Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


RIP Robert E. Lee
April 8, 2013 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Country singer Brad Paisley and hip-hop artist LL "Cool" J join forces to help Americans clear the air re: Civil War, racism, the "hood," and Lynyrd Skynyrd shirts with their new song, Accidental Racist.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (197 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just listened and it's like White Tears but in song form.
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:15 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hurt. The pain. Such things should not be.
If that cleared any air, I will be surprised.
posted by Seamus at 11:18 AM on April 8, 2013


I got excited for a second there because of Brad Paisley's knack for upbeat, silly songs with great guitar solos but it's a BALLAD?
posted by Lorin at 11:21 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think you can be a Skynyrd fan without buying a t-shirt sporting the Confederate flag.
posted by starvingartist at 11:22 AM on April 8, 2013 [42 favorites]


I actually kind of like the idea of LL Cool J and a country singer doing a song about race, but that's not the song I'd have them sing. Paisley's verses don't really grapple much with the problems of the Confederate flag as a symbol, and LL Cool J's aren't much better.

Also, I can actually like Brad Paisley, against my better judgment, but that song wasn't a good use of him.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:24 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Now, I don't mind chopping wood
And I don't care if the money's no good.
You take what you need
And you leave the rest,
But they should never
Have taken the very best."
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


I appreciate the spirit behind the idea, but the execution just ends up showing how little most people think about racism and how uncomfortable it still makes them when they do.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:26 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


IF YOU DON'T JUDGE MY GOLD CHAINS
I'LL FORGET THE IRON CHAINS
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:26 AM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


So... why the scare quotes on the "Cool"?
posted by chavenet at 11:27 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Pop-country makes me wish the North was a little more thorough in their vanquishing of the South (and I'm from the south). Has there been any innovation in that genre over the past 30 years?

On that note, it's a shame it's 2013 and this song is still relevant. Should've been made sometime between 1866 and 1954....

Oh god, I am at LL Cool J's part...this is horrible.
posted by cloeburner at 11:27 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why do modern country message songs have to be so ham-fisted? Those lyrics read like they were torn out of a confused Junior High student's notebook. I don't even think he really tackled the message that well. But thanks for reminding me why I stopped paying attention to LL years ago.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like Brad and LL (and Skynyrd). I'll have to check this out later.
posted by jonmc at 11:28 AM on April 8, 2013


So... why the scare quotes on the "Cool"?

"Cool" is just a nickname -- it's not his real name.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:29 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


It should be more like "LL Cool" J. LL is part of his nickname "Ladies Love Cool" J
posted by Ad hominem at 11:29 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The quotes seem like an error to me. He's not someone named LL J who goes by "Cool." The whole thing is a nickname.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:31 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Except the J. His name really is James.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:32 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wanted to LAUGH MY ASS OFF but I actually kind of liked it. God help me, I'm warmin' up to country. edit: Ok, clearly I commented before the LL Cool J verse.
posted by phaedon at 11:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


His name is L L J, of the Amherst Js. "Cool" is just an adjective that describes the frosty clime of his homeland.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:35 AM on April 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


Why do modern country message songs have to be so ham-fisted?

They're written for people who buy "modern country" music?
posted by thelonius at 11:35 AM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


phaedon, no. There is great country — great pop country, even. This is not it.

Here: Springsteen — Eric Church (ignore the video, duh)
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


If this makes you think any less of LL as an rapper (and it should, imo)... please don't forget that he's touring with Public Enemy, De La Soul and Ice Cube this summer. (And you should totally go to that.)

I just do not want to hear the phrase "I'd like to bring out my special guest, Brad Paisley..." while I'm there.

Some other comments while I brought this up w/ my friends last night:

1. "this belongs on the fake kazaa songs twitter"
2. "this is the
absolute worst song
i have ever heard
EVER
EVER HEARD"

---

also: "L" "L" "Cool" J, while we're at it. James is his first name. Jeez, people.
posted by raihan_ at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I assumed the quotes were a deliberate (and correct) commentary on how uncool James has become.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


There is great country — great pop country, even. This is not it.

Send me more, sumzbitches! I'm ready to convert!
posted by phaedon at 11:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Brad's "Alcohol," may be the best drinking song of the new millenium. This theory is bar tested.
posted by jonmc at 11:39 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Aw, I've got a soft spot for Brad Paisley, as he's responsible for one of the most trying-so-hard-to-be-openminded new country songs I've ever heard: Southern Comfort Zone.

Not everybody drives a truck, not everybody drinks sweet tea
Not everybody owns a gun, wears a ball cap boots and jeans
Not everybody goes to church or watches every NASCAR race
Not everybody knows the words to “Ring Of Fire” or “Amazing Grace"

posted by redsparkler at 11:41 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


You don't put quotes around a stage name like that, people. Jeeeeeeeeeez
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Starvingartist, I don't think you are correct. I went to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert a few years back...it was the only time I felt really uncomfortable. We left early, amid the sea of confederate flags. And I'm a white girl.
posted by Kokopuff at 11:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: "So... why the scare quotes on the "Cool"?

"Cool" is just a nickname -- it's not his real name.
"

So his real name is Ladies Love James?
posted by chavenet at 11:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


So his real name is Ladies Love James?

As I understand it, yes. "Cool" was added on later.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Has there been any innovation in that genre over the past 30 years?

Well, the mainstream moved a little less pop and a little more country back in the early 90s and more or less stayed there. It's hard to imagine Barbara Mandrell getting billed as a country artist in 2013.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:45 AM on April 8, 2013


I mean, could there be a bigger rap sellout than LL Cool J? (Rhetorical - clearly Ice Cube) I imagine they put him on this track because everyone from the South watches NCIS. I'm such a cynical hip-hop bastard.
posted by phaedon at 11:45 AM on April 8, 2013


L L Cool "Beans"

Because plates.
posted by gwint at 11:49 AM on April 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


How can there be a rap "sell-out"? The idea that it's bad to make money by selling records is not part of the culture, as far as I can tell.
posted by thelonius at 11:54 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The last innovation in pop country can be encapsulated by these unfortunate words: "Hey man, have you heard The Eagles?"

There is one fairly popular country artist on a major label who's doing some interesting things, mixing very traditional country music with heavy metal, psychobilly and a mess of other things in shows that span multiple sets focusing on each. And he's about as much of a legacy artist as can be: Hank Williams III. I don't think Nashville has any idea what to do with him, though, so he's a fringe guy, even if he's a popular one.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:57 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Jack the Ripper, a man not a myth, AKA James "Todd" Smith.
posted by box at 11:58 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why do modern country message songs have to be so ham-fisted?

Not just country---R&B lyrics are pretty much defined by platitudinous uplift and 3rd-grade-reading-level storytelling. Pop-rock works the same way (esp. the emo side). This is a general (and appalling) trend in current popular music, and oh god it's awful
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:00 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Here's a Branch (thread?) on the song. Some good insight there, as well.

and, box, I call your Jack the Ripper and raise you an electrifying live version from last year.

another comment re "Accidental Racist"... "it ain't over and over that's for sure."
posted by raihan_ at 12:00 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fans of the television show Nashville: I'm pretty certain some song with a similar message is going to be an upcoming plot point for the hated Avery character.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:01 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I admire the sentiment behind this, but man, what a bad, bad song. And I'm the guy who likes most things.

Brad Paisley is one of a small handful of modern country stars that are actually great musicians that have some fierce chops on their instruments and write great country songs (see also: Clint Black). But this ...
posted by jbickers at 12:06 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I actually think the ham handedness is part of the charm of country music, even non-modern country music; it's not like Hank Williams is telling complicated stories. Done right, the lyrics are direct in a way that helps the emotional impact. Of course, the number of people who can do ham handed lyrics well is pretty low, but someone like George Jones can make a song that would otherwise be totally graceless really good.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:06 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


How can there be a rap "sell-out"? The idea that it's bad to make money by selling records is not part of the culture, as far as I can tell.

Haha, this comment blew my mind. You're right, I guess the concept of "selling out" in hip-hop is antiquated, no longer relevant, a relic of the '80 and '90s.

"I am Posdnous / I be the new generation of slaves / Here to make papes to buy a record exec rakes / the pile of revenue I create / but I guess I don't get a cut cuz my rent's a month late / The deeds of a natural / are seeds that are no longer planted / so the famine in the mind is strong"
posted by phaedon at 12:07 PM on April 8, 2013


"So... why the scare quotes on the "Cool"?

They really ought to be on "Accidental."
posted by Sys Rq at 12:07 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


hip-hop artist LL "Cool" J

Hip-hop artist? Not really. Rapper/Actor (or vice versa these days). He's more known for NCIS than his brief hip-hop career.

And that was TRULY horrible. When Paisley starts singing over LL's rap, it's like the Oscar music playing over someone's acceptance speech.

I can't imagine how offensive this song must be to black people. Instead of reparations, we get ... THIS?

And RIP, Robert E. Lee? I can't even start.

