Roseanne & The Mariachi

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 28 Apr 2024

"What happened to the days where guitarists were gods, like
my ancestors?  Technology has crushed us and robbed
us of our culture.  Turning us into machines."
El Mariachi


I love Roseanne.  Her trademark laugh and sardonic wit were part of the prime-time TV living room soundscape of my high school years, and I always got a laugh out of her razor-sharp slacker family.  The moonbat neighbor (sister?) played by Steppenwolf alum Laurie Metcalf, the jaded, overworked (but not oafish or Homerically-stupid) husband played by John Goodman, and of course the supercute badass slacker daughter played by Sara Gilbert, who was my type all the way.  She was smoking hot to my adolescent Gen X mind, but the statute of limitations on my public crucifixion for saying so has expired.  She's only 2 years younger than me.

Smokin', like I said.


I haven't followed Roseanne at all, but have been peripherally aware that she's kept her edge.  I also saw out of the corner of my eye that she had a massive falling out with Sara Gilbert, which put a painful dent in my own personal pop culture phrenology.  The Metallica and Nintendo portions of my brain were smoked away decades ago, but traces of chicks and TV remain.  So I was sad to hear that Sara Gilbert did whatever it was that she did to Roseanne.  Roseanne is cool.  What's up, Sara Gilbert?  You got a problem with....

Whatever.  I don't care.


I've been binging on Roseanne's podcast lately, and am enjoying it very much.  Roseanne rocks.  Anyone who can maintain their tough, working-class mom vibe after decades of working in Hollywood must be cool.  Her guests exist in the crazy solar core of cultural relevance itself, from JP Sears to James O'Keefe to Marjorie Taylor Greene, and beyond.  Her son is the rational, intelligent, post-hip Gen X foil that keeps the sometimes-batty Roseanne anchored to solid ground.  The chemistry is real, and unlike much online content, which feels like angry homework that crushes your heart and soul like a used soda can, Roseanne's podcast is actually enjoyable to listen to and watch.  I have completely lost my faith in gringo culture, but I find weird, benevolent insects creeping under the door of my mind while I'm listening to it.  Are those cockroaches?  Or is it the insectile legs of hope I see, reaching out for me from underneath the door?  It's hard to tell the difference these days, but I think it's hope.

It freaks me out.  Hope?  In this world?!?  Crazy, I know, but yeah.  Hope.

I feel it, but I don't trust it.

I haven't seen El Mariachi in its entirety since it came out, but I rewatched most of it tonight.  I was not surprised to be pleasantly surprised at all the great things I didn't remember.  Robert Rodriguez is one of the most fun filmmakers of all time.  I've never been able to get through Desperado, the 2nd film in his Mexico trilogy, and I'm not in love with everything he does, but Once Upon A Time In Mexico is dipped in that kind of B-movie, Rock & Roll hilarity, and Planet Terror is a lot of fun.  You have to be careful with him, though.  The "After Dark" scene with Salma Hayek dancing with a snake in that vampire movie is unbearably sexy (way too hot for mortals), and much of what makes his movies cool comes from a dark spiritual place.  You have to tread lightly, to the point of avoiding the path altogether in many cases.

But El Mariachi is cool.

Hilarious and badass all at once.  Endlessly entertaining.  Apparently, Robert Rodriguez intended El Mariachi to go straight to Mexican home video.  Which makes it even better.  With the Sergio Leone-style overdubs that prevent the dialogue from matching the movement of the actors' lips, the exotic, low-rez setting, and the action-packed writing from which none of the natural pulp has been removed, El Mariachi is one of my personal favorite first movies by any director.  Watch it at your first opportunity.

What I want to know, though, is how to arrange the jigsaw pieces in my personal pop-culture phrenology, the tectonic plates of thought, shifting like earthquakes on the surface of my skull.  Shall I heed the siren call of the age-appropriate cockroaches of light, the doomed, beautiful insects singing their deadly song of hope to me from the jagged rocks just beneath the surface of the Roseanne podcast, and all the obsolete memories of a TV crush I had on Sara Gilbert in the 80s,

Or should I pack my domestic animal companion and some weapons, cop to the life-altering soul/financial/cultural trauma that has made it impossible for me to write any music for years, and prepare for the future in an airless vacuum of weapons, bereft of art and love?


"With this injury I may never play the guitar again.  Without
her, I have no love.  But with the dog, and the
weapons, I'm prepared for the future."
El Mariachi


Will I turn into a mic stand of salt if I look over my shoulder at the gleaming ruins of a culture that doesn't know it's in ruins?  Is it in ruins?  Will the Roseannes and MTGs and the like save it, or are they only working to save it, because it's their fate, and they have no choice?  However honorable, and even right, it may be.  Would I work to save it if I wasn't a cultural refugee myself?  Did someone switch my guitar case, so that now it's filled with knives, and weapons, and implements of war?  Did Salma Hayek pick up where Sara Gilbert left off?  Does John Connor, Mariachi, esq., favor Latinas now, or does he remain a MGTOW monk for the sequels?  What happened to the days where guitarists were gods, like my ancestors?  Technology has crushed us, and robbed us of our culture.  It has turned us into machines.  Would I even bother bringing my guitar on the hike to Patagonia I've planned, in the event of total global world failure?

Not if it happened tomorrow, I wouldn't.

But with the dog, and the weapons, I'm prepared for the future.

Thanks for listening.

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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket.


Replacing my blog at

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