Book Learnin’ & Clever Talk

Believe it or not, Randy can read books. And right now he’s reading Rednecks & Bluenecks: The Politics Of Country Music by Chris Willman. And he thinks you should read it too.

It takes as its jumping off point the moment when Dixie Chick Natalie Maines dissed George Bush in London in 2003, using the resulting furore as a way of examining the relationship between country music and politics in the US. You don’t need to be a country fan – even less, a Dixie Chicks fans – to find this fascinating. The book is pretty funny, often scathing, full of little ironies and insights as it focuses on the inherent (C)conservative, Republican, GOP meets Grand Ole Opry leanings of the mainstream country audience, and how that audience turned on the Chicks, up until that point one of the biggest selling country acts ever. If you’re of a liberal bent, perhaps its key lesson is that the east and west coast elites ignore the sensitivities of the “flyover states” to their significant detriment and that mobilising the US heartland behind Toby Keith’s hokey jingoism is easier than mobilising support for, say, universal healthcare. Funny and depressing.

As one Bill Russell posted on AOL after the Maines incident:

“The Enemy Within
Wht a sickening disgrace and a slap in the face to every military family in the country. My best wishes for the bitch traitor is that their sales go in the toilet, the public throws out their records, public outcry makes the CMA take back their awards and the lousy bitch never gets to sing in public again and her ass gets shipped to Baghdad before the bombs fall , a little fatter target to hit. Chicks, little chickens, right? Yeah, they are yellow. It is time for America to return to the days when the people were proud and the scumbag traitor and enemy sympathizers were put on trial or turned over to military tribunals. We set a bad precedent with Hanoi Jane. YOU ARE A DISGRACE TO AMERICA AND I HOPE YOU ARE BANNED FROM EVERY AMERICAN RADIO STATION. Then see how great you are, you pig(s). THANK GOD FOR THE LIKES OF CHARLIE DANIELS”.

This is what we’re up against, and it makes you even more surprised that Obama got elected.

Of course, the trouble is, Merle Haggard writes much better songs than The Dixie Chicks. Dammit…

Rednecks and Bluenecks: The Politics of Country Music

~ by stagger lee on July 2, 2010.

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