How can there be a rap "sell-out"? The idea that it's bad to make money by selling records is not part of the culture, as far as I can tell.

Oh c'mon. Every genre of music has a notion of authenticity. Vanilla Ice is consider a sellout b/c he stole an Alpha Phi Alpha step chant and turned it into a cheesy pop song.

Pitbull is a sellout by his very existence:

"Look, Pitbull is a product. Don't get it fucked up—I'm a businessman. This industry is 90 percent business, 10 percent talent. It's the people who think they're talented, that their shit don't stink, who get left behind."

They really ought to be on "Accidental."

Ha. Yeah, it's like "Y U mad, coffee bro? I like Skynrd." What the fuck is "accidental" about that? He knows the shirt is offensive, and wears it anyway.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


Not the best song/lyrics/beat/application but a cool gesture for all parties involved.

Yea, that's about all I have to say about that. I don't expect to be hearing it on the streets back home either in A) large pickup trucks or B) lowriders with rims. But perhaps it'll make a showing in the Chevy / Ford / Honda / Toyota Sedan-SUV crowd.

And that'd be better than a hit in the head with a dull ax as my dad said.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:19 PM on April 8, 2013


They're in full Eddie Murphy–Joe Piscopo, "side by side, you are my amigo, Negro, let's not fight" mode right now, and they can't be stopped.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:19 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Palate cleanser:

Rock the Bells, Soul Train, 1986
posted by mrgrimm at 12:19 PM on April 8, 2013


Not just country---R&B lyrics are pretty much defined by platitudinous uplift and 3rd-grade-reading-level storytelling. Pop-rock works the same way (esp. the emo side). This is a general (and appalling) trend in current popular music, and oh god it's awful

Except I don't think it's anything new. Johnny Cash and Elvis (to pick two off the top of my head) made some truly godawful hamfisted message songs going on 50 years ago now. Go back closer to 100 years and you've got some seriously trite crap coming from A.P. Carter in between the bits of timeless brilliance. Go back 150 years and you've got Stephen Foster, who could be schmaltzy and sentimental as fuck.

And here I'm just naming artists who I admire. If I started in on the hacks and the also-rans it'd be even worse.

When you aim for "timeless" and "universal," "platitudinous" is one of the real common failure modes. 'Twas ever thus.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 12:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ice-T and Perry Farrell did it better.
posted by chillmost at 12:22 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Holy crap. That was awful.

Moral: dress nicely.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:24 PM on April 8, 2013


Not just country---R&B lyrics are pretty much defined

Where is this so-called modern R&B you are listening to? That genre officially died with Teddy Pendergrass in 2010.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:26 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


RIP Robert E. Lee

What? On the same day as Thatcher?
posted by octobersurprise at 12:26 PM on April 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


(Er, that said, I don't think LL and Brad Paisley are even aiming at "timeless" here. I don't know what the hell they're aiming at, and I'm pretty sure they don't know either. But whatever, there's always been clueless twerps too — it's just that before the era of recorded sound and cheap distribution, all you had to do was kick them out of the house or take their banjo away and you wouldn't have to listen to them anymore.)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 12:27 PM on April 8, 2013


Ice-T and Perry Farrell did it better.

... and Sly Stone and Rose Stone did it better than Ice-T and Perry Farrell. :p
posted by mrgrimm at 12:28 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]



Purity draped in hubris.
Icons are us.
Stand, back to back,
wait for the seconds to count the paces,
then turn and fire.
You are despicable.
Don't bother me, I'm reloading.

Now, back to the show:
Oh, ah've got tears in my ears,
from layin' own mah back,
cryin' on my pillar over yeeew.

[that's what I'm talking about]
Oh when will they ever learn?
when will they eeeever learn?....

[Oh, shut up]
posted by mule98J at 12:32 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fans of the television show Nashville: I'm pretty certain some song with a similar message is going to be an upcoming plot point for the hated Avery character.

...A few weeks behind, are we?
posted by mykescipark at 12:35 PM on April 8, 2013


Mike Patton and Rahzel did it differently
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's terrible.

This is a bit out of date, but then I don't really feel like the burden of proof is on me to prove an entire genre isn't terrible: Here are some really really good, mostly contemporary country songs.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:51 PM on April 8, 2013


Hip-hop artist? Not really.

Er ... the man was one of the forerunners of new school hip hop. His first studio album, Radio, released in 1985, was both hugely influential and pretty highly acclaimed.

Though, to be fair, this song isn't very good.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wanted to like this, i feel like the heart is in the right place, but the execution is poor, though I admit I'm not familiar with Paisley's work (or a great deal of country for that matter). The vocals and lyrics were alright, if a little simple, but LL's rhymes were weak.

Also, whoever produced this track needs to either be fired, or ask Gangstagrass (or Cowboy Troy even) how rap and country work together, or hell, just listen to that one weird Krazy Bone track if that's too much trouble. I actually cringed when LL was abruptly trying to wedge his lines into the chorus.

(I admit I may be slightly biased as I never forgave LL for dissing Canibus.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


To expand on why this is terrible:

No one here's heart is in the right place. LL's heart, in particular, is diving like Scrooge McDuck into the huge pile of gold coins that is the contemporary country/pop country/Nashville/whatever audience. I don't see why else he would be lazily rapping over a non-beat about how yeah slavery was bad, but the North did some bad things too so it all evens out (???)

It seems pretty clear that he was offered the chance to mumble his way through an awful verse in a studio somewhere thousands of miles from Mr. Paisley, then let the Protools hacks and the marketing department do the rest, in exchange for synergy and expanding his brand with the largest-growing demographic of blah blah blah.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:59 PM on April 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


I think the song was pretty terrible but the "why can't we all just get along?" message is sincere.
posted by Malice at 1:00 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why do modern country message songs have to be so ham-fisted? Those lyrics read like they were torn out of a confused Junior High student's notebook.

That's basically today's pop country music, of which Brad Paisley is a major star. He's an entertainer, not really much more. It's kid of funny to hear all the positive vibes for Paisley in this thread. If you like cheesy, top 40 country, he's your guy. If you wanted anything a little heavier, he wasn't close to being the right guy for this song. It sucks because, in this context, Paisley sucks.

Pop-country makes me wish the North was a little more thorough in their vanquishing of the South (and I'm from the south).

Is this a twist on the 'I have a black friend' so I can say racist crap? If you feel the need to include the modifier, might want to rethink what you're saying.
posted by justgary at 1:08 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Haven't listened yet, will trust you all that it is terrible. Both of these artists have done things that weren't terrible lately. I liked Brad Paisley's Christmas duet with Colbie Caillat and the beat on LL Cool J's "Take It".

Also, R Kelley had a great country/RnB song recently, although granted, it wasn't about slavery.
posted by subdee at 1:08 PM on April 8, 2013


I'm sorry, but there's got to be a way to intelligently reject iron chains, while still rejecting tasteless gold chains. (And let's not even talk about those hideous sagging pants that make you look like you had a bowel accident.)

Gaudy gold chains: Not acceptable on bo-hunks... and not acceptable on bro-hunks either.

I mean, really... there's a huge need in this country for a black Tim Gunn.
posted by markkraft at 1:09 PM on April 8, 2013


1985 LL Cool J is rolling over in his grave listening to this punched in nonsense by 2013 LL. Just absolutely awful. Also, didn't "sagging" go out in 1993? That said, I look forward to the Mel Gibson David Cross comedy collaboration.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 1:12 PM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


"I name this child 'Ladies Love'. Look, are you sure about this, Mr and Mrs James?"
posted by Paul Slade at 1:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This smells like a reality TV setup.

Seriously, I'm glad that LL Cool J is ready to let the south off the hook for slavery. That was pretty much all we needed in order to start addressing systemic community dysfunction, grinding poverty, violence and limited economic opportunity in black communities. So glad that black people were able to come around before it was too late.

Look, it's the 21st century. People who wear confederate flags are dicks. Full stop. And equating the regalia of the slave-owning south with the fashion choices of young black men is just fucking stupid.

LL Cool J was living on borrowed time when he did that collaboration with Jennifer Lopez 10 years ago. This is just sad.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:28 PM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'll be cool with your white hood, if you're down with my black hoodie?!
posted by markkraft at 1:34 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't call it a comeback; he's been washed-up for years.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:35 PM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


It is almost impossible for a rapper to sell out. It is all part of the hustle which we do not knock, but Ice T has it by a nose, he went from cop killer to Ice Loves Coco.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:35 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Only 42 days until the new Daft Punk album. Thank God.
posted by 4ster at 1:39 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Only 42 days until the new Daft Punk album.

So looking forward to their tone-deaf collaboration with Intik.

