I buy things at the Dollar General store across the street from my apartments sometimes. Dollar Generals are always these interesting cultural whirlpools of vague sadness, the lonely elderly and the aimless broke citizenry joined with people who just want something cheap. Knockoff products next to movies that were once popular, slave-made clothing and holiday decorations, generic medicine. There’s usually an aisle or two that resemble a crackhead’s garage sale; stuff spilling out onto the ground, things half ripped out of packages, and claustrophobic, non-ADA spaces and corners they must get cited for once a week. I’m used to all of this, having had dollar stores of one kind or another located near everything in my life, pretty much, and the only thing that keeps assaulting me about this one is the bad fucking country music that’s on every time I go in there.
Country music, based on my non-scientifically gathered representative sample, has more aggressively taken the same slide into puerile, obvious, homogenized meaninglessness over the past decade and a half or so that pop and everything else took, but it had to do it with a conservative Christian primary listening audience in mind. Contemporary Dollar Store Country seems to be populated by the most blinkered homilies, things everyone knows, but stated in such a way as to pluck at one’s heartstrings like any episode of Little House on the Prairie where someone died. Strong relationships come from listening to one another, don’t swear in front of your kids because they copy stuff that you do, be nice to people. Cry a little, so you can remember these things. (sniff)
If they don’t have that vomit-inducing claptrap, they have such overused clichés about redneckedness you’d swear they were parodies, and they are – albeit unintentional. Probably. Maybe. If not, Satan works in their idea house. She thinks my tractor’s sexy? I want to check you for ticks? These are the songs, trapped in my head, making me forget – shit, anything. I’d rather have Al Capone’s hat size (6 7/8) in my head than that ridiculous cowpie of a song.
I gotta cowboy hat and a homily; I wear my boots and I drive a Chevy
I'm just like you
and we agree on everything, too.
I won't challenge you with profanity, or any ideas, thoughts or complexity,
I vote for the GOP, and the Dems'll never speak for me.
I got a straight white Jesus to whom I pray,
he's the only one in my heart's praying room,
and I'm deeply sorry now,
for having said, "whom."
I, for one, would like to see a radical left atheist country anthem – something a little more subversive that doesn’t once mention McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, John Deere, or fucking trucks of any brand be they endorsed by Denis Leary or not.
I can be a simple man, without being a simple man,
I prefer to think things through because I simply can.
Don't need no imam or pastor, no rabbi helping me,
Just some quiet time to think, sit alone and simply be.
I try to let my conscience be my guide, that small internal voice,
It can be really hard to hear above the shouting and the noise.
Don't need no news, or NPR, no Fox to tell me how I feel,
I've been around long enough for convictions made of steel.
Of course, there’s no audience for that, unless you tart it up and parade it around in almost no clothes and a cowboy hat in a mock-Western setup somewhere. Even the best of the country crooners, if they be female, are prone to the trap of the cheesecake music video, and sex sells even better to the repressed, I imagine.
I have go charge my iPod now, so it’s ready the next time I run short on hand soap or dish detergent. They don’t make enough soap for me to clean that sound out of my ears.