just had surgery. He's 1/2 Mexican-American, 1/2 Czech-American.

I say that for nothing more as a prelude to, "This will be interesting." I'll be sure to send him your way, heh.

Karen Zipdrive said...

As a person who holds dual citizenship in Texas and California, I spent my childhood in the backseat of whatever land yacht my parents were driving that year, shlepping between LA and San Antonio on IH10 twice a year.
We always got speeding tickets in Arizona. Always.
Once I got a ticket for "riding the median" because I was trying to avoid the boulders rolling down the hills onto the road.
Also, one summer when it hit 124 degrees in Scottsdale at my aunt's house, I'm pretty sure my brain got damaged.
So I am no johnny come lately to the I hate Arizona party. I've hated it since I was 6.

Peteykins said...

Again, I'm getting the feeling that people think I "hate" Arizona, which I certainly do not. And also, to reiterate, PSP's Arizona coverage will likewise not be about "hating" Arizona.

It simply isn't that black 'n' white.

Anonymous said...

All I know about Arizona comes from the extremely beautiful Willa Cather novel, "Death comes for the archbishop". Which, I believe, is really about New Mexico, but same difference, right?

HRH King Friday XIII, Ret. said...

This is an awesome feature. Love it!

Karen Zipdrive said...

Au contrare, Petey. I get the impression you like Arizona. I'm just pleased you allow those of us who don't the space to explain why.

Peteykins said...

I recommend visiting. There's so much to see!

Karen Zipdrive said...

The best view of Arizona is when you're in a car doing 90, whizzing down IH-10. You look out the window and see a blur of beige.