Oh wait. That is a thing that would never fucking happen.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:43 PM on April 8, 2013


Ah, Metafilter. "Fuck the good; it's the perfect or nothing!"
posted by Guy Smiley at 1:45 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always feel conflicted about Brad Paisley. I want to like his songs, but most of the ones I've heard just don't do it for me. Thank the FSM for Lyle Lovett and George Strait.
posted by wintermind at 1:46 PM on April 8, 2013


It is a natural product of aging to go from the man who sang Cop Killer to the man who signs up for Ice Loves Coco. I think the money is incidental.
posted by damehex at 1:46 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney
posted by exogenous at 1:50 PM on April 8, 2013


1. I love Brad, and I think this could have been a lot worse. It's clumsy, and dumb, and wrong about Lynyrd Skynyrd, but hey, at least it isn't actively racist.
2. If you're interested in a real discussion of modern country that isn't bad, check out Kenny Chesney's You + Tequila, Miranda Lambert's Dear Diamond, Jason Aldean's Big Green Tractor, Tim McGraws's One of Those Nights, anything by the Civil Wars or heck even the show Nashville, which often has the best kind of modern country on it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:52 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


>>Pop-country makes me wish the North was a little more thorough in their vanquishing of the South (and I'm from the south).

>Is this a twist on the 'I have a black friend' so I can say racist crap?"


No. It's not. It's legitimate social criticism, albeit not as fully fleshed out.

Don't want to be treated like a negative stereotype? Don't dress and act like a negative stereotype.
posted by markkraft at 1:52 PM on April 8, 2013


The last innovation in pop country can be encapsulated by these unfortunate words: "Hey man, have you heard The Eagles?"

This is simply not true. There was also that time in the 1990s when Mutt Lange married Shania Twain and produced her albums and then everyone decided that all new country songs forever (and ever amen) should sound like twangy Def Leppard covers.
posted by gompa at 1:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


It is a natural product of aging to go from the man who sang Cop Killer to the man who signs up for Ice Loves Coco. I think the money is incidental.

I hadn't considered he maybe loves Coco more than he hates cops now. I'd say that is a positive change.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:55 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The response from Yo, Is This Racist? (previously on Metafilter), submitted without additional comment.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:59 PM on April 8, 2013


There is one fairly popular country artist on a major label who's doing some interesting things, mixing very traditional country music with heavy metal, psychobilly and a mess of other things in shows that span multiple sets focusing on each. And he's about as much of a legacy artist as can be: Hank Williams III.

Quoted for goddamn truth.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:00 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Given the current state of country music and of LL Cool J's career as a recording artist, I expected something bad, but that exceeded my expectations of awfulness by a fairly large margin.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 2:01 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


MCMikeNamara: I appreciate the spirit behind the idea, but the execution just ends up showing how little most people think about racism and how uncomfortable it still makes them when they do.

This is exactly the reaction I had to this Paisley/LL song. There's nothing to rescue its spirit. What a train wreck.

And it makes my SKIN CRAWL, how embarrassed I feel when I listen. Embarrassed for LL, embarrassed for heart-on-sleeve country singers, embarrassed for racial harmony itself.

But I like this blue thread for pointing out that this kind of song is an American tackiness treasure with many examples to share around. Of all of them, the Sly track is a real gem and the Ice-T/Perry cover of it gives me nostalgia too.

PLUS! The Piscopo/Murphy duet still holds up.
posted by damehex at 2:02 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want to like his songs, but most of the ones I've heard just don't do it for me.

Try Welcome to the Future.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:03 PM on April 8, 2013


Holy crap. That was awful.

No, it was far worse than awful.
posted by dobbs at 2:13 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


So why is this addressing "the man who waited on me at the Starbucks down on main" and not like, his neighbor or co-worker. Am I the real racist here?
posted by Ad hominem at 2:15 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


In spite of what I just witnessed, LL Cool J to me, is a Phenomenon.

But that thing there? -No.
posted by flippant at 2:17 PM on April 8, 2013


Sorry I burned a cross on your lawn / I'm just a fan of symbolism
posted by naju at 2:29 PM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'll forgive you my burning cross / if you forgive my burning man

Tribe edition?
posted by phaedon at 2:32 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"don't you get it? I told you, All this shit is is the past! We can't rewrite history! Now give me my fucking grande caramel macchiato"
posted by Ad hominem at 2:33 PM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also, didn't "sagging" go out in 1993?

no, it really didn't - it's still fairly prevalent
posted by pyramid termite at 2:37 PM on April 8, 2013


Well, I for one am glad we finally got that whole racism thing sorted out. It was kind of starting to worry me.
posted by koeselitz at 2:43 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


of course, this won't mean anything until lynyrd skynyrd come up with an answer song like they did with neil young, right?

*shudders*
posted by pyramid termite at 2:43 PM on April 8, 2013


i'll stop getting screwed by the system / if you stop screwing your sister

i could quit my job and do this all day.
posted by phaedon at 2:46 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The definitive statement about Lynyrd Skynyrd and racism already got made 12 years ago and nothing more needed to be said. As Hank III says, "Pop country really sucks."
posted by kjh at 2:55 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I was done when the line 'we're still paying for the mistake' came up.

Because. No. Brad. You and I, and white folks all over the Southern Comfort Zone and beyond are still cashing the fucking checks. And they are enormous checks, even for those of us who have no involvement in the music industry.

We aren't 'still' paying for anything. If you can't see that, tell me why Darius Rucker, born in South Fucking Carolina....

Actually, don't. Because I can hear you stuttering that it was really about his past in rock music, not, oh certainly never, about the color of his skin.

Besides which, that line also suggests in context that Brad thinks somebody ought to consider the 'debt' paid and just get over it already.

Which. Nope. In order for you and me to be benefitting from being white, lots of people are continuing to suffer because they are not white. And your song about a tee shirt and boping people see there's more to you than that? It does nothing to address that fundamental problem.
posted by bilabial at 3:00 PM on April 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


You know, my husband plays in a band which often segues from hillbilly drinking songs to rap songs, with the help of an electrified washboard and the occasional tranced-out drum solo. There are many other bands doing equally interesting things with mixing rap and country plus other genres.

This is not one of those things.
posted by emjaybee at 3:13 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dear LLCoolJ,

I know that you would like to have some new hits and sell some records. Here is how you do it:

There are very few people who can make some sort of claim to be the Godfather of Rap or some similar title. You were doing it back in 1985. You had a lot of hits. You have released records covering 28 years. You are uniquely qualified for this position.

One of the interesting things about rap is that there are almost no cover versions that become hits. Jay Z or Eminem or whoever are not going to put a cover on their new album. You need to stake your claim as the Godfather (or whatever better title) of Rap. You need to do an entire album of covers. You would do exclusively classics. You would do some Sugarhill Gang, Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, etc. You would do some of the monster hits as well as some nuggets. You would choose songs that would fit your own style. You might even throw something in as recent as Eminem's "Lose Yourself" or something. You would also include new versions of one or two of your own classics. You would market the album not just as you being the Godfather of Rap, but you would be marketing it as proof of the staying power and quality of rap (this would be an attempt to address the lack of remakes we hear and how little old rap songs get played on oldies-type channels).

I want ten percent.

flarbuse
posted by flarbuse at 3:14 PM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


He'd just make a bunch of classic, raw, still-vital tracks sound safe, cheap and commercial. I don't think there's anything he can do at this point; I know it sounds harsh but he should've hung it up a long time ago.
posted by naju at 3:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want him to cover Run-DMC's version of "Walk This Way," just to see if it would cause a singularity of some kind.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:24 PM on April 8, 2013


Snoop Lodi Dodi

Btw check out the alliteration "cuz it's cool when you cause an cozy condition" and multis "woke up around ten in the mornin, gave myself a stretch a mornin yawn an" in that song.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:36 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


man they should have consulted me about this
posted by rap and country at 3:53 PM on April 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


DEF Squad -- Rappers Delight. is also a cover. (tame-one's druggie fresh is almost a lodi dodi cover, too).

LL Cool J, for the CBS upfronts last year performed with an opera singer a modified version of "rock the bells" where he rapped about Les Moonves and working for CBS. It was insanely terrible, I would love if a version of that popped up on youtube, because nobody else believes me that it happened (though there are some old references in the blogosphere).
posted by lkc at 3:55 PM on April 8, 2013


I started to imagine a completely overhauled Hank III/Del the Funky Homosapien version of this song, with 1000% better music/lyrics/everything. And then I realized that Hank and Del wouldn't bother to record a song like this because they're already too busy making awesome music that blithely strides over the lines of race, culture, and genre like they weren't even there. The medium is the message!
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:55 PM on April 8, 2013


All you idiots talking about "best hits" albums are one step firmly behind the industry. Nobody makes money selling records anymore. This is the end game, bitches.
posted by phaedon at 3:59 PM on April 8, 2013


The band that is currently called Lynyrd Skynyrd is a travesty and the last two albums they put out have been garbage.


And...and...and...I am going to Darlington for a NASCAR race in May and I bet I hear this terrible song 100 times over that weekend in the campground.
posted by zzazazz at 4:09 PM on April 8, 2013


On the bright side, this song is a great example of showing rather than telling.

