Sunday, June 15, 2008

Don't Mean a Thang

Never trust neo-progressives who claim to be champions of the American poor and the working folk, but who reflexively despise country music or can't be bothered to tell classic country from bad country.

"Country music made between about 1950 and 1970 is a secret history of rural, working class Americans in the twentieth century -- a secret history in plain sight. . . . Country music knows that the dark heart of the American Century beat in oil-field roadhouses in Texas and in dim-lit Detroit bars where country boys in exile gathered after another shift at Ford or GM. Bobby Bare might've pleaded in 'Detroit City' that he wanted to go home. But we all knew he wouldn't, that he couldn't. Country profoundly understands what it's like to be trapped in a culture of alienation: by poverty, by a [lousy] job, by lust, by booze. ... If you truly want to understand the whole United States of America in the twentieth century, you need to understand country music and the working people who lived their lives by it."

The operative phrase, of course, is "want to understand."