Altering Perceptions Via Country

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I’m just going to say it because there’s no way around it: I despise country music.

Country music is that cousin you got drunk with when you were 16 and have since semi-accidentally forgotten to invite to Christmas ever since. Country music is a velvet painting of Elvis being straddled by Daisy Duke. Yes, folks, country music is the bedazzled beer koozie of the musical kingdom.

I’ve tried to reason with my intolerance to Brooks-n-Dunn or Kenny Chesney. I toe the border of country with Deer Tick and Pine Hill Haints and others, but I just can’t get the country. But why? Is it the proliferation of Victorian-era gender roles? Maybe it’s the homophobic/homo-social bonding schism? Or is it the McCarthy-esque, fear-based patriotism? Or maybe just the “chew tobacco, chew tobacco, chew tobacco, spit!”?

Whatever the case may be, I’ve confirmed that I am allergic. Stuck in a room with folks singing about Coors and Guns and trucks challenges my every nerve. There is no amendment in the Geneva Convention about country music. I’ve looked.

So as the country twanged through the radio at work a few days ago, I considered gnawing off limbs to stuff into my ears. “This is the worst of all possible worlds,” I thought. Take that, Professor Pangloss.

But at this Anti-Candide moment, I was struck down by a greater sense of the world. This is NOT the worst of all possible worlds. This could be much worse.

I thought about the terrible atrocities going on in Syria’s civil war. I thought about Somalia. I thought about Detroit. We folks in the Methow have been given a gift. The majority of us are happy and healthy and safe–as are our children, and if we are in need of assistance, the community is readily available to help see us through our struggles.

We live in a truly magnificent place, people. After living around the US, including post-Katrina Louisiana, I can tell you we are priveledged.

In the spirit of gratitude, I guess that I owe country music a little thanks. It does indeed remind me that things could be worse.

Even though songs about four-bying still give me hives.