Empowerment? Or a huge step backward?

July 22, 2014

Such is the question that this brings up:

If you turn Maggie Rose’s new single, “Girl in Your Truck Song” into a drinking game — taking a swig every time she name-checks a so-called “bro country” song — you’ll likely be pretty buzzed by the end of the first chorus.

“I can be the girl in your truck song/The one that makes you sing along/Makes you wanna cruise/Drink a little moonshine down/Leave a couple tattoos on this town/Chillin’ out with a cold beer/Yeah, hangin’ with the boys round here/Gonna take a little ride/That’s my kind of night/You and me getting our shine on/I wanna be the girl in your truck song.”

Well. you probably already know my answer to this, I bet. I don’t even know where to start, but to say that the whole thing leaves me rather aghast, not least of all because of Maggie Rose’s attitude:

“I like what’s happening in country music right now. There is a place for women, if we just find our niche. Don’t fight it; embrace it…I want to be a big player in country music, and this is the kind of music people are gravitating towards.”

Because that’s just what country music needs, yet another trend-follower, amirite? And is it the kind of music people are gravitating towards? Or is Trigger right when he says that we’re at the point that the bro-country trend has peaked and we’re now at the point of working through excess inventory of bro-country to make way for the next big thing? I don’t know, but either way I am more than a bit appalled that she seems to be embracing this sort of thing, as much as its been justly derided for reducing women to little more than arm candy.

Just as disturbing, though, are perspectives like this:

Male critics, justified are (sic) not, have been taking a very obviously paternalistic approach to the subgenre. They’re protecting women who aren’t asking for protection.

What the fuck does one even say to that? We just can’t win here. If we speak up against this crap we get accused as paternalistic by one side, yet if we don’t we get accused by the other side of promoting rape culture. Frankly, I don’t see why it’s so “paternalistic” for us to want our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters to aspire to more than what they’re portrayed as in the bro-country trash. The women may not be asking for protection, but there are still those out there who feel they’re being degraded by the bro-country movement, and with all the mentions of sugar shakers, Dixie cups, fine asses and whatnot, it’s pretty easy to understand why. I am always hesitant to talk about any kind of silent majority when it comes to any given issue, but just the same I have to wonder just how many women out there take offense to bro-country because of its portrayal of women — and how many of those women have just given up on mainstream country music because of it. Are we being paternalistic? Maybe it does depend on who’s being asked. I don’t know.

But if we’re wanting our women to be empowered, what would be the better anthem for that? “Girl in Your Truck Song,” or Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow”?

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Really, though, we can go round and round all day long about being paternalistic vs. wanting our women to be portrayed as more than just truck accessories, as a couple of commenters at SCM so astutely put it, but there’s so much more wrong with the bro-country movement than that — specifically, that it not only makes women one-dimensional, but it also makes life that way. The bro-country movement seems to discount everything else that country music is about — it reduces our existence to one big party. Life’s not a party for a bunch of folks at all, let alone constantly. Like I’ve said before, there’s nothing wrong with singing about drinking around a bonfire and whatnot, but there’s more to life than that, and there ought to be more to country music than that. And not so long ago, there WAS more to country music than that. So even if some people are fine with just being arm candy for some redneck, is it still a good place for the genre to be going or to be stuck in? I certainly don’t think so.

Well, there goes another favorite thing of my youth…

July 15, 2014

…and to add insult to injury, he gets martyred to make a freaking political statement:

For the fans of Archie Andrews, his impending death marks a fitting end for the famous comic book do-gooder.

The 73-year-old red-headed character will die in Wednesday’s installment of “Life with Archie” when he intervenes in an assassination attempt on senator Kevin Keller, Archie Comics’ first openly gay character who is pushing for more gun control in Riverdale….

Kevin first joined Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, Jughead Jones and Reggie Mantle in Archie Comics in 2010. He later appeared in his own solo title. In “Life with Archie,” he’s a married military veteran and newly elected senator who’s pushing for the gun control after his husband was involved in a shooting.

