Charlie Daniels's racist 9.11-related song banned
November 4, 2001 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Charlie Daniels's racist 9.11-related song banned Country Music Television refused to allow ever-increasingly reactionary redneck musician Charlie Daniels to sing a new song, "It's a Flag, Not a Rag," at Nashville benefit for victims of the Sept. 11 terror. The conclusion to the title line is, " . . . and we don't wear it on our heads." Daniels, however, says the effect has been to increase sales at his web site. Can he be officially lumped in with Klansmen and skinheads now, and only invited to severely marginal, sub-Jerry Springer talk shows? Please?
posted by raysmj (57 comments total)
Excuse me, the title is, "This Ain't No Rag, It's a Flag." Whatever.
posted by raysmj at 12:05 PM on November 4, 2001

Charlie Daniels is a cool old dude. He is of the people who struggle every day to survive and know exactly what the terrorists and Taliban are about. Thugs and criminals. We sit up here in our glass cubicles like little girls talking about how inappropriate and afraid the dirty old man Charlie will insult our sensabilities. Well who gives a rat turd. We are kickin some towel heads and Charlie can say whatever he damn well wants.
posted by stbalbach at 12:24 PM on November 4, 2001

From Charlie's soapbox:
First of all, I don’t feel that this is the time for healing. I feel that this is the time to rub salt in the wounds and keep America focused on the job at hand.
Man! Those lyrics are harsh. Dunno if I'd call it racist, but geez, tell us how you feel, Charlie.
posted by swell at 12:28 PM on November 4, 2001

I think comparing him to a Nazi or Skinhead is a little harsh, Ray. Cretinous old hick?
posted by Doug at 12:31 PM on November 4, 2001

Doug: My only other comment on this, since it makes perfect sense to me. The *raghead* line came in the very first line of the song -- which is also linked to the title. If he used the n-word, would anyone call him anything other than a racist? He knows full well that it'll come off that way, and revels in being un-PC.
posted by raysmj at 12:35 PM on November 4, 2001

I don't give a hoot what he may or may not say about the Talivban etc but he better lay off Jerry Springer. Jerry is the heart and soul of our nation! His shows reveal the dep[th of feeling and caring many folks go through in their ordinary lives and he allows them to express their anxieities, cares, nervousness, hurt feelings. This makes them and the audience feel much better . Jewrrrrryyyy!
posted by Postroad at 12:44 PM on November 4, 2001

What Doug said. Lumping him in with skinheads & Klansmen seems shrill and reactionary and off-base, no better than Charlie Daniels' own comments. 'Racist' essentially implies he is disenfranchising people or actively discriminating against them because of their race. Pointing out that they wear a turban on their heads doesn't weigh in as much of an insult, really.

From the article: "We can no more blame it (9/11) on good Middle Eastern citizens than we can blame Hitler on people of German descent,'' said Daniels.
posted by Karl at 1:06 PM on November 4, 2001

We are kickin some towel heads and Charlie can say whatever he damn well wants.

So it's OK to say "towel head" now after 9/11? Damnit, get off MeFi... you're not wanted here.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 1:09 PM on November 4, 2001

We'll just have to see what happens when Osama's next publicity video includes a three-minute ditty about the minority of Southerners who took part in lynchmobs. And I do hope that Charlie will be out there entertaining the troops in Kandahar when winter sets in.
posted by holgate at 1:12 PM on November 4, 2001

Calling a southerner a "redneck" is as insensitive as calling people who wear turbans "towelheads".
posted by turaho at 1:25 PM on November 4, 2001

Pointing out that they wear a turban on their heads doesn't weigh in as much of an insult, really.
Neither does "pointing out" that many southerners have red necks caused by sunburn in that part of the country. Right?
posted by Zootoon at 1:30 PM on November 4, 2001

stbalbach, I cannot believe anyone could or would said that. reassure me that you were kidding?
posted by mcsweetie at 1:42 PM on November 4, 2001

Sounds like he perhaps had a brainstorm session with Rep. Cooksey to write the lyrics. (Yeah, they're both Southerners but I'm not falling into that trap because it's stupid and unjustifed and, besides, Faulkner was a Southerner, too).
posted by mmarcos at 1:54 PM on November 4, 2001

For some reason, this quote came to mind:

Who are next to knaves? Those that converse with them.

