I try to avoid country music. I try to avoid anything that makes the wrinkles in my brain smooth over, which is why I don't watch Desperate Housewives or talk to my neighbor. Somethings just make you dumber. I actually had to teach myself how to ride a bike again after trying to have a conversation with an uncle and when I hear country music on a distant radio I get a sudden urge to eat paint and make out with my sister.
Over the past few years I have been subjected to country music in the workplace, in stores or even in the occasional diner and in each instance I couldn't fathom something more objectionable. Maybe getting poked in the eye, but only if it scratched the cornea. I despise country music. No offense to old souls like Willie Nelson who is more of a folk artist than a country star and there was a time when country didn't have this in-your-face red state mentality, but to this day I can only name about 15 country songs I find redeeming and they are all at least 25 years old. Most of those songs aren't really country at all. Crazy is more of a jazz number and Walking after Midnight was only country because a white girl couldn't sing a black song and get away with it. Today it would be R&B.
Now, the uber-patriotic garbage spewed by clowns like Toby Keith has been replaced with bible-thumping Jesus music. Last year's American Idol winner, Carrie Underroos, has topped the hick charts with Jesus take the Wheel. Other artists have cranked out similar odes to the messiah as well with the sub-genre of redneck gospel seeming to peak right now. The quickest path to the top of the country charts runs right through the sacred heart of Jesus Christ.
Somehow, I don't think Jesus would be cool with that. This isn't some accident like Spirit in the Sky, Nashville is printing money by dropping the biggest name in western society, besides John Lennon that is. What we are seeing is a very conscientious decision to convert Christ into cash. Cha-Ching! Jesus loves me this I know, for my investments seem to grow. With each word I sing to thee, another royalty is sent to me.
The irony is so thick it's a wonder they can even breath. First of all, Jesus was against mixing money with religion. He committed his only documented act of aggression when he turned over tables and ran the merchants out of the temple. Now these country music hacks are writing songs about him and topping charts. They can tithe all they want, but Jesus wasn't the kind of guy who would be interested in 10%. Jesus wasn't not about the money, he was vehemently opposed to money. I don't expect much out of country singers because if they were smart they would have gotten that job managing the local Circle K, but can you spell sin? Here's a hint: I just spelled it.
But it goes deeper. Even if you took Jesus out of country music and showed the guy some respect by not profiteering off of him, he'd still be perturbed with country music. It's the type of values that are represented in country music that Jesus would have found disheartening. Jesus was a tolerant man who encouraged people to mind their own business. Judge not lest ye shall be judged...ring a bell? He didn't support the government nor did he support religious authority. Jesus was clearly an outspoken liberal. If he were alive today, he'd be labeled an America-hating pinko communist just like the Dixie Chicks and John Kerry.
Country, both the musical genre and the fan base, proved how narrow-minded and intolerant it was when the Dixie Chicks took a pre-concert shot at George W. Bush. Country fans were outraged and they gleefully burned their CD's and sent the girls death threats. Country music luminaries like Toby Keith piled on and took shots at the Dixie Chicks because it was a great opportunity to sell more records. Sadly, the free-willed legacy of country icons such as Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson was ignored while moronic fans and greedy artists circled their wagons around a provincial philosophy of me right, you wrong.
Jesus wouldn't be feeling it. If he does take the wheel, he'll crash into a wall to put himself out of the misery of being stuck in a car with some country singer who just doesn't get it. Carrie Underwood won American Idol because she's blond and her ass looks good in tight jeans. Don't sing about Jesus, paint on a pair of pants, squeeze into a belly shirt and shake what your momma gave you. It's got to be less of a sin to sell sex than it is to sell Jesus.