Brad Paisley's song perfectly embodies the phrase "But one of my closest friends is black," and does so without even once using those words.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:16 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


For those who want to know the lyrics, but don't want to suffer through the song: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/b/brad_paisley/accidental_racist.html

As for the song. Wow. I can't imagine the sort of total lack of awareness it takes to wear a Confederate battle flag, the Southern Swastika itself, with any intent but declaring yourself to be a proud and unrepentant racist.

I suppose it's possible, but I also suppose you'd have to study to get to be that completely out of touch and thoughtless.
posted by sotonohito at 4:16 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


In addition to the fact that racial inequality and injustice is, to Brad Paisley, simply a matter of history, and not a set of present and continuing problems that we're all party to, he seems to think that this hoopla people make (by looking at him funny when he's just trying to buy a coffee while wearing a divisive symbol) boils down to "Southern blame."

Not guilt, but blame. It's horribly ironic that he set out to write a song about mutual understanding, but instead wrote a song about how he perceives he's being persecuted, as is the South as a whole.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:34 PM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Yowtch. There are OTHER Lynyrd Skynyrd shirts. If you are really concerned about "accidental racism" maybe buy one of those?
posted by nile_red at 4:35 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


This song obviously comes from an alternate universe in which the vast majority of young Southern country music fans don't also own and revere 36 Chambers and Illmatic.

"Goodness! What's this hippity-hop in my country music! I should re-evaluate my implicit assumptions about black people!"

Gah.

And I was about to say, you know, at least give Brad and LL points for trying but... No. Let's not. Let's reward this Frankenstein's monster of soulless amalgam, this empty gesture, this blatant we-are-the-world tokenism with what it deserves: fuck all.

It does a disservice to every white kid at a Green Seed show. It's a slap in the face to every black kid sitting in her bedroom practicing Metallica riffs until her fingers bleed. It puts people in boxes then congratulates them for peeking over the top.

"You don't have to be a racist to like Skynyrd!" Well, golly, Brad, thanks for that. Skynyrd hasn't fucking mattered since Ronnie's plane went down, which is a goddamn shame, because I imagine Ronnie would have some choice words for the lame shit said in his name. After all, Skynyrd WOULD NOT HAVE EXISTED without Muscle Shoals and Memphis and Motown -- that redneck stomp they did so well comes straight out of soul music filtering down into the steamy cultural wasteland of the Florida panhandle.

You want to bring folks together, Brad? Play your damn guitar. Lay into a Wilson Pickett tune like your life depended on it.

Argh.

I'm babbling. This upsets me.

Here. Palate-cleanser. See, these kids fucking GET it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:43 PM on April 8, 2013 [43 favorites]


Here. Palate-cleanser. See, these kids fucking GET it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:43 PM on April 8 [+] [!]


Nice find!!!
posted by tantrumthecat at 4:49 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here at MeFi Music, I offer my musical message to Civil War revisionist racism, if anyone cares to listen.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


BTW, the song of mine that I linked to just above was directly inspired by a comment from BitterOldPunk, whose comment just upthread here is one that I can't favorite enough.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:04 PM on April 8, 2013


*awaits royalty check*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:05 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


*awaits royalty check*

That makes two of us.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:05 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Help I'm White and I Can't Get Down
posted by spitbull at 6:17 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


BTW, the song of mine that I linked to just above was directly inspired by a comment from BitterOldPunk, whose comment just upthread here is one that I can't favorite enough.

I hate this stupid song (Accidental Racist) and it makes me mad and sad, but it's almost worth it that they did this terrible thing so that we could have BitterOldPunk's comment.
posted by sweetkid at 6:22 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Up with Bitter Old Punk posting boss songs and down with this song thing that LL is burping on!
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:38 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that the most aggravating thing about this (to me) is that you could take the line about being caught between southern pride and southern blame and do something interesting with it but that's not what we got here. This was a strangely emotionless mess. I'm pretty sure that Paisley is more talented than this, but it sure didn't come through here.
posted by wintermind at 6:46 PM on April 8, 2013


sotonohito: "As for the song. Wow. I can't imagine the sort of total lack of awareness it takes to wear a Confederate battle flag, the Southern Swastika itself, with any intent but declaring yourself to be a proud and unrepentant racist. "

Here's the thing that a lot of people don't understand about the south. In a lot of families, the race issue was simply not discussed after the civil rights movement. That shit was shut down like a gay uncle in the 50s. Schools taught about slavery by discussing the triangle trade but avoiding any talk of actual conditions or anything like that. Same with the civil rights movement: "these things happened," with no explanation of why.

This leads to a lot of people going around with the understanding that certain things are viewed as racist, but not really being able to understand why.
posted by wierdo at 7:33 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think that the most aggravating thing about this (to me) is that you could take the line about being caught between southern pride and southern blame and do something interesting with it but that's not what we got here. This was a strangely emotionless mess.

I couldn't agree more with that. The song started out fine enough and sounded almost like a flat out "Boy did us white people fuck up!" song but then in comes all the "Golly gee shucks, I'm just a southerner-eagle tears-falling towers" shit to completely negate it. Brad Paisley can put out some incredible MUSIC but the lyrics he chooses to sing, whether his own or spewed out from a Nashville songwriter house, leave a lot to be desired.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:51 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


(or Cowboy Troy even)

We met Cowboy Troy a couple of years back after a show not too far from us. Two of my nephews, Tre and Charlie are rabid Big and Rich, and as follows that, Cowboy Troy fans. We were the last in line, the boys were worried he'd leave, but he stayed to meet every one in line.

When the boys talked to him, he got down on their level (and he is every bit of 6 foot 5) and talked to them, signed all their stuff, then, Tre put his arms up, CT picked Tre up, hugged him, then picked Charlie up and did the same.

We got a great picture of them with him, then he left.

The next year, different venue, we waited in line to see CT after the show again and the boys were already out of sorts. Big Kenny had shaken their hands from the stage and John Rich gave them half of the guitar he breaks at the end of every show. Now, the boys were in line, and band members came out and introduced themselves to them, signed the guitar, all of that.

We were again, near the end of the line, with other CT fans quizzing them on B&R and CT trivia (which they knew all of it.) They got to the head of the line, CT looked at their hats (that were like what B&R where onstage) then he said, wait, I met y'all at Fredericksburg last year.

He signed their stuff, posed for a picture (with my nephews and me, and he had to come out as I was in my wheelchair) and talked to them for a couple minutes. The fact that he was so nice to them, twice, and remembered them?

I'll buy any damn music he sells. I mean it helps that we do like his music, but he really is awesome to his little fans which makes me like him all the more.
posted by SuzySmith at 7:53 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


The country - hiphop combo we need to see is Those Poor Bastards and Dälek. That could truly combine the undercurrents of modern country and the current state of race relations in a way that may well be awesome.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:33 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The link to the song is dead. Guess I ducked a bullet?
posted by LarryC at 9:03 PM on April 8, 2013


Do Dinosaur Burps count as country hip-hop?
posted by lkc at 9:32 PM on April 8, 2013


This works for me.

It doesn't work; it's awful. But the link works.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:16 PM on April 8, 2013


It ain't easy being white
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:23 PM on April 8, 2013


I will second the "dude, I'm sure there are other shirts you could wear for that band" remark. This is kind of the same logic as to why we don't see folks wandering around wearing swastikas (yes, it's time to Godwin this thread): sure, once upon a time they might have had a different meaning, or in this case...okay, I don't know squat about that band and can't even spell their name so I don't know why they thought this was a good idea, but the bottom line is: most folks seeing that THINK OF SOMETHING BAD and ARE GONNA GET UPSET. "Band fan" is not the first thing that comes to their minds, and you have to concede to that reality.

"I'm proud of where I'm from but not everything we've done"

I think that's probably the best line in this thing, and summarizes where Brad was trying to go with this. Unfortunately, "proud of being Southern," uh.... well, you can be into your country music and your boots and hat, but not your Confederate flag, dude. LLCJ may think that cowboy hat = racist: well...not quite, it's not that kind of symbol. Cowboy hat wearers may be more likely to be from the South (but don't ask me, I have known plenty of cowboy hat wearers in "liberal" CA) and thus possibly raise an inner red flag of "I dunno about that guy." I can understand that--I get an inner ruh-roh about the people who wear crosses and go on about Jesus every five minutes myself. But those aren't guarantees of racism (or religious bigotry) in the same way. They're not so specifically "this guarantees being a bigot, or at least that I am really super clueless about race" behavior.

I guess Brad is shooting for "Rebel flag doesn't mean I'm a racist," and maybe he doesn't mean it that way, but he needs to acknowledge that it makes him look like an ass to a good chunk of the population because thinking of a war over slavery is the first thing that comes to mind about that flag.


