RANGER AGAINST WAR: Proxy Patriotism <

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Proxy Patriotism

Does anyone else sense the hypocrisy in today's patrotric country music? Not to say the lyrics are disingenuous; they are not, for that simplicity is the strong suit of country music.

I happened to pass by the Country Music Channel the other night and caught a glimpse of Kenny Chesney's video, Who You'd be Today. The tune anguishes over the loss of a loved one, and the video features a young black man on a basketball court, superimposed by a young black boy. The screen then splits, with singer Chesney slouching, hands in pocket, with his back to the screen of the black man shooting hoops, whom we presume is now dead, as the next screen shows what may be a Marine folding the flag into the triangle conformation presented to the survivors following a military burial.

The lyrics are mundane. An example, "I wonder what would you name your babies?" Probably something unusual, like DeJuan, or somesuch, judging by the content of the question (surely not something unremarkable, like John or Tim). So I am left with the thought that this punky-looking latter day Billy Idol is basically thanking the black man for doing the dirty job and getting killed, therefore not sireing any more babies with unusual names.

Another white country singer who did not do time in the service, Toby Keith, wrote a tune a few years ago about "The Angry American". In it, he says, "This big dog will fight/When you rattle his cage" and, "We'll put a boot in your ass/It's the American way". Big words, from folks who fight by proxy.

by Lisa


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