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They Make Take Our Lives, But They Will Never Take Our Dadrock

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Man, what is with conservative columnists having epiphanies about AMERICA while dragging their kids to museum-of-boomer-rock shows?  First David Brooks tossed his advanced degrees in the gutter in favor the “emotional education” given to him by Bruce Springsteen (yeah, I don’t know what the fuck he was talking about either), and now Big Hollywood’s Joseph F. Connor has learned, with some help from Tom Petty, that everything about America statehood is awesome, except for, you know, the American government, which is evil.

I have never heard Tom Petty talk politics. When it comes to performers, that generally is a good thing.

Connor really hates it when musicians get all political.  That is the WORST.  He’d like to sit at home and vibe on “Soak Up the Sun,” but instead he’s got to listen to all these terrible NUGE records to maintain his pristine conservative earspace.  Now that Connor’s done admonishing artists for having political views and speaking about them, he’s going to spend the next few hundred words straining to read a political message into a Tom Petty song (spoiler: it lines up perfectly with his own ideology!  Who would have thought?):

Last week my wife and I took our kids, 13 and 11, to see Petty and the Heartbreakers…

As the band played “Refugee” I couldn’t help but focus on the audience, including my children, singing in unison “everybody’s got to fight to be free.” Like many Petty lyrics, its a simple, direct, powerful line; easily repeated but probably rarely internalized.

Dude, next time just let little Johnny and Susie go see Soulja Boy like they wanted to.  Or get a sitter and just take your wife; she deserves a night out if she’s dealing with preteens belting out “Refugee” around the house.

We, as Americans, do have to fight to be free.

Who am I supposed to be fighting again?  The British?  The concept of tyranny?  I guess terrorists, maybe, but that’s not something “we, as Americans” all have to deal with.  It’s not like those guys are running up all in my and Joseph F. Connor’s grills, personally, telling us we can’t do stuff.  Just for you, Joseph F. Connor, next time a jihadist comes up to me all, “Hey, dieblucasdie, stop being free,” I’mna punch that guy and sing “You Don’t Know How It Feels” to him.

The upcoming generations need to understand that. Our grandparents had to fight to be free of Nazism. Our parents and my generation (though we can discuss The Who at another time) fought to be free of Soviet style communism.

But for this generation and the at least the next, not only do we have to fight to be free of radical Islam but more insidiously we have to fight to be free from the tyranny of our own federal and even local governments’ designs on our liberty. We, who are parents, have a responsibility to educate our children. Our freedoms are threatened by those within and without.

Oh, I see, it’s my local aldermen I should be punching.  He isn’t clear about which liberties my local government might have “designs” on, so how am I supposed to educate the kids?

We must teach our children about the Declaration, the Constitution, our God given individual rights, the brilliance, morality, sacrifice, and bravery of our forefathers and instill in our kids the motivation to become active participants in guaranteeing their own freedoms. Pink Floyd asked, “Mother, should I trust the government?” The answer is “no.” It is filled with too many people who would gladly step in and decide our freedoms for us.

I’ve often wondered how the paranoid anti-government right manages to reconcile such an intense distrust of American institutions with a stringent, no-caveat dedication to American exceptionalism/American nationalism.  My pet theory has always been, “They just don’t think about both at the same time,” but here’s Connor, disproving it.  For him, hatred of American government isn’t just compatible with true American patriotism, it is American patriotism’s defining feature.  Oh, whatever, let’s just go watch some VH-1 Classics.

Looks More Like a Terrorist Fist-Bump to Me

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Bruce Carroll has a piece up today at Big Hollywood that’s a nice twofer of hilarious right-blog fake-controversy tactics.  First, he get all red-in-the-face over how YOU LIBERALS! might overreact given certain circumstances that don’t actually exist.  Maybe one day right-bloggers will stop arguing with the LIBERALS in their heads, and start talking to actual liberals, and we can begin to move forward as a political culture, but, hey, in the meantime at least I have this bitchy blog.  In the second part of Carroll’s outrage-over-meaningless-shit doubleheader, he sees an affront to his values in something completely innocuous.  You may wonder how, rhetorically, it’s possible for Carroll to take LIBERALS to task for being easily offended and himself become offended over something minor in the same piece, but oh, he manages it.  Part one:

This article is nearly three months in the making.  For the second year in a row, my partner John and I attended the Country Music Association (CMA) Music Fest in Nashville, TN in early June.  As a side note, if you ever get the opportunity – GO!  It is a weeklong celebration of great country music and the great American city of Nashville.

But this isn’t a tourist agency pimping of Music City.  Nope, it is a damning indictment of Hollywood’s natural, auto-immune liberal bias.  Let me explain.

I wish Carroll would actually explain that metaphor, because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know what “auto-immune” means.  I’m unsure as to how an ideological bias could be “auto-immune” or “natural,” but I’m pretty sure by “auto-immune” he means “defensive” and by “natural” he means something like “inherent” or “ingrained.”  If it were “auto-immune” (ie, attacking its own host), you would think Carroll would like that.  Similarly, if it were “natural,” I’m not sure what Carroll would have to complain about.  Would he prefer an unnatural conservative bias?  Oh, whatever, I’ll just move on.