"Our generation didn't start this nation
And we're still paying for the mistakes
That a bunch of folks made long before we came"


True, but that paying is never going to stop, because us eeeeeevil white people can never make up for the harm our ancestors caused, or the smacking amounts of white privilege that we still enjoy on many levels to this day, comparatively speaking. It's why we can't have "White Pride Month," because there isn't pride in being the most bigoted racist color out there that subjugated everyone we could find, you know? We are ashamed, we have to be ashamed, we always have to be ashamed, because we can't forget this stuff. Or else we might just do it again.

I can see Brad is trying to be earnest about something, but he's not getting it. Fuck if I know what LLCJ is doing on this track, though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:23 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Replaced link with Pruitt-Igoe's; carry on.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:26 PM on April 8, 2013


"Our generation didn't start this nation
And we're still paying for the mistakes
That a bunch of folks made long before we came"


"Mistakes".

That's rich.

"Oh shit, dude, did I accidentally enslave you? Sorry. My mistake. Here, let me help you get those leg irons off. Boy, is my face red. How's the family? Enslaved, too?! You gotta be kidding me! Who did that? I did? Damn! What a Monday, huh?"

Mistakes.

That's what chattel slavery was. A mistake. Oops.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:37 PM on April 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


The talk about how "selling out doesn't exist in rap" is making me a bit uncomfortable and seems to reflect a complete ignorance of the genre. There's a lot out there besides Rick Ross and Diddy.
posted by corey le fou at 10:41 PM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


The talk about how "selling out doesn't exist in rap" is making me a bit uncomfortable and seems to reflect a complete ignorance of the genre

Yeah I was kidding a bit with that but you gotta admit there is a history of stuff like doing a St Ides ad and then bragging on a track about how much money you made.i will admit to being mostly ignorant but not completely.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:57 PM on April 8, 2013


Did racism exist before the word was invented? If so, what word was used to describe it?
posted by Birchpear at 11:34 PM on April 8, 2013


The talk about how "selling out doesn't exist in rap" is making me a bit uncomfortable and seems to reflect a complete ignorance of the genre.

I think it's a grafting of a dubious indie/art rock ethical shibboleth onto a genre that appears to me to celebrate financial success via the music business. Why does that make you uncomfortable? If I'm mistaken, and rap artists do consider some of their peers to be "selling out" (whatever that even means), I'd love to hear about it.
posted by thelonius at 2:23 AM on April 9, 2013


I wonder if LL Cool J is a Freemason. Paisley is a Freemason. Cool J criticized Jay Z for using Freemasonic imagery in his videos. But should that criticism be interpreted as a knock against Freemasonry, or a knock against those Freemasons who lack appropriate discretion? If LL Cool J is a Freemason, could it be that this video with Paisley was a manifestation of the Freemasonic ideal of brotherhood?
posted by Birchpear at 4:42 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Send me more, sumzbitches! I'm ready to convert!

I have found that the really interesting country music these days lurks under the name alt-country.

For example, I adore me some Freakwater.
posted by winna at 4:55 AM on April 9, 2013


I think it's a grafting of a dubious indie/art rock ethical shibboleth onto a genre that appears to me to celebrate financial success via the music business.

Success, sure — but not success by any means. The ideal is to succeed financially by being authentic in a way that grabs your listeners' attention.

Rap artists who succeed in a way that comes across as inauthentic get a lot of flak for it. That can include stuff like lying about your origins or your life story, mimicking other rappers' style rather than developing your own, betraying or disrespecting people who helped you on the way up, or claiming honors that you haven't earned. The idea is that if you had real talent you wouldn't need to do any of that stuff in order to sell records.

If I'm mistaken, and rap artists do consider some of their peers to be "selling out" (whatever that even means), I'd love to hear about it.

Listen to some of the tracks where Nas goes after Jay-Z. He is absolutely calling Jay-Z a sellout — not just for making money or selling records (which Nas was also doing, after all), but for making money and selling records by inauthentic means: by abandoning his roots, writing unoriginal rhymes, and exploiting Biggie's legacy.

I mean, not everyone would call Jay-Z a sellout. (Just like not everyone called Sonic Youth sellouts for signing to a major label back in the day.) But those tracks show you pretty clearly what the accusation looks like when it does get made.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 5:37 AM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thanks, that's really interesting. I admit my knowledge is pretty shallow here.

Really my axe to grind is with the alt- or indie rock culture construal of selling out, like the mentality of Kurt Cobain's friends making fun of him for buying a nice car after he got rich. Like you're freakin' Stockhausen or something because you make loud and fast 3 minute 45s.
posted by thelonius at 5:44 AM on April 9, 2013


Is the takeaway from that comment supposed to be that Stockhausen is a high roller or is it pop music isn't art?

I'm guessing it is supposed to be the latter, but I was momentarily diverted by the mental picture of ol' Karlheinz with a pet monkey and giant diamond-encrusted sunglasses.
posted by winna at 5:55 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Brad Paisley talks to Entertainment Weekly about the song:

“I’m with my audience 100 percent in the Southern pride thing, in the same way that a Yankees fan is very proud of where he’s from — that’s LL. We’ve got pictures of him in a New York Yankees cap doing his vocal, which is so appropriate.

“But, you know, it’s such a complicated issue — I’m reading up on it now, [since] I felt I needed to be well-armed for any discussion – and here he is in a Yankees cap, and you think to yourself, ‘Well here is the antithesis of what was the problem.’ But it’s not. New York City was all for slavery. They actually voted 60 percent against — or maybe 70 against — Abraham Lincoln because they didn’t like the idea of slavery going away because there goes cotton and there goes tobacco trade, you know what I mean? It’s very hypocritical to feel like it’s just the South’s fault.

“But, at the same time, symbols mean things, and I know one thing: It just doesn’t do any good to blatantly do things and be like, ‘Just get over it.’ That’s not what we’re saying. This is a very sensitive subject, and we’re trying to have the discussion in a way that it can help.”


Is he equating LL Cool J wearing a New York Yankees cap with Brad Paisley wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt with a Confederate flag? Is that a thing? Is the team name "Yankees" considered offensive by any significant percentage of people?
posted by mountmccabe at 8:18 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now there are two. There are two _______.: “Rap artists who succeed in a way that comes across as inauthentic get a lot of flak for it. That can include stuff like lying about your origins or your life story, mimicking other rappers' style rather than developing your own, betraying or disrespecting people who helped you on the way up, or claiming honors that you haven't earned. The idea is that if you had real talent you wouldn't need to do any of that stuff in order to sell records.”

Yeah, this is true – so much so that, to be honest, the Brad Paisley stuff in "Accidental Racist" didn't even shock me so very much. At this point, I expect that kind of awful equivocating whenever popular country stars try to take on important subjects. The line that somehow made me most uncomfortable, to the point where I actually physically cringed, was LL Cool J's:
If you don't judge my gold chains
I’ll forget the iron chains
I mean, that was the most viscerally impactful bit of ludicrous betrayal, in my mind. Brad Paisley's just an idiot, but LL should know better. "If you don't judge my gold chains"? If you forget this thing that's supposed to be an emblem of my own achievement, my own self-built worth, something I've created for myself? He's apologizing for that? That ain't hip hop, my friends. And not only is he apologizing – he's drawing an equivalence between the inconvenience – not even inconvenience – mild visual jarring that those gold chains cause on the one hand, and the hundreds of years of suffering and torture the iron chains of slavery caused?

This is basically the most crass, most egregious selling out imaginable – trading in one's birthright and the legacy that defines you, apologizing for it, and implicating anyone else who's suffered from racism as a complainer and a wet blanket if they don't go along and give in and become apologetic for who you are. And if anybody in the game even thought LL Cool J were a target worth aiming at, he'd catch hell for this.

Gah. I had to go listen to this just to cleanse my palate after that.
posted by koeselitz at 8:22 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


But the fact that Brad Paisley is a predictable idiot doesn't mean I let him off the hook, either. Honestly, the most telling part of his song is the hook, which he repeats over and over again. It's lopsided and weird in an obvious way that glaringly demonstrates how little good faith he has coming into this:
... caught between Southern Pride
and Southern Blame
See that? It obviously doesn't make sense. "Pride" and "blame" aren't opposites, nor does it make sense to set them up against each other like that. It's surprisingly clear – what fits into that space isn't Southern Blame – it's Southern Shame.

And that's so surprisingly clear that I think it's almost certain that whoever wrote the song wrote it as "Southern Pride and Southern Shame," but somebody – Paisley, his producer, his agent, somebody – thought it made sense to take the "Shame" out and replace it with "Blame." Because "Blame" makes the whole thing easier – that way, the sentence is saying, "I'm a Southerner who has pride in who I am, but people keep blaming me unfairly." And that's the general message in the rest of the song: a complete eschewing of any sense of responsibility or inherited moral burden for what happened and what is still happening in the South.

But, Brad – Southern Shame is a proper approach to this problem. Slavery is an object of Southern Shame. Centuries of racist torture and oppression, that's an object of Southern Shame. If we don't feel ashamed that our ancestors did those things, then we're completely ignoring the situation we live in and the context we ought to be owning and confronting.

