The city of Boston is like that childhood best friend you introduce to adult friends with repeated reassurances like, "Sometimes he flips over cars when he's drunk, but he's really great" and "Yes, he wears khakis, but he's incredibly liberal thinker" and "No, really, he talks funny, but just give him a chance." And then, you bring him to a cocktail party, he jumps onto a table to scream "Go Sawks!" and pukes in the punch bowl.
Case in point. We were momentarily thrilled that there was a citizen-led campaign to make the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner" the official rock song of Massachusetts. This was very exciting not only because the excellent proto-punk anthem is a truly homegrown tribute to driving on one of the state's more idiosyncratic highways, but also because despite all the positive things that've gone on in the history Boston music—the Cars, Mission of Burma, the birth of Guitar Hero—the state's commitment to "garbage rock," as one wise former resident in the Gawker office put it, is so unwavering, the state insists upon putting forth sonic ambassadors like Aerosmith and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. This was a bid for the state's cultural legacy to be remembered for something beyond, oh, John Cena "rapping."
Except, no. Yesterday, two state reps, Democrats Josh Cutler and James Cantwell, went and filed a bill to make Aerosmith's "Dream On" Massachusetts' official rock song, obstructing the path for the Modern Lovers' uncontested bid. The reasoning? First, Rolling Stone magazine lists "Dream On" among its 500 greatest songs of all time, which in an age when roughly 10,000 listicles are generated a day, hardly seems like a justification for anything.
Second, the State House News Service quoted Cantwell as saying, "With all due respect, Aerosmith is the best-selling American rock band of all time." With all due respect, they aren't. The best-selling American rock band of all time is, by the RIAA's numbers, the Eagles.
Coincidentally, James Cantwell represents Marshfield, the South Shore town where Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer kept a house until 2010, when he sold it for $700,000, according to property records, and apparently moved to Austin. So you know, people don't ruin culture by accident.
Maybe, in the event these guys won't quit, Massachusetts' legislators will be smart enough to follow Colorado's lead: In the wake of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris's mass killing, there was a move to replace A.J. Fynn's 1915 tribute "Where the Columbines Grow" with John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High." Instead, the state adopted them both as anthems. The Bay State has never had a rock song, so why not have two?
But probably not. Massachusetts, we try, and we try, and we try to bring you places. But gawd, you're always so embarrassing.