A military veteran pushing for more gun control. Special. I wonder if “Life With Archie” ever talked about the vitriolic reaction Kevin Keller would have gotten from other veterans for doing such. You know, just to be accurate about the whole thing. And I bet Archie gets killed in a gun-free zone, too. Something about those just seems to make them magnets for killers. I wonder what it is?

Sunday random musings, 13.7.14

July 13, 2014

Leonard Pitts is right

It is a case of Supreme hypocrisy.

…but not in the way he thinks. There is hypocrisy involved here, of course, but it is on the part of the people — arguably most of whom are leftist/progressive — who think that First Amendment rights apply only to individuals and certain collectives, i.e., the Old Media consortia, but that the Second Amendment only applies to the National Guard. I could be wrong here — I’m just going off everything I’ve read — but I’m pretty sure very, very few, if any, conservatives or libertarians ever argued that the people solely had Second Amendment rights as individuals, only that the proposition that people only had 2A rights as part of a group but not as individuals was the wrong interpretation. Yet progressives have argued from day one that the First Amendment didn’t apply to certain collectives at all while the Second Amendment exclusively applied to one specific collective. What gives?

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We’re the Only Ones Letting People Snatch Our Guns Enough:

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A gunman who killed a rookie officer responding to a report of an armed robbery at a drugstore early Sunday never tried to rob the store and instead lay in wait for police, telling a witness to watch the news because he was “going to be famous,” authorities said.

Lawrence Campbell shot Officer Melvin Santiago in the head shortly after he and his partner arrived at the 24-hour Walgreens at around 4 a.m., Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said. Other officers returned fire at Campbell, killing him.

Campbell, 27, of Jersey City, was one of three suspects wanted by police for a prior homicide, Fulop said.

Fulop said Campbell was carrying a knife when he walked into Walgreens and asked for directions to the greeting card aisle. He assaulted an armed security guard at the store and snatched his gun, Fulop said.

According to Fulop, Campbell approached a witness and apologized for his conduct, then said to watch the news later because he was “going to be famous,” then waited for officers to arrive and shot Santiago with what police believe was the guard’s weapon.

A security guard! One of New Jersey’s Only Ones!

Maybe not quite, but it’ll be interesting to see what more comes out of this. I have to wonder how much of that security guard’s training overlapped with that of official police. Could very well be that the guard was an off-duty LEO. We see that all the time — off-duty cops serving as armed security, that is — down here in both Walmart and HEB. I am pretty sure I’ve also seen them in Walgreens.

An update.

July 9, 2014

So, here’s where we are now…

As Erin Palette told you all, in addition to the situation with our baby, we were also being kicked out of our home and had to find a new place to live as well as needing our van fixed for issues with leaking coolant. Those issues are now taken care of; we got the van fixed, found a new place, and just got moved in last week.

I do sincerely apologize for not updating you all sooner; the last few weeks at least have been quite a stressful blur. I never mentioned it on here, but the landlady (who bought the building from the man we originally rented it from) wanted to remodel the place and got to the point of calling me almost every day asking me when we were going to be out so she could schedule painters and whatnot to get in the building. She whined to me about it costing her extra money, as if that meant shit to me.

And ohhh, yes! Sabra reminded me that the woman actually tried to get us to move into the city’s homeless shelter so as to facilitate this remodeling. In other words, this creature wanted to move a pregnant woman  — again, whose baby has a fatal diagnosis — and said pregnant woman’s family into a germ incubator to save herself some money.

I wanted to tell her, “If I could trade our issues for yours, I WOULD DO IT.” I finally had to write her and tell her that if she said one more word to me about it, I’d consider it harassment and report it to the appropriate agencies.

You’re probably wondering, “Would you really have her dealing with a dying baby?” Yup. It might make me sound like an asshole, but considering that she knew about the situation with the baby and still harassed us and still whined about her financial situation vis-a-vis the remodeling of the building, I’d say she could use some perspective.

ANYWAY…

Psalm-Angel Guadalupe is, well…just fine, other than the aforementioned issues. Heart thumping away just like normal, s/he kicks around in the womb like it ain’t no thang, it’s just…something else. I felt a kick (actually, a head-butt) last night. It was pretty neat. :D Were it not for the diagnosis we got one would never know the baby wasn’t going to live long past birth if s/he is born alive at all. As Sabra put it, it’s bittersweet, but mostly sweet. We hope to get a 3D ultrasound scheduled in the next couple of weeks and are still working on funeral arrangements as well…

Thank you all for your support. It is all very, very much appreciated.

They seem to have forgotten something.

July 6, 2014

Who? Well

A Texas Tech University cheerleader is the focus of online anger after she posted pictures of her recent hunting trip to Africa on her Facebook fan page.

Kendall Jones of Cleburne, Texas, posted pictures of her trip to Zimbabwe, including pictures of her with leopards, lions, and elephants that were killed on her trip. She also included a picture of a white rhino that she tranquilized. Commenters on her pictures have shown their displeasure with Jones’ trips, including issuing her death threats. Jones addressed those voicing their displeasure on her picture with the white rhino.

And what did they forget?

They forgot that they’re making threats against someone who is good with a gun. And they also forgot that her dad was probably the one who taught her to shoot that gun and that he’s probably as good with a gun as she is? What caliber for ignorant nut cases threatening your daughter? I’m sure something like .338 Lapua Magnum would fit the bill just fine.

Seriously, as a friend of mine put it, these people probably don’t know the first thing about how these hunts factor into conservation. The way I had it explained to me, those African safaris bring in a shit-ton of money via licensing fees, much of which goes back into the local communities, which in turn gives the landowners an incentive to protect and nurture the wildlife populations. But I guess it’s just so much easier to make slurs and death threats behind a computer.

Sunday political musings, 29.6.14

June 29, 2014

So, apparently Ruth Marcus and Nora Volkow are A-OK with little old ladies and war veterans getting gunned down (and babies being burned with flash-bang grenades) in their homes via no-knock SWAT raids because police think there might be drugs in there. That’s really the only conclusion I can draw, since neither of them acknowledge the myriad ways that the War On Some Drugs has gotten completely out of control in this country. I find the argument that “we don’t know how dangerous marijuana is” to be more than a little bit disingenuous, because if that’s the case, why was it even banned in the first place? And it’d be interesting to find out how our knowledge of alcohol and tobacco relates to their legality, don’t you think?

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Say what you will about Houston Mayor Annise Parker, but at least she has experience doing things of substance besides filibustering.I don’t really know if I’d agree or not with the way she’s run the city of Houston — meaning, I don’t really have an opinion on that since I haven’t paid that much attention to it. She’d certainly be someone to take seriously, though, unlike a certain Democratic gubernatorial candidate who is to a large extent being pushed by out-of-state interests because of her only accomplishment of note (and even that was more or less created by the media).

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Well, this is special:

DALLAS – Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott‘s campaign blasted remarks made by state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer at the Texas Democratic Convention in Dallas, calling them inappropriate and symptomatic of the party’s recklessness.

Martinez Fischer, well-known for his penchant for throwing bombs at his colleagues across the aisle, has been especially on point this weekend. During his speech to the full convention Friday, Martinez Fischer said “GOP” stood for “gringos y otros pendejos.”

White people and other assholes. But remember, kids, it’s those evil bastard Republicans who are the racists! Never mind Trey Martinez Fischer, or Dan Ramos for that matter!

Yet another illustration…

June 27, 2014

…of what’s wrong with the local newspaper.

Apparently the Dairy Queen at West Avenue just north of Blanco Road got robbed last night, and you know what San Antonio Express-News reporters are writing about?

They’re writing about a party in a pasture 350 miles away. And the story seems to be almost completely lifted from the website of a Tyler TV station. Freaking pathetic.