I mean – you say you weren't alive back then, that you don't deserve blame for what happened. That's fair, and I don't blame you for slavery. But: if you want to stand around saying you're proud of being a Southerner, you have to confront what that actually means. You have to confront that history. I think it's possible to feel pride and shame at the same time; maybe it's necessary.

As it is, you're just being hideously dishonest with yourself.
posted by koeselitz at 8:36 AM on April 9, 2013 [18 favorites]


This song is like if David Brent used his money to make a country song instead of that music video.
posted by remo at 8:37 AM on April 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


I can see what they were trying to do, but both of these guys, if their previous work is any indication are capable of much better and I'd hate for this to be their only legacy.
posted by jonmc at 8:53 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did racism exist before the word was invented? If so, what word was used to describe it?
posted by Birchpear at 2:34 AM on April 9 [+] [!]


How about "The Great Chain Of Being?"
posted by damehex at 9:11 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the song was pretty terrible but the "why can't we all just get along?" message is sincere.

The more I think about it, the more I am insulted and angry by the message. There's a LOT of spin going on in those lyrics.
They called it Reconstruction, fixed the buildings, dried some tears
We're still siftin' through the rubble after a hundred-fifty years
I try to put myself in your shoes and that's a good place to begin
But it ain't like I can walk a mile in someone else's skin
To me, that "we" are are "siftin' through the rubble after 150 years" indicates "the white people whose shit got destroyed" not the "black people who didn't own anything anyway and should just be glad to be free."

It seems to imply that Reconstruction was mostly supposed to re-build all the white people's shit, not, you know, completely reform state governments to re-admit them to the country they just tried to secede from.

And "it ain't like I can walk a mile in someone else's skin" is shockingly ignorant.
wasn't there when Sherman's March turned the south into firewood
More equivocation: bad stuff happened to white people. Conveniently ignore that slavery is totally not comparable to "bad stuff."

and
I want you to get paid
???!!! was this written by Fox News?
I guess we're both guilty of judgin' the cover not the book
That sums it up right there. It seems like an attempt to whitewash history, to ignore the atrocities of slavery and its continuing aftereffects, and to ignore the devastating effects of modern racism on black people.
The red flag on my chest somehow is like the elephant in the corner of the south
And then there is the pure and utter nonsense.

You know, I watched this ridiculous fucking video yesterday, laughed it off and then totally forgot about it ... until on my train ride home, a bestraggled black woman in rags carrying a large trash bag full of aluminum cans took a deep breath and asked the whole train if maybe, possibly, anyone had a few coins to help her get something to eat. She reminded me of this stupid fucking video.

Everyone involved in this horrible project should step back and figure out a way to kill it.

Ah, maybe they've started ... I can see all the YouTube videos are getting pulled pretty quickly. I can't find the song to listen to anywhere.

On the other hand ... it will be awfully hard to get it off that new album that came out today. !! OOPS !!
posted by mrgrimm at 9:39 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


That Entertainment Weekly interview with Paisley that mountmccabe linked to up above – I think that cements pretty well the notion that Brad Paisley does not understand this and should not speak for anyone where race is concerned.
It was really obvious to me that we still have issues as a nation with this. There are two little channels in each chorus that really steal the pie. One of them is, ‘We’re still picking up the pieces, walking on eggshells, fighting over yesterday,’ and the other is, ‘Paying for the mistakes that a lot of folks made long before we came.’ We’re all left holding the bag here, left with the burden of these generations.
To Brad Paisley, one channel is saying "we're walking on eggshells," and the other channel is saying "mistakes that a lot of folks made long before we came." In other words – both of the channels are just mouthing rationalizations for ignoring racism and acting like it's not a problem anymore. It really says something when, in his mind, both "sides" are racist.

Then he continues:
We’re all left holding the bag here, left with the burden of these generations. And I think the younger generations are really kind of looking for ways out of this.
I agree that plenty of people (not just the younger generations) want a way out of having to think about racism. And... ? And you decided to give them one. Great.
But, you know, it’s such a complicated issue — I’m reading up on it now, [since] I felt I needed to be well-armed for any discussion – and here he is in a Yankees cap, and you think to yourself, ‘Well here is the antithesis of what was the problem.’ But it’s not. New York City was all for slavery. They actually voted 60 percent against — or maybe 70 against — Abraham Lincoln because they didn’t like the idea of slavery going away because there goes cotton and there goes tobacco trade, you know what I mean? It’s very hypocritical to feel like it’s just the South’s fault.
What ridiculous books is he reading? Lincoln won the state of New York in both the 1860 election and the 1864 election. It is true that the North had plenty of inborne racism, that it was not perfect in this regard, and that slavery had plenty of support in New York and other Northern states – although it seems a bit weird to claim that there were major tobacco or cotton interests in New York in 1860, to say the least. But that's not the point – he's missing it entirely. This is not about blaming anyone.

This is about the fact that the South stood up and fought a war in defense of slavery. That is a simple, true fact. There is no hand-waving or vague "well it's complicated" that takes away that simple fact. It doesn't 'make the North better' or 'make the South worse' – those are distractions from the central, essential fact, which is this crime against humanity which was the South's defense of slavery.
posted by koeselitz at 10:24 AM on April 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


I looked into that line too and found that while Lincoln won New York state he did not win New York City. The best information I could find was the Presidential Election Results by County (1860) at that Wikipedia link. If you zoom in NYC and surrounding areas didn't go to Lincoln but to the anti-Lincoln fusion ticket (though I cannot tell that that means they were actually voting for slavery). This site seems to have more information on what was going on in NY politics at the time.

(Which isn't to say that I am disagreeing with anything else there).
posted by mountmccabe at 11:59 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is the team name "Yankees" considered offensive by any significant percentage of people?

Baseball fans?
posted by drezdn at 12:10 PM on April 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


mrgrimm: here's one
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:12 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


How to Make Sense of Brad Paisley and LL Cool J's "Accidental Racist."
posted by box at 12:37 PM on April 9, 2013


If "Accidental Racist" becomes a single, it will become a hit, and millions of Americans just like that white man I know--and the white man Paisley plays in the song--will soak in it once an hour every hour on every country radio station in America.

I am contacting Alan Scherstuhl to see if he'll put his money where his mouth is. NO WAY.

I know a 65-year-old white man from my hometown who was raised by racists, went to school with racists, and, has never once been in the home of a black person. Ten years ago, he mentioned to me that he had recently taken a work-mandated diversity seminar. "I thought it would be bullshit," he said. "But then I realized that when a black man walks through the mall, everybody is looking at him and thinking 'There's a black man.' I'd never thought of that before."

Brad Paisley is asking his listeners to think of that.


No, he's not. He's saying that it's OK that his white listeners can't "walk a mile in someone else's skin" - it's almost the opposite. Paisley is saying. "we'll never understand each other, so let's just be civil about it." i.e. pipe down with your complaints and let's have a beer.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:59 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Accidental Racists and More: A Field Guide to the Racists of America
posted by homunculus at 1:52 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look, it's the 21st century. People who wear confederate flags are dicks. Full stop.

This. They thinks it's a cute, coy little ploy when southern racists sport the battle flag of a bunch of traitorous slave owners and their cannon fodder. We know what that flag means, they know what that flag means, and they snicker at us even as they deny it. Its message is as odious as they come. All the circumlocution about southern culture and shared history, and how the Civil War was about "states' rights" and, no, slavery wasn't the only states' right they fought for doesn't change the offensive actual history and meaning behind that symbol.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:29 PM on April 9, 2013


I'd never defend wearing the Confederate flag, but calling my ancestors cannon fodder doesn't really help make your point.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:34 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Probably gonna get flak for this, but I'm saying this sincerely: I genuinely don't understand why the "Southern pride" mentioned in the song is so important. It's usually bandied about as some completely unimpeachable thing, akin to loving the one true God or something. I don't get it. I don't have anything I'd particularly call "Northern pride," and I don't even have a great deal of American pride if I'm being honest, and I get along completely fine and live harmoniously with people. I have pride for my family and friends, and I care about community and making my city better, and I place importance in abstract concepts and ideals like social justice, empathy, the Golden Rule, etc. I just don't see why "I LOVE THE SOUTH" is such an important sentiment worthy of getting reverential about, compared to more important things in one's life. I'm probably being ignorant.
posted by naju at 2:50 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, the South is cool, they know how to do food right. Just saying. Bless their hearts.
posted by naju at 2:57 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I keep thinking this has to be a joke. It's a joke, right? Right?? Ugh.
posted by sarcasticah at 3:06 PM on April 9, 2013


Weird Al on Twitter:
.@pattonoswalt I WOULD do "Accidental Nazi" but I'm not sure I could get Mel Brooks to do the rapping part.
posted by koeselitz at 3:11 PM on April 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


There's certainly an argument that regional pride is silly, but it's really kind of academic basically everywhere is characterized by pride in being from where you're from. Northerners might not have much "Northern Pride," but they have plenty of pride in being from New York or Rhode Island or whereever. People want to have pride in their past and in their homes and you can't ignore that human need anymore than as a Southerner I can ignore the problems in my having pride in where I'm from.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:14 PM on April 9, 2013


Why "Accidental Racist" is Actually Just Racist by Ta-Nehisi Coates
posted by triggerfinger at 3:15 PM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I spent most of yesterday afternoon hooting over the reactions on Twitter to this song. I hadn't heard it. I had only read the Grantland piece. Now that I've heard it, thank you Pruitt-Igoe, I think the reactions are, if anything, understated. In my head this could only work as an uptempo number. As a ballad it's a fucking atrocity, and then LL Cool J comes in…

In all seriousness though, it might be hard for people from other places to even understand where Paisley is coming from.

For example, here in the Empire State of the South, you will find that there are people—white people, obviously—who still stand when Dixie is played. Although in fairness not as many as there once were, especially in the Atlanta area where, like Los Angelenos, we all come from somewhere.

Still, the Southern Heritage™ movement runs deeper and deeper the further you get from the cosmopolitan areas around the cities. Not an hour's drive from the Atlanta airport you can find rebel battle flags flown without a shred of irony. There are whole swaths of native Southerners who see displaying the Battle Flag simply and wholly as an expression of reverence for their ancestors who fought in what I was taught in school to call "The War of Northern Aggression." That their neighbors who are from the North or West, not to mention their African-American neighbors, see it as a symbol of racism and oppression never really entered their minds until relatively recently.

They were supported in this belief by the official actions of the legislature. The rebel Battle Flag was part of the State flag of Georgia for 45 years. It was only 12 years ago that it was changed. The current flag of Georgia is in fact just the original "Stars and Bars" flag of the Confederacy with 13 stars instead of 7 and the state seal in the middle. The fact that Georgians didn't get to vote on the new flag design, as was promised by then-candidate Gov. Sonny Perdue, is commemorated by signs you can still sometimes find nailed to trees along the roads in the hinterlands proclaiming "Sonny Lied!"

There were also the holidays. Until 1984 Confederate Memorial Day was an official state holiday. All state offices were closed and state employees got the day off with pay. In 1984 the Official Code of Georgia Annotated was amended to change the official holidays to match whatever the federal holidays were, eliminating Confederate Memorial Day from the calendar. However, the Governor could still designate public holidays and the law required at least one of January 19 (Robert E. Lee's birthday), April 26 (Confederate Memorial Day), and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) be chosen every year. In 2009 the O.C.G.A. was further amended to designate April as Confederate History and Heritage Month. This year, as usual, by proclamation of the Governor April 26th will be Confederate Memorial Day in Georgia. Also as usual, the University of Georgia will display the Constitution of the Confederacy from 9am to 5pm on the third floor of the library.

The way Georgia history was taught in the schools also has contributed to these misunderstandings. Utterly revisionist textbooks with their basis in the turn-of-the-century "Lost Cause" narratives were combined with reverent trips to the Cyclorama and Stone Mountain. In my day we went to the now defunct "War in Georgia" exhibit. These days if kids go at all it's to Confederate Hall to view a short documentary and the Antebellum Plantation.

My own position on this has evolved over the years. When I was a kid we had neighbors who were related to the original settlers of the area. They proudly displayed in their hallway a photo from during the war of the namesake of my neighbor in his Confederate uniform. These were genteel southern people whom I admired greatly and that to my knowledge were not prejudiced or bigoted in any way. They certainly never displayed any such behavior in my presence, despite numerous opportunities. I identified with and understood why so many of my friends and neighbors were desperate to hold on to the best parts of Southern culture.

As a teenager and adult though, I was exposed to the ugly side of that same Southern culture. I remember having to have a particularly egregious joke about baiting fields with watermelons explained to me and being genuinely shocked that the teller of joke would harbor such sentiments. Eventually, I grew to understand why, for example, my childhood dream of driving a replica of the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard was in fact unneighborly and insulting to a great many people.

All of which is to say, I honestly think that Paisley's heart was in the right place, but that he may not understand where all of us are coming from. Walking around in a Skynard shirt with a rebel flag on it just isn't okay anymore but there are millions of white Southerners—and at least one black one—who don't understand why. To them, it's a symbol of heritage instead of hatred and the only people they hear complaining are politically correct leftists.

On preview, homunculus' and triggerfinger's links put it better.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:21 PM on April 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


I genuinely don't understand why the "Southern pride" mentioned in the song is so important.

I think part of it is overcompensation. We're the poorest, dumbest, fattest, most hateful, least sophisticated, most reviled, most ridiculed part of the nation. We're what America sees when it looks in the funhouse mirror. There's a good reason Southern literature obsesses over the gothic and grotesque.

We're also in love with our own myths and delight in telling stories. Particularly lies, the telling of which we have elevated to an art form. And we LOVE to talk about ourselves. Don't believe it, just ask us.

And it's simple demographics, too. If you are from a small town in the South and you are smart or ambitious you leave as soon as you can. There is nothing for you here. There's pernicious anti-intellectualism and irrational fundamentalism. There's widespread disdain for folks who get "too big for their britches".

So the smart people leave, but they carry with them the myths. They spread them around. The myths mutate and grow. Maybe like a flower. Maybe like a cancer.

And besides, we're where all the good food and music comes from. :)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:36 PM on April 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


What’s got me upset are the dead. They go too slow. They’re
Just plain rotten—even a beating heart hardly tingles.
The crimes, the land, the lost second sight, the prayers—
None of these are picking the cotton out of the lies.
And no banter between the roots and the tombs.


-David Biespiel, "Mississippi God Damn"

I give Paisley props for risking his career on a little banter between the roots and the tombs. It seems to me his heart's in the right place. I too had only the broadest historical grasp of these issues, and zero linguistic or theoretical framework to articulate my thinking, until I stumbled into a couple of formative classes in school. I can't get behind the vitriol in some of these posts. It seems antithetical to the worthy goal of reconciling past and present in a healthy way, through dialogue and art. Even if the result is a tedious, embarrassing mess, I think it was an honest attempt.
posted by echocollate at 3:50 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


And besides, we're where all the good food and music comes from. :)

My mama was raised in the south, so I will give you the food part.

After this song I'm not so sure about the music part ....
posted by desjardins at 7:29 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't heard the song, only read the lyrics, but since when is the Confederate flag called a "red flag"? Is the line "reb flag" and peope just mis-transcribed it?
posted by amapolaroja at 1:37 AM on April 10, 2013


I haven't heard the song, only read the lyrics, but since when is the Confederate flag called a "red flag"? Is the line "reb flag" and peope just mis-transcribed it?

I'm in Texas and have lived in SC and although anecdotal I've never heard of it called a "red flag". I imagine people would think that sounds a bit communist, anyway. I think the singer just didn't want to say "confederate flag" or "rebel flag". Sort of like someone trying to call a Swastika a "pointed star". Yeah, okay, whatever.

Strangely I did once see a burly black American* on a Harley flying a rebel flag. It confused me and to this day I can't imagine his reasoning. The only thing I can think of is around here the rebel flag kind of represents independence and rebellion in a different way than it used to.

*I'm not sure African-American works because not everyone with dark skin came from Africa. Really we're all just "Americans" at this point, but I did need to describe his skin color so you could understand my confusion. Anyway, a topic for another day.
posted by Malice at 2:30 AM on April 10, 2013


Another part of what makes this song such a sad mess is that LL Cool J was already so instrumental in bridging the gap between country and hip-hop over twenty five years ago. In "Go Cut Creator Go" off "Bigger and Deffer", for example, he samples Chuck Berry and references Bill Haley and the Comets (Berry and Haley were pioneers in branching country music off into rock and roll music), and gives a shout-out to the '80s rockabilly revivalists The Stray Cats. So if you want to scrub that Accidental Racist junk out of your ears, here's LL doing it right:
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:19 AM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't have anything I'd particularly call "Northern pride,"

Northern Pride exists in the form of pride for not being Southern.
posted by applemeat at 11:01 AM on April 10, 2013


applemeat: I don't have anything I'd particularly call "Northern pride,"

Northern Pride exists in the form of pride for not being Southern.
Actually, I'd say that what is called "Southern Pride" exists in the North, but it's expressed in terms of ethnicity, i.e. Irish, Polish, Italian, German, Puerto Rican, etc.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:29 AM on April 10, 2013


In the north, it tends to be tied to a more specific locale. There is no such thing as "midwestern pride." I'm from Wisconsin, so I'm a Cheesehead. Someone from Upper Michigan is a Yooper. Someone from Illinois is a FIB - Fucking Illinois Bastard. sorry
posted by desjardins at 11:46 AM on April 10, 2013


I'd never defend wearing the Confederate flag, but calling my ancestors cannon fodder doesn't really help make your point.

