Spare mom-and-pop bowling, and they will come

This piece is republished from the new I ♥ Democratic Socialism blog at Daily Kos.  

Yes, I’m for Obamabowl. In fact, I’m for what fairly can be called socialized bowling and other forms of socialized recreational opportunities for working people.

It has been twenty years since academics and opinion leaders started kabuki bemoaning the fact that more and more Americans were bowling alone. Meanwhile, both in dilapidated downtowns and out in the dusty and rusty parts of the so-called “real America” which politicians supposedly care so much about, mom-and-pop bowling centers (even those in the former leading and now bankrupt AMF chain, which put the pinboys out of work) are closing down.

Poor folk who can’t pay the light bill have a hard time paying for entertainment with discretionary funds that aren’t there. If you can’t get a driver’s license because of your court costs, it is hard to get down to the bowling alley and pay the lane costs and bowl alone much less to join a league with cool shirts and buy a modern bowling ball of your own:

Reactive resin is the coverstock formulation that fundamentally changed bowling. Compared to the urethane coverstocks they replaced, reactive resin covers produce significantly more friction with the lane surface, resulting in very big back end motions, increased entry angle into the pocket, and improved pin carry.

With the exception of a small number of urethane balls that are now available, almost all mid-range to high performance bowling balls on the market today have reactive resin coverstocks. While each and every reactive resin coverstock is unique, manufacturers typically classify their covers into one of three groups: reactive solid, reactive pearl, or reactive hybrid.

The modified and more optimistic theory that post-9/11 we were still bowling alone but perhaps uniting in new happy days ways such as Facebook is giving way to a more full recognition by Robert Putnam, and the masses, that economic inequality is at the root of the social capital problem.

Are we supposed to just stand there in our gym socks with holes in them, cook meth, and watch the sport of the Egyptians die?

A British anthropologist, Sir Flinders Petrie, discovered in the 1930’s a collection of objects in a child’s grave in Egypt that appeared to him to be used for a crude form of bowling. If he was correct, then bowling traces its ancestry to 3200 BC.

The right has no answer, other than more class and race-based discrimination and more neolibowlism, of course, including tax subsidies for corporations. Presumably, we will not go out on strike if we can’t even try to make a strike.

The trend in bowling is to bring in the prosperous and keep out the riff raff, through pricing and other barriers to entry, including, at one up-scale bowling chain , a dress code that suggests who should not be coming inside:

Dress Code

Since the beginning Lucky Strike has been dedicated to a unique upscale style that combines fun and hip. Therefore Neat, Casual Fitted Attire is required.

We will continually strive to accommodate those whose style and imagination suit our environment but ask that you please refrain from wearing the following:
Athletic wear of any kind including shorts, jerseys, sweats, & hoodies (Call Venue for Game day exceptions)
Headgear (Exceptions for stylish hats)
Sleeveless T-shirts
Plain white T-shirts
Chains
Ripped or soiled clothing
Excessively baggy clothing (Tuck-ins not permitted)
Work boots (Seasonal exceptions)
No Motorcycle/Gang Colors
Joggers

Dress code may vary by location, call venue for details.

I’m for taking some of the money we already spend on the drug war and our numerous other wars, literal and figurative, and the capitalist industrial complexes that sponge off them, and assuring that working people have a decent place to go for fun on a Saturday night.

Call me a left-wing loon (I am usually three strikes short of a turkey), but we have tremendous investment of public resources in providing predominately older whiter wealthier males places to golf, sometime for blatantly racist reasons.

Capital City Country Club was bathed in controversy for years. In 1956, in an attempt to avoid racial integration, the city granted a 99-year lease, at $1 per year, to a private group of members. The move led to a series of lawsuits over the years and the lingering impression the club had membership restrictions.

We even use vast sums of public money to subsidize a chain of NRA-buddying “destination” sporting good stores which discriminate against African American and Hispanic applicants, and which are, ironically bringing with them expensive new aquarium-themed restaurant-bowling hybrids.

I could not give a f$$k about Johnny Morris’s Uncle Buck.

Fred and Barney, Laverne and Shirley, the Dude, Donny (of I forgot, he died), and Walter Sobchak can’t afford to bowl anymore and increasingly have fewer traditional bowling alleys in which to ply their crafty hobby. Happy endings should not be restricted to sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll:

Walter and the Dude go to the beach to scatter Donny’s ashes. Walter turns an informal eulogy into a tribute to the Vietnam War. After accidentally covering the Dude with Donny’s ashes, Walter hugs him and says, “Come on. Fuck it, man. Let’s go bowling.” At the bowling alley, the story’s narrator (Sam Elliott) tells the camera that Maude is pregnant with a “little Lebowski”.

I was going to write a personal reflection on bowling as a way of connecting with the cherished bowlers of my past, especially how I always think of my cousin David every time I go into a bowling alley, and how I wish I had gone with him that last time when he, so sick, asked me to go with him and his partner to bowl, and how I politely passed, what a chicken shit ignorant moran I was, as if I would somehow catch the disease he had or be invited to do things on South Beach, and two months later I was going to his funeral. But, I’ll save the Nostalgiarama.

For now, I will say in David’s honor, if you want us to unite, let us bowl mutherf$$kers.

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