Hawking Up Hairballs

Friday, January 11, 2008

Makes Me Want To Say, Ouch!

What is it about those who write country music that makes them want to indulge in tawdry word play? I was watching a football game a few weeks back and they had some country singer on at halftime. I didn't catch his name. He's undoubtedly familiar to devotees of the music, and he was singing about a high-maintenance woman who didn't want her no maintenance man. I groaned out loud when I heard that. I truly did. Talk about self-parody. How could that fool actually get out there and sing something like that? It's a comment on the intellectual level of those who attend football games that they didn't laugh him out of the stadium.

Now, it's not that I don't like country music. I enjoy the shit-kicking music of the sort that Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Jr., and David Allen Coe were doing in the '70's and '80's. That's a guilty pleasure though, since some of it is implicitly racist, but it has a certain raucous appeal. It's the kind of music that makes you want to go to some bar, drink too much beer, and, to paraphrase Henry Adams, kick some small man's ass. As far as I'm concerned though, old Bocephus is just the flip side of Lou Reed. Had he been born and raised in New York City, that's who he would have been. Those sun glasses he always wears are the telling detail in that regard.

Lest anyone think that I'm picking on our white, blue-collar brethren, hip-hop music is just is bad. Talk about doggerel. Some of these characters actually think that its clever to string together one tacky rhyme after another. I ran across a hip-hop video on TV not long ago, where the singer strung together a series of words that all ended in "-ment". For Christ's sake, how does he open his mouth and make such crap come out? Again, it isn't hip-hop music per se. I've heard music from the genre that I like, and no, I'm not talking about Vanilla Ice. I couldn't name any artists though because it's music of a generation that's younger than me, and I've never felt the urge to educate myself about it.

Back in the day, I often tended to romanticize the sensibilities of the common man. This was mostly in reaction to the pretensions of the "more refined" arts. That was a mistake though. It doesn't really matter where an art form comes from. Most of what's on offer out there just isn't worth it. A while back, Gabriel Garcia Marquez said something to the effect that as he got older he stopped reading new novels, returning to the classics instead, because he was old enough that he no longer wanted to waste time on lesser works. It's a sentiment that I can understand, though I don't totally agree with.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home