If you think the majority of the Rebel Army were anything but to the slave-holders who instigated and hoped to benefit from the Civil War, you need to reread the history of that war.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:16 PM on April 10, 2013


If you think the majority of the Rebel Army were anything but to the slave-holders who instigated and hoped to benefit from the Civil War, you need to reread the history of that war.

Sure, the people who were actually driving the war (in this case the rich slave owners) treated the poor folks actually doing the fighting as cannon fodder. I don't come from time of family that owned slaves, so my ancestors were treated and used in this way. This is also a truth of every single war that has ever been fought in the history of time. 99% of all soldiers in all wars ever are poor cannon fodder to the people at the top, but calling someone cannon fodder is derogatory in a way that doesn't help make the point about the Confederate flag.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:34 PM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


FIB - Fucking Illinois Bastard. sorry

Applemeat weaves REO Speedwagon-blasting Cadillac-pulling-ginormous-speedboat up desjardin's bafflingly alphabetically-named highways in total jagoff manner while high on Deep Woods OFF®.

posted by applemeat at 12:56 PM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


99% of all soldiers in all wars ever are poor cannon fodder to the people at the top, but calling someone cannon fodder is derogatory in a way that doesn't help make the point about the Confederate flag.

I don't know. I mean, yes, it's going to get a kneejerk reaction which is completely counterproductive, but it's still a valid point to be made. If someone in your family tree fought and died in some war without having any say in the matter, to be proud about it is a tacit endorsement of the people and policies that got your ancestor killed. It's misplaced.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:01 PM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


calling someone cannon fodder is derogatory in a way that doesn't help make the point about the Confederate flag.

If the poor confederates who fought and died for a failed ideology of slave-owning, moreover, who died for an ideology they never even shared in the profits of, weren't cannon fodder—that is, sent to die for nothing—then I don't know what that phrase means. Now there may be circumstances where it isn't diplomatic to point that out so bluntly, but it isn't derogatory to do so, just sad and horrible.

And I think it's likely that southerners who do feel sentimental about the confederate flag might feel differently if it was widely seen as a flag their ancestors died for nothing under instead of the flag of something even vaguely glorious.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:44 PM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, I got all bogged down in burying Maggie and missed this. Is it still streamable anywhere?
posted by klangklangston at 5:51 PM on April 10, 2013


I don't have Spotify but maybe this works?

v.q. How Convenient: 'Accidental Racist' Just Disappeared from YouTube, Esther Zuckerman, The Atlantic Wire, 9 April 2013
posted by ob1quixote at 6:13 PM on April 10, 2013


I've been searching for this music video on YouTube for several minutes and can't find it. Every link to the actual song has been taken down for copyright violations. So what are the "legal" options for listening to this song?
posted by Jacqueline at 6:14 PM on April 10, 2013


It looks like soundcloud still has it. For now.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:15 PM on April 10, 2013


Another couple of soundcloud links, just in case.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:18 PM on April 10, 2013


In my search for a working link on YouTube, I ran across KevOnStage who has an amusing reaction to LL Cool J's part.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:26 PM on April 10, 2013


As if I needed another reason to hate contemporary country music.
posted by bardic at 8:48 PM on April 10, 2013


I was reminded tonight of a comment I made in the 8185 comment ultra-mega-epic-thread from Election Night 2012.

The Stone Mountian Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision® runs most nights during the summer months. As was recounted in that thread by hoyland among others, it's a surreal experience for people who aren't native or naturalized southerners. I think the differences between the real laser show and the Squidbillies parody of it visually illustrates the difference in what the phrase "Southern Heritage" invokes among southerners [3:30 - 7:55] as opposed to everyone else [1:21-2:10].
posted by ob1quixote at 11:10 PM on April 10, 2013


Cracked: The 10 most racist moments from a song about ending racism
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:47 AM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Rude Pundit: "Accidental Racist" And Not Tolerating Intolerance
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:52 AM on April 11, 2013


Cracked: The 10 most racist moments from a song about ending racism

Fish in a fucking barrel, but I chuckled at "LL Cool J Makes the Worst Reparations Deal Imaginable" just cuz I'd been waiting for 8 entries to see how they were gonna frame that one ... ;)

"OK, we didn't get forty acres each. No, not even a mule. But. Some very good news: we can wear do-rags and gold chains!"

I think that's what is so darn offensive about this song to me. It's framed as if the very existence of black people is an offense to white people.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:18 AM on April 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


"White people: Stop making fun of our clothes and we'll call it even."
posted by desjardins at 10:22 AM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: "But, Brad – Southern Shame is a proper approach to this problem. Slavery is an object of Southern Shame. Centuries of racist torture and oppression, that's an object of Southern Shame. If we don't feel ashamed that our ancestors did those things, then we're completely ignoring the situation we live in and the context we ought to be owning and confronting. "

It's not just southern shame, though. We all share it, no matter where in this country we're from. Slaveholding was not by any means exclusively a southern phenomenon, and I don't think hundreds of years of involvement in the slave trade and in slave holding is negated by being a few years earlier to the liberation party than the south.

That's what annoys me about these kinds of discussions. People use the south as an excuse to avoid looking at the history of slavery in their own back yard, which may well have been what the songwriter was trying to get at. (which, incidentally, is part of what makes the song so terrible..it's unparseable as anything meaningful)
posted by wierdo at 2:44 PM on April 13, 2013


It's interesting, actually - because I am not a Southerner myself; I've never even been to the South, unless you count Houston as the South (and generally I don't.) But in that bit you quoted, I intentionally said "if we don't feel ashamed that our ancestors did those things." I do have Southern ancestors, but I have Northern ancestors who were probably just as guilty of supporting slavery. I don't deny that there's enough blame to go around on both sides.

But I also think this is kind of a tired point that is well-known enough now that it amounts to little more than a dodge at this point. I actually don't think there are many people at this point who "use the south as an excuse to avoid looking at the history of slavery in their own back yard;" any myth of a perfect North was exploded long ago, and while there are always idiots around somewhere honestly I don't think I've ever met a person, Northern or Southern or whatever, who thought the North was blameless on slavery.

So what we're left with is these people who think it's a fine display of Southern pride to fly the Confederate flag. And when challenged, this is the retort - exactly what Brad Paisley is saying in that interview: 'well, the North wasn't perfect either.' Of course it wasn't - but this isn't about the North. If I meet people in the North who insist on wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the logos of Northern slavery supporters from the 1800s, I will take it up with them, because that will be just as wrong.

I mean - I guess I should say that I was thinking about myself when I said "our ancestors." I'm a Westerner. I'm somewhat proud of it, to the extent that it's possible to be proud of it. I'm a New Mexican, and I take some pride and pleasure in educating myself about our history. (It doesn't hurt that we have the best food in the world here.) But - but - I don't pretend for a minute that this land which I care about is soaked in the blood of people who lived here peacefully for centuries before people who look and talk suspiciously like me came and slaughtered them. With my pride comes some responsibility. That's kind of what I was getting at, I guess; I can't just haphazardly pluck infamous symbols from the past, symbols which have an ugly meaning, and display them merely to get the goat of people I feel are my enemies.
posted by koeselitz at 11:41 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"'Whistling Dixie’ focuses on Civil War re-enactors", Felicia Feaster, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11 April 2013
Atlanta photographer sees 'frightening' side to the costume dramas.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:34 PM on April 14, 2013


"side by side, you are my amigo, Negro, let's not fight"

"It Ain't Easy Being White Or Brown"
posted by mrgrimm at 8:46 AM on April 15, 2013


Slaveholding was not by any means exclusively a southern phenomenon...

As near as I can tell, the phenomenon of northern slavery was somewhat sporadic and confined to a few states above the Mason-Dixon line. The real culpability of the North was in tolerating the continued massive slavery in the South in order to feed northern mills. However, deflecting shame from the massive slave-holding in the South by alluding vaguely to slavery in the North is a weak move and one favored by the dog-whistlers of the right in shoring up their racist cred.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:04 AM on April 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pointing out something that hadn't been mentioned in the discussion is not in any way deflecting anything.

Of course, if we actually wanted to talk about something that would make a difference in people's lives today we might talk about how there are more black people in prison in the US than there were slaves at the peak of the slaveholding era, that they're disproportionately likely to be arrested and disproportionately likely to be sentenced to prison upon conviction relative to people of other races. This is something we're doing now, not something we did hundreds of years ago.

That's a deflection. ;)
posted by wierdo at 6:11 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I seldom laugh at horrible things like this. I mean we have a lot of great bands and a lot of well written television shows and movies in the past few years that the terrible ones, like Doctor Who, the Star Wars prequels, Hawaii 50, any number of reality shows, etc., are so bad it makes me sad rather than amused, but I can't stop being amused by this.

Brad Paisley's analysis of The Wire would be a masterwork of absurdest comedy.

Colbert's take on the song was just as hilarious.
posted by juiceCake at 9:36 PM on April 17, 2013


« Older In less than an hour you can build the simplified ...  |   Dhikr (or Zihr) is a islamic ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments