When they start singing about babies and church I puke. It’s like the CD should come with the minivan.
Now, I’m not much of a fan of babies nor am I a blind devotee to “church” as a social institution. But I do like very much the music that strikes a chord in me, whether it’s Johnny Cash’s low, insistent and ironic “Tennessee Stud”, the Grateful Dead’s live performance of “Ripple” on Reckoning, Patty Griffin’s “Mary”, Amick & Cassie’s “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” or the entire Warren Zevon catalog. (Seriously. I cannot think of one Zevon song that fails to strike a deep and abiding note in me.) The music a person likes is a bit like their handwriting or their taste in men. It isn’t necessarily a direct statement of who they are, but it is generally a very revealing detail.
That means that when you start dismissing the music you are invariably dismissing the person. I hope to never have a minivan. I long ago lost any starry-eyed desire to have a baby and church to me is a much more complex notion than the place I go before a chicken dinner. There isn’t a whole lot of country music that really grabs me the same way that I’m moved by other types and styles so I don’t feel like this guy is talking about me personally. I’m not saying that I’m really wounded that a dude I’ve never heard of dislikes the bulk of country music.
But I’m sure as heck troubled by the socioclassist dismissal he has for the people who do.
I’m also troubled that he takes music, one of the deepest and most personal methods of expression we’ve got, and uses it as a shibboleth for determining who is and is not worthy of notice, respect, inclusion.
Granted, I may be reading way too much into the original article which is, after all, just supposed to be the review of an album designed to convince people that
There’s no reason left wing liberals can’t eat up Pistol Annies.
But the review says so much more to me. It says that so very few of us are willing to see past our preconceptions.
It’s sad that we feel we have to vet everything through our self-ground lenses before risking openness and dialog.