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At the end of O Brother, Where Art Thou? the beloved protagonists are faced with quite a dilemma: let the lawman get to hangin’ or take a quick bum rush for a hopefully painless suicide-by-cop. You never expect what’s coming.

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You’re goddamn right, a flood right out of nowhere! Not the kind that ruins cities and drowns old women but the kind that rescues a lovable group of good-natured convicts from certain death! It’s also the kind of flood that was built right here in America by God-fearing Americans. Yep, that’s right…this flood was brought to you by the electric hands of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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Let me step back here for a minute. You see, back during the 30′s when this movie takes place we in America had this thing called a Depression. That means nobody had  good-paying job with which to raise a family. Many men, like Ulysses, Delmar, and Pete, turned to crime just to make ends meet. And then there were those who joined government-sponsored work programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps, Works Progress Administration, and Tennessee Valley Authority–or TVA for short.

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The role of the TVA was to develop the rural areas of Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, North Carolina, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Georgia. This was a good thing for most of men from this area, as they were either flat broke or skimming by on profits from a measly moonshine operation. Of course, this is a blatantly stereotypical generalization of a proud and diverse people. However, it is also true.

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Moonshine still in Knox County, Tennessee. Photographed by TVA in 1936 as part of its Fort Loudoun Dam surveys. See, I told you so.

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In any case, almost all of the hydroelectric dams that are still operating in the area were built or planned during the period of the late 30′s by the TVA. This construction program, which was government-funded, was a big reason that thousands Appalachian people didn’t starve during those trying times. It also still powers the Daytona 500 into the living rooms and outhouses of millions of hillbillies.

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Boy, oh boy, it's a boy.

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Today Americans are faced with a similar situation of those folks in the Great Depression. We have millions of able-bodied men and women who are receiving unemployment support from the federal and state governments. Without this help many would be forced out onto the streets, where they very well might end up like Ulysses, Delmar, and Pete–hunting for a hidden treasure that simply doesn’t exist.

But the big difference today is that these men and women on unemployment aren’t expected to offer anything in return. They don’t build dams, don’t blaze concrete trails through inhospitable lands, and last time I went camping I didn’t see anybody planting trees.

I’m all for helping people get on their feet during times of need. It’s an American responsibility to take care of other tax-paying, anthem singing ‘Mericans. But I also feel that the folks on unemployment should give something back to the community that’s paying their mortgage.

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So down what avenues of the public sector can we send these brave men and women. Let’s not set them to building environmentally harmful hydroelectric dams. It seems there are plenty of roads already built throughout this Great Nation, many of which I haven’t even driven on. And last time I went camping it seemed there were just about the amount of trees, give or take.

Here’s what I propose: enlist these fine people as a sort of police for modern social tact. We’ll call them the Silicone Valley Authority, simply because it works for the intents and purposes of this blog. Here’s a list of the SVA’s 10 most pressing duties.

Duty 1) Patrol vigilantly for people listening to standup comedy on their iPod. Arrest at sight.

Seriously, I hate the way you laugh.

Duty 2) Prevent everyone from posting cool videos on Facebook before I do.

At least give me a chance, jerk.

Duty 3) Discourage, violently, all German tourists from flaunting their good times on our weak American dollar.

Hey Hans, those glasses don’t look smart at all.

4) Commandeer and destroy any iPad that is operated by a user who is in motion under his or her own power.

If you don’t get off the sidewalk I will smack that thing right out of your hand.

5) Ban Twitter

I’m not going to lie, I still don’t get it.

6) Execute a successful viral marketing campaign to make old flip phones cool again.

My cell is so vintage.

7) End self-satisfying, rambling blog posts that have absolutely nothing to do with the post’s original subject matter.

Fine, be that way.

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Click here to download the 10-year anniversary clear vinyl-to-MP3

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