Carroll spends some time lovingly describing CMA Fest for uninitiated, and randomly complaining about Twitter, before finally getting to outrage number 1:

When viewers saw Tim McGraw sing “Southern Voice” last night on ABC, there was an important moment that the network cleverly edited out and actively hid from America.  Why? Because it was inflammatory and would have exposed McGraw, a passionate Democrat activist, to extreme ridicule today.

In what looked like a throwback to the Black Power days of the 1960s, but in reverse, McGraw raised his fist during the chorus of “Southern Voice.” The first time he did it, I was surprised.  The second time I was prepared.

[Youtube video uploaded by Carroll, titled “White Power fist – Tim McGraw]

Not that I would make a big deal out of it, but imagine, if you will, if this was a known conservative singer who had raised his or her fist in the air while singing a song called “Southern Voice.”  But where’s the outrage?  Nowhere.  McGraw actively campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008 (which makes the “white power” fist action even more surreal).  In fact, McGraw lent his vocal talents in January 2010 to a soundtrack compilation, ‘By the People: For the People,’ inspired by the film, ‘By the People: The Election of Barack Obama.’  McGraw joined other notable left-wing artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, the Dixie Chicks and Sheryl Crow on the album paying homage to President Obama.

I’d like to ask the ABC producers of the CMA broadcast last night why they chose to do a tight shot of McGraw during the white power fist move.  And if he thought it was an okay move to make, why they felt they had to shelter him with their clever close-up and editing job.

I actually have two responses to this argument, which is two more than something this patently absurd deserves.  First of all, if, say, Toby Keith raised his fist in the air during a CMA performance, I promise you that no one would be outraged.  Not a single person.  No one would care.  No one.  Seriously, no one.  There’s nothing remotely racially charged about the move McGraw pulls in the video Carroll posts, except in the fevered mind of someone who sees Black Panthers everywhere.  I’ve seen probably a dozen or more musicians do the exact same thing on stage.  It’s a very, very common rockstar pose.  And Carroll’s argument is weirdly circular.  Is he angry at McGraw because he’s a liberal who did something Carroll believes is racist?  Or is he just angry because he thinks a conservative couldn’t get away with the same thing?  If he thinks it’s racially-charged, why would he want a conservative to be able to get away with the same thing?  Zah?

But that’s the common sense response, and since common sense is unlikely to appeal to Carroll, I’ll meet him on his level:  Here is the official video for “Southern Voice.”  In it, at the same point in the song, McGraw does the “white power fist,” and the video moves in to the same close-up that ABC’s editors chose.  McGraw likely raises his fist in the air every single time he performs this song, and ABC’s editors were likely just mimicking the style of his own music video.

But on to part two.  I’ve already quoted Carroll’s piece extensively, so I’ll just recap his second argument; feel free to read his piece in full if you feel I might be mischaracterizing it.  Carroll is upset that ABC chose to air two Carrie Underwood performances (“Cowboy Casanova” and “Undo It”) and not a third (a medley of “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “How Great Thou Art”) and cites this decision as evidence of an ABC agenda that “actively and aggressively demotes the importance of Christianity – and God – in American society and pop culture.”

It’s a weird accusation to level at ABC, the major network most dedicated to traditional family programming, and even aggressively Christian programming (The 700 Club runs in syndication on ABC Family).  Setting aside Carroll’s fantastic claim of systemic anti-Christian program editing, tt’s far, far more likely that ABC chose to air “Undo It” and “Cowboy Casanova” because they are Underwood’s most recent #1 hits (reaching #1 on the country charts August 7th, 2010, and November 21st, 2009, respectively; “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was last at #1 in 2005).  Furthermore, ABC did air Underwood’s performance of “Jesus, Take the Wheel” during its 2006 CMA Fest special.  I guess the idea is that if they don’t air it every year, it’s an affront to Christians?  Maybe Carroll’s beef is really with Underwood herself; lady needs to write some new Jesus-ey songs.

And of course, how else would a Big Hollywood piece close, but with a random dig at Obama:

Not incidentally there was a third performance missing from the ABC broadcast.  And it was missing from the entire week at CMA Music Fest in June.  And it was not seen in Nashville at all since that city was devastated by a thousand-year flood this past May.

What would that be, you naturally ask?  The fact is that President Obama has never visited Middle Tennessee and never properly acknowledged the devastation faced by its residents.

Obama did declare a disaster in Tennessee.  Here’s TN Governor Phil Bredesen on the White House response to the disaster:

I have to say that FEMA and the White House have been absolutely supportive. Very quickly FEMA was on the ground here before the raindrops started falling. … The President was on the phone to me before the sun came up practically on Monday morning. Slightly after it came up, other people from the White House had called and checked in with us and helped. … I’ve never seen this kind of a response to things that have happened. We’ve had our share of tornadoes and those kinds of things. … I’m very, very pleased with the response we’ve gotten from the administration.

Carroll has me a little exhausted, so I’ll just leave him with one final link that may help him with future pieces: http://www.google.com

Written by dieblucasdie

September 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm