Songs That Fall from the Sky

Meet the Handsome Family: The story of the band that forgot time

"Oh, sure," Rennie says brightly. "I love those people."

"We went through that," Brett avers.

"Our mandolin player," Rennie goes on, "is convinced that George Bush is sleeping with Condoleezza Rice. He believes that Nutrasweet is turning us all into robots or something, and that's how they're mind-controlling us. He refuses to go to the dentist because he thinks they're going to put an implant in his tooth. Who am I to say? At least he's thinking outside the prescribed thought patterns of useful Americans. I think it's important to question everything."

Brett: "I don't think we could travel on the road with somebody who didn't believe that they should own some gold or something. They all know what the term Illuminati means." He's laughing.

"That's the only way I can live in this country," Rennie blurts, "is by listening to Coast to Coast and going to those kinds of websites, because it reminds me that Americans are all out there dreaming of UFOs and seeing the Virgin Mary on the side of buildings and seeing big footprints in their yard and being convinced there's Yeti out there. That's what makes me fond of my country. That's really what I love about Americans, is their ability to dream those kind of dreams."

"Their stupidity?" Brett razzes.

"I don't think it's stupid," she answers reflexively. Then, more deliberately: "I think it's an ability for irrational thought that's really crucial. Because rational thought, I mean—that'll kill you. It's not all it's cracked up to be. The part of your brain that's not rational, that's not conscious, is the smart part. It's important to follow inklings where they lead."

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