Thursday music musings, 26.6.14

June 26, 2014

…because I hate using my best stuff at an away game, as Tamara might say…

I don’t really understand why Jerrod Niemann’s “Donkey” would reignite any kind of stereotype. After all, pretty much everyone anymore has been pushing the sonic and lyrical elements of that song as a natural evolution of country music, and radio programmers seemingly have been all too happy to go along with it. Why did “Donkey” cross the line but “Drink To That All Night” not cross the line? I mean, really. After Chase Rice and “getcha little fine ass on the step shimmy up inside,” I didn’t think there was anything “country” radio wouldn’t play, even if they did edit that particular line.

And yeah, Willie Nelson did indeed get airplay for years, as did George Strait, but it’s still disheartening to see them pushed aside for the flavor of the month — and even more so to see the likes of Jason Boland and Sturgill Simpson toil in relative obscurity while hacks like Niemann and Florida-Georgia Line get the recognition as the faces of the genre to the mainstream.

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Speaking of Florida-Georgia Line, there was this comment a little bit further down:

Florida Georgia Line’s next single is supposed to be “not bro-country.” If that’s true, it is a smart move on their part to get out of the bubble before it deflates (if that is actually what’s happening.)

Is it, though? I mean, it seems to me those guys are nothing if not all about the image. You take that away and they have absolutely nothing to offer music fans of discerning taste. Even if they put out something ostensibly of substance (as was attempted with “Stay”), Tyler Hubbard is still a barely-serviceable vocalist, and probably not much better as a songwriter. Granted, I’m just going off what he’s mouthed off about in the country music press here, but I can’t see him or his partner coming up with something anywhere near the level of “Ain’t No God in Mexico,” “Mama Tried,” or even “The Chair.”

Monday music musings, 23.6.14

June 23, 2014

Well, this is interesting:

One of the problems is writers tend to follow the trend. And that’s what’s happening right now with this so-called bro-country, party-country stuff. All the writers are jumping on that bandwagon, and I’m trying to encourage the writers, “OK I know that’s what’s going on right now, but we have to get ahead of that. We need to figure out what’s gonna set the trend, not follow the trend.” When I do get that stuff and I take it in to the record companies or play it for the producers or for an artist, the comment I get from them is, “We’ve already kind of got that. We need something different from that.” So again, trying to get the writers to understand, to come up with something different and unique and fresh is just an ongoing battle.

But wait! Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley told us that this stuff was fresh and real! I don’t know who this Sherrill Blackman person is, but he’s obviously not hip to the fact that country music is evolving and it’s not your grandfather’s music anymore! People don’t live real lives anymore! They don’t go to work every morning, home to their families every night or any of that! They don’t deal with aging, death, or any of that sad old fogey stuff! Life’s one big PARTY now, for everyone! Dude needs to get with the tiiiimes…

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Oh, burn!

(Keith) Urban is an intelligent man, a genuine music fan and musician who, when you speak with him or hear him talk, doesn’t fake it. So how can he consistently sing the cavalcade of cliches which infest every corner of his lyrics and rob every single song of whatever genuine feeling it’s meant to be faking?

Good question. But when you think about it, it’s not that hard to answer. When he’s talking about country music, at least, Keith Urban might sound smart, but as you well know if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, virtually none of his arguments hold up beyond even the most cursory of examinations. Of course, it doesn’t help him that he makes the same argument over and over about countrypolitan, the Nashville Sound, etc. in the context of country music’s supposed “evolution.” But if he was as smart as he can ostensibly manage to make people think he is, this wouldn’t be happening.

All of those weak arguments, of course, aren’t meant to do anything but counter people’s arguments that Urban himself isn’t that country, if indeed he’s country at all. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: he has absolutely no sense of musical identity. He claims to be influenced by all these different genres, and I suppose he is — but past a certain point, which Urban passed a long time ago, it all gets to sounding like, for lack of a better term, elevator music, with no personality and no soul.

Now, how he gets up there and sings that tripe night after night as if he actually believes in it, I really couldn’t tell you. I’m still trying to figure that one out. Maybe Keith Urban has no personality or soul himself.

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Thomas Rhett needs to just go the fuck away. Sort of like disco did go away. And that’s really all I have to say about that. Seriously, it’s like I have this line from “Hank” (recorded by Jason Boland and the Stragglers and Eleven Hundred Springs) running through my head on a continuous loop anymore:

“Gram Parsons used to sing about the streets of Baltimore. But honest words and simple rhymes don’t sell much anymore.”

Speaking of which, I didn’t hear GP’s version of that song for years. I think Bobby Bare has the more famous recording, but I think I actually like Parsons’ version better.

(h/t Country California)

Tuesday music musings, 17.6.14

June 17, 2014

I wonder if Eric Church even realizes that he contradicts himself from one sentence to the next here:

The stigma with country is it’s not cool. That’s wrong. Country is very cool. I look at award shows, I look at how country is represented. Country is represented with an asterisk. We have to perform collaborations. We have to perform a tribute. We can’t perform by ourselves.

I mean, really? He says country is cool, but then he presents all the evidence that it isn’t perceived as such? And then he bounces back and talks about how much it sells? Okay then…

Beyond that, why should any self-respecting music fan give a damn about what’s cool and what isn’t, anyway? This whole “keeping up with the Joneses” thing is what’s gotten mainstream country music in its sorry shape in the first place!

And you know this is just one more reason that I have to point and laugh at anyone who tries to portray Eric Church as some kind of modern-day Outlaw or general badass, right? Do you think Jason Boland gives a flying shit about what’s cool and what isn’t? Do you think George Strait does? Do you think Waylon did?

You bet your ass those are rhetorical questions. And you know the answer to them as well as I do.

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Next up, straw man alert from Jerrod Niemann!

People think if we go and mix other types of stuff it’s ruining it or it’s going to end something, but it all goes in phases, it all changes. I really had to evolve a lot in my mind as a music fan to understand certain things, and if you sit there and try to [sound] like Johnny Cash, and Waylon and Willie, you’re not going to go anywhere, because that’s what made them so great. They can’t be replicated.

Ahem. Yet again, no one’s raising hell about modern mainstream “country” singers not sounding like the artists of old. Nobody tried to replicate Waylon or Willie. Or George or Merle, for that matter. They took the influences of those singers and incorporated it into their own sounds. What we’re raising hell about is the fact that we’re not seeing that anymore, that these people seem to be taking their cues not from the likes of George Strait and Alan Jackson, but from people like Pitbull and Nelly — in other words, yet again, that what we’re seeing is not the evolution of country music, but the gutting of it and its replacement with something completely alien to the spirit of the genre. Hell, Eric Church has straight up told people that he didn’t grow up listening to country music — and he’s allegedly one of the better guys on the scene now! (I say “allegedly” because I’ve seen people allege it, but I’m just not hearing it.)

And way to imply that music fans who reject this crap are not “evolved,” jackass! Way to convert people to your position there!

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And when I say that “what we’re seeing is not the evolution of country music, but the gutting of it and its replacement with something completely alien to the spirit of the genre,” this right here is exactly, dead-nuts-on, what I am talking about:

With the bro-country stuff, it’s more of a hip-hop tempo. They are kinda like rock songs. You throw your 808 [drum machine] underneath it, and some loops and stuff, add the hip-hop EDM influence to it. You replace that live bass with a synth bass. Next thing you know, it just sounds more exciting than a quote unquote band.

…the hell is this? I mean, if dance music is your thing then more power to you, but…no. Just, no. The only way this even works is if by “more exciting,” Mr. Bertoldo means, “more manufactured and soulless,” but we all know that’s not what he means. What he’s saying is that all of this electronic deejay bullshit is better than a guy backed up by a real band and that it’s better that the folks backed up by the real bands get phased out in favor of this. If you’re wondering why fans of Real Country Music get so defensive anymore when people talk about incorporating other influences into the genre, well, here’s your answer.

(h/t Country California)


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