Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment took quite a hit on television Wednesday.
After Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood mocked it during the Country Music Association Awards, NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno said the President is “better off smoking crack than passing ObamaCare” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Country music star Brad Paisley is either an idiot or a genius. If he wrote the song "Accidental Racist" to stir a whirlwind of (mostly bad) publicity, he's a genius. But the negative cultural consensus strongly suggests he should have never been dumb enough to try to write a racial-harmony song.
Paisley performed the song as a dialogue with rapper LL Cool J, now a star on the CBS drama "NCIS: LA." He says he wrote the song when he felt he had to defend wearing a T-shirt celebrating the country band Alabama, a shirt with the Confederate flag on it. In the song, he tries to suggest to a black man he met that the flag just says he's a fan of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Music critic Jon Caramanica reviewed country star Brad Paisley's latest album "Wheelhouse," in "Taking Country Less Conservative" for the Arts section of Wednesday's New York Times. Caramanica gave Paisley backhanded compliments for "openmindedness" while insulting the genre of country music as rigidly conservative (Caramanica has previously given backhanded praised to country music itself, for not being as homophobic as some people think).
These are country music’s postmilitarization years. A decade ago, there were songs about strong soldiers and a just war, weeping soldiers and unimpeachable ideology -- the genre latched onto the political moment and held fast like a remora.
"When they're runnin' down my country [music], man, they're walkin' on the fightin' side of me."
Merle Haggard's most famous lyric could well be adapted to express the reaction country music fans may have upon reading Joe Heim's latest review in the June 30 Washington Post.
Heim's lead paragraph begins with a drive-by attack on the genre as a whole:
Country music has always had something of an image problem, particularly among people who fancy themselves as progressives. Immigrant-trashing, gay-bashing, race-baiting, women-hating songs aren't hard to find in the country catalogue. Heck, sometimes you can find them all on a single album.
Heim set forward this straw man in order to more effusively praise country artist Brad Paisley as a "forward-thinking" artist in the vein of say the Bush-bashing "Dixie Chicks" for his latest album, "American Saturday Night" which "celebrates cultural diversity, lionizes women, stirringly welcomes a black president and, for good measure, whoops it up about drinkin' and fishin.'"