I think this moment of political angst is actually a time to reassess how much is going well in the land of the free. It struck me this week that when so much of our chattering class, political and otherwise, were so fixated on a country song, a fashion doll and Hunter Biden's junk, maybe we are in pretty good shape.
No, think about it. When the greatest deliberative body in the world, or so they shamelessly call themselves, can spend an entire week not proving the "weaponization of government" and ends its monumental deliberations with dick pics of a presidential scion, maybe things are going to be OK. I mean, we weren't worrying about Little Rocket Man or Vlad the Impaler, but how much blow and how many pavement princesses Hunter could cram into one laptop. I think that's progress.
And then, country singer Jason Aldean wrote the kind of song that, to be honest, has been written a thousand times before by the likes of Merle and Hank Jr. and the entire liberal blabosphere goes ape. There is a genre of country music that is basically a Pace Picante Sauce commercial set to steel guitars. It generally extols the wonders of the South and the evils of hot sauce made in New York City. Think about "A Country Boy Can Survive" or honestly, anything Merle did after the Viet Nam era.
These songs are designed to generate dislike for anything that isn't you and piss off liberals. And, it worked in the case of "Try That in a Small Town," with lyrics like...
Cuss out a cop, spit in his face
Stomp on the flag and light it up
Yeah, ya think you're tough
Well, try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road.
So, let's compare it to Hank Williams Jr's "A Country Boy Can Survive" with lyrics like this...
I had a good friend in New York City
He never called me by my name, just Hillbilly
My grandpa taught me how to live off the land
And his taught him to be a businessman
He used to send me pictures of the Broadway nights
And I'd send him some homemade wine
But he was killed by a man with a switchblade knife
For 43 dollars, my friend lost his life
I'd love to spit some Beech-Nut in that dude's eyes
And shoot him with my old .45
'Cause a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive
Now, to be frank, I've never understood this need to lash out at smug city slickers, though they can be insufferable. Seems to be a little defensive to me, but listen to "The Fightin' Side of Me" by Merle Haggard and you'll get the drift. And if it produces a simple shrug and comment about different strokes for different folks, that is the proper response. I have the same reaction to rap. "It ain't for me, but you go on and enjoy." I'm looking at you, Sheryl Crow.
But now, we have to hyperventilate about how unfair the characterization is, and how it shouldn't be played and how dare he, etc. I'm not a particular country music fan, with a couple of exceptions that involve rivers, rain and beer. But if Jason wants to complain about things that haven't happened to him and won't ever, that's his deal. That's why they put a dial on the radio. But lately, anything we don't like, or don't understand, is reason enough to rise up in high dudgeon protesting the evil of it all. One word to everyone...chill. For every Jason Aldean there is a Joan Baez, or whoever is playing the Joan part these days.
And that applies to the latest issue involving fictitious beings that have conservative undies in a twist. No, not female M&Ms, Mr. Potato Head or Big Bird for advocating for vaccines during the pandemic. And this apparently transcends the hullaballoo over a Little Mermaid of color. No, our own contribution to that greatest deliberative body fiction, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Cancun) is upset about the political implications of the Barbie movie. Here's how his complaint was explained by the website Mediaite...
Cruz became perturbed when a preview for the film showed a map, drawn in Crayon, which included the nine-dash line indicating that China “owns” the South China Sea. This line has largely been disputed by the other countries that also claim to own the area, including Vietnam.
He then went on the new Jesse Watters program on Fox to explain to the man who possesses the most punchable face on TV, outside of Ted himself, that this is the producers caving to the Chinese Communist Party. Except, as the film folks took great pains to explain, that wasn't what the dotted line was.
It seems that in Barbie Land, which I'd like to point out to Ted - doesn't exist - an evil doll played by the hilarious Kate McKinnon, tells Barbie she needs to get out in the world and see what life is really like. The dotted line shows her travels, you know, as it does in so many movies.
Now, remember, Ted sometimes gets lost in these fantasies, as he mused over the direction the Disney Company was taking that would result in “Mickey and Pluto going at it.” Yes, he said that. I wish he'd stick to worrying if your air fryer is spying on you. Yes, he wondered about that as well. I know, I'm worried for Heidi and the girls, too.
Then there is conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro. I know, he co-founded something called the Daily Wire (?) after making a name for himself for his right-wing diatribes when he was 17 years old. He's a smart, if utterly predictable guy and the latest proof of this is his review of the Barbie movie. A sample...
The basic sort of premise of the film, politically speaking, is that men and women are on two sides of the divide, and they hate each other. And literally, the only way you can have a happy world is if the women ignore the men and the men ignore the women. That seems to be the final outcome of this film. I was trying to separate this into problems with plot and problems with character and problems with the politics and so on. But they’re all intertwined because the thing is just a mess. It doesn’t make any sense. Plot-wise, it makes no sense. Character-wise, it makes no sense.
Problems with the politics? Ben, they are plastic dolls played by actors, for crying out loud. Barbie and Ken can't settle down to your version of normality because, I repeat, they are plastic dolls. They can't raise a good conservative family because they have no genitals, remember? I know, I checked my sister's years ago. So, again, chill.
Laura Ingraham on Fox was appalled at the way men were portrayed in the film, again, based on plastic dolls.
They don't want real men. I mean, they want pajama boys who sit around waiting for the government to send them a check, you know, as they get ready for their, you know, Pilates class in their, you know, leggings and wait for their next, you know, DoorDash order to come in. I mean, they don't — real men are a threat to them.
Ken is on welfare? This on top of the no junk thing? Is that in the movie? They have Door-Dash in Barbie Land? Man, this movie has so many levels.
I think my only real objection to the movie, is that it has had the biggest opening weekend ever when a masterpiece like "Oppenheimer" is out as well. They are both bits of nostalgia, only one is true.
But coming up is a movie that has both sides PO'd. There is a live version of the 1812 Grimm Brothers' fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the works, and the studio is angering everyone with this one. Firstly, the actor Peter Dinklage was in an uproar that it was even being remade. Why? Well, the "Game of Thrones" star, who was born with dwarfism, is upset about the Seven Dwarfs part. So, now it seems the studio will make Snow White and the Seven Guys of Various Heights.
Well, that one has conservatives upset, along with the fact that Snow White will be played by a mixed-race actress. Our buddy Ben Shapiro weighed in again proclaiming that "White" is in her name! Never mind that everyone from Laurence Olivier to Bugs Bunny has played black characters. I expect another Ted Cruz floor speech in 3-2-1.
So, back to my original premise. If these are the issues filling up the airwaves, and what few newspaper column inches we have left, then things must be pretty good. Oh, sure, we have a Presidential election, Ukraine, Trump indictments, gun violence, budget woes and military promotions being held up by a Senator whose name sounds like a kid's show host. But, I'm going to take my cue from our politicians and pundits. It's a Barbie world and we're just living in it.
Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.