Alexander Pope
Thoughts on Various Subjects, 1727

but then, that describes enough of what transpires on MetaFilter as to rank tagline status...
posted by y2karl at 1:56 PM on November 4, 2001

So it's OK to say "towel head" now after 9/11? Damnit, get off MeFi... you're not wanted here.

Calm down, PWA_Badboy, he didn't say 'effete faggot web-designer towelheads', so most of mefi has no reason to be offended.
quonsar dons kevlar vest and slinks quietly out of the room...
posted by quonsar at 1:59 PM on November 4, 2001

Neither does "pointing out" that many southerners have red necks caused by sunburn in that part of the country. Right?

That_is_right, actually. I've never hung out with a redneck in my life who doesn't self-consciously, jokingly call himself a redneck at every opportunity. Sunburn on the neck? That would be a hilarious topic to every redneck I know. And I've lived in smalltown Virginia & North Carolina for thirty years!
posted by Karl at 2:04 PM on November 4, 2001

Karl, like all insults, they're fine when they come from fellow insultees or from yourself, just like it's OK for me to call my brother a son of a bitch. Are your southern friends OK when northerners call them rednecks?
BTW, I made up the bit about the sunburn. Is that the origin?
posted by Zootoon at 2:10 PM on November 4, 2001

nothing like replacing musical talent with shock value. he should call eminem.
posted by Satapher at 2:19 PM on November 4, 2001

My grandparents always told me that that was indeed the origin: farmers working outside all day, getting sunburn on their necks. I thought it was hilarious because rednecks simply wouldn't care, it's such an innocuous "insult".

I guess my point was that political correctness has caused so much psychic damage among people in this country for the last thirty years or so that it seems now as overwrought and embarassing as those behaviors it attempts to change.

Basically I've spent the last ten years working various jobs in the South, and some in the deep South, where rednecks, black folks, upper middle class whites and various others all work together and enjoy joking with each other, calling each other names, accusing each other of stealing or living in trailer homes and, no lie, it really seems to be a cool point of bonding for people! I wouldn't have believed it either if I hadn't witnessed it at a number of jobs. In the face of political correctness, lots of people I've met seem to have bonded over their differences by addressing the stereotypes point blank and with humor, instead of of tip-toeing around certain words.

That said, I think Charlie Daniels is opportunistic and lame, and probably wouldn't be able to jive with people different from himself, like the former employees I've just described.
posted by Karl at 2:26 PM on November 4, 2001

Calm down, PWA_Badboy, he didn't say 'effete faggot web-designer towelheads' most of mefi has no reason to be offended. -- quonsar

*LMAO* .. nice
posted by stbalbach at 2:30 PM on November 4, 2001

The origin of the term "redkneck" is available on the net but Im too lazy to search it out. Its a slang term used by anti-bellum blacks to describe poor whites. The blacks could tell a poor white by looking at the kneck.. remember 19th C they wore a lot of clothes to keep covered up and you know whites all look alike anyway.. they would get "red knecks" out in the field from the sun and dirt.
posted by stbalbach at 2:35 PM on November 4, 2001

zootoon ... yup.

if you want some racist lyrics, go check out some david allen coe. 'n' word a-poppin!

as far as racial epithets go ... i live with an asian. he's 'slanty-eyed bastard' or 'ho chi minh' and i'm 'backwards redneck.'

we still love each other.

i have plenty of black friends, one of which works directly with me and is hanging out our place quite a bit.

he's 'kunta' and everytime we leave and he's still here, we're like 'man, don't steal anything, ok?' or 'where's the black guy, someone needs to take out the trash?'

and he has plenty comin back at us.

and we still love each other.

southerners are pretty much always portrayed in TV, film and the like (jerry springer is particularly guilty of this) as beer-swilling, racist idiots. i really don't think thats me (beer stopped treating me right a couple years ago, i gotta stick to expensive liquor these days) even though i've lived in the south my whole life ... but i really don't care. i've visited up north and got all kinds of shit for my accent, but i didn't really care.

racism will be a problem as long as we let it be. as long as we nitpick what somene else says in fear of it maybe offending someone. if everyone would just lighten up a bit and laugh it off as ignorance, there'd be a lot fewer problems. in situations like this ... look at this uproar over what one guy says in a song. news coverage, ol charlie getting kicked from a channel that wouldn't exists without musicians such as himself ... big fucking deal. watch any black comedian on HBO or BET ... half their act is making fun of white people. but does anyone think for a second to put that to an end?


i can see situations where racism can be a huge issue (police brutality and the like) and that definitely can't be allowed to continue. but in people's speech and shit ... man, fuckit.

everyone's a pundit of free speech till it somehow negatively affects them, huh?
posted by aenemated at 2:35 PM on November 4, 2001

As a southerner, I'm here to point out that the term "redneck" does not necessarily equal "inferior southern person" or "asshole." But it can -- more a matter of pronunciation. With a-hole, it's more or less understood, with a certain inflection, that you're actually calling someone an a-hole, even if you're not, in a literal sense. Like a missing noun from a command sentence - same concept. Also, I live in the Deep South, and blacks who aren't insane or extremely elderly haven't come close to putting up with hearing the n-word from other races since I've been alive (and many are none-too-thrilled with its casual use certain of the young). I'm 35.
posted by raysmj at 2:36 PM on November 4, 2001

aenemated: Actually, black racial-oriented comedy has been attacked by more than a few. Roger Ebert has slammed Chris Tucker for it. So has the New Republic, with this article on black comedy's reactionary hipness.
posted by raysmj at 2:40 PM on November 4, 2001

re: Ebert and TNR

As it were the liberal media also gets quite offended when minorities don't act the way liberals think they should... makes you wonder if racial stereotyping hasn't itself become a coat of many colors, ironically enough.
posted by clevershark at 2:59 PM on November 4, 2001

I recall an article a long time ago (pre web) about how some major university asked Charlie Daniels to give a speech at graduation, and the students (as pretentious bastards are wont to do) made so many jokes about how he was just an ignorant hick, and how he didn't have anything to teach them that the school finally retracted its invitation, with apologies. Then Daniels wrote a letter that was printed in the school paper, in which he absolutely disarmed their criticism by being eminently reasonable and eloquent, and not bitter at all, talking about all the places he'd been and things he'd done. The kind of stuff they would never even get an opportunity to do. He made a very good case for himself, and by the end, you got the distinct impression that the students had pissed away a golden opportunity.

Ever since then, even though I don't agree with his political views, I've kinda respected the guy. So I'm going to cut him some slack.
posted by Hildago at 3:10 PM on November 4, 2001

There are a significant number of Sikhs from India being attacked and getting the snot kicked out of them (courtesy of good ol' boy Jim-Beam-justice) because imbeciles like Charlie Daniels think only Arabs wear turbans. Sheesh! They oughta stop passing out American flags at those monster truck rallies and start distributing friggin' maps of the world.
posted by RavinDave at 3:45 PM on November 4, 2001

"As it were the liberal media..."

Isn't the term "liberal media" pretty much a broken record by now?
posted by lannie628 at 3:50 PM on November 4, 2001

argh...ignorance overload!
posted by mcsweetie at 4:08 PM on November 4, 2001

mcsweetie.. dont worry they arnt actually towels lol .. man that would be a real tragedy to towels everywhere and not very towel-correct (TC).
posted by stbalbach at 4:30 PM on November 4, 2001

"And we don't wear it on our heads"??
posted by Zootoon at 4:53 PM on November 4, 2001

mcsweetie.. dont worry they arnt actually towels lol .. man that would be a real tragedy to towels everywhere and not very towel-correct (TC).

lol lol lol lol!

ah, I see. political correctness truly is the enemy! who cares if someone is offended or disrespected, so long as you get to make your clever clever joke? minorities are such a pain in the ass! it would be so much easier if we were all suburban white protestants, wouldn't it?

and while we're at it, how is it wrong for David Greg to "capitalize" on the attack and not for Charlie Daniels?
posted by mcsweetie at 5:01 PM on November 4, 2001

So if the Sikhs had their way, only Muslims would get the crap kicked out of them, right?
posted by MarkO at 5:42 PM on November 4, 2001

this song - an AM-radio montage of charlie daniels hootin' and hollerin' and george w. bush proclamations - is what makes driving to work in america so special.
posted by subpixel at 6:46 PM on November 4, 2001

may i point out that if y'all do a little searching on the net re wwII for example, you will find out that demonizing the enemy (or in this case osama bin ladin and his ilk) ....Good old Charlie is simply carrying on the tradition.
Don't think the other side isn't doing similar things with Uncle Sam, for example.

Yes, this can be construed as racist but I assure you that the majority of this natiion are filled with people who cannot be bothered to be politically correct as they are too busy being annoyed at the fact that thousands died a horrible and cruel death at the site of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon...

We can sit and argue the niceties all we the moment we have the luxury of being able to do so.....

Am I advocating racism? No not at all....but this is war, and when one is at war it means one has enemies, and it is easier to kill an enemy when one has reduced him to a stereotype.

Just my two cents.

And yes, I am a Southerner, and I suppose i am a redneck-at least my relatives are.

i wouldn't mess with them if I were you, either.
posted by bunnyfire at 6:51 PM on November 4, 2001


What ravindave said bunnyfire. I'm sure there's a 'raghead' or two on your side.
posted by Bearman at 7:04 PM on November 4, 2001

Regarding black comedy's reactionary hipness...

That article was a rather lame and pejorative polemic about a very complex and not uncontroversial topic--blackface minstrelsy. As I'm working on a post tangentially involving the topic, I'm not going to waste good links about it here, though.

It does make me wonder how this post led to a pointless thread with a certain amount of minority bashing, white southerners' anecdotes about the friendly not-so-crypto-race baiting exchanges at the workplace, the same tired old complaints about political correctness from Howard Stern/Bubba wing of free speech libertarans with the character of Charlie Daniels becoming so beside the point.

Boy, I stand by my previous comment.
posted by y2karl at 7:06 PM on November 4, 2001

"easier to kill an enemy when one has reduced him to a stereotype": I like to think that we can kill the enemy while having a realistic (read: non stereotypical and informed) view of who they are. And the WWII parallels referenced I think point to the importance of that. Plus the folks at home wouldn't be killing the enemy anyway.

On a more general note, why do people who are against political correctness play identity politics as well?
posted by Charmian at 7:26 PM on November 4, 2001

Good old Charlie is simply carrying on the tradition

Right, forget about learning from our mistakes. Ol' Charlie is just keeping good old traditions alive.

Why don't we continue beating down japanese people that all look like this because of Pearl Harbor? Heck, we all had Jap Hunting Licenses back then, why not now as well?

What "the liberal media" and "pc thugs" are trying to do is remind everyone that "the enemy" is a small network of psychotic terrorists, not an entire region of the world. If you're looking for the enemy, it's a few hundred terrorists, not every brown-skinned person, not every person that chooses to wear fabric atop their heads, not every person from the middle east or central asia.
posted by mathowie at 7:37 PM on November 4, 2001

Here's a whole bunch of incidents involving people who couldn't "bother" being politically correct. And reducing people to a stereotype is what incites the majority of hate crimes, I believe. I think I'll skip this tradition, and stick with sour cream pie at Thanksgiving and opening my presents on Christmas Eve.
posted by kittyloop at 8:22 PM on November 4, 2001

This is horrifically off topic, but Kittyloop, what is sour cream pie?
posted by Doug at 8:46 PM on November 4, 2001

OT: I'm guessing traditional Sour Cream Rasin Pie.
posted by RavinDave at 9:02 PM on November 4, 2001

Well, I don't know how much you get around, but I happen to know that The New Republic is actually proud to call itself "liberal media". Perhaps actually picking up a copy would enlighten the doubters on the subject.
posted by clevershark at 9:13 PM on November 4, 2001

Charlie Daniels is an "ever-increasingly reactionary redneck"? Ever-increasingly, eh? So you keep tabs on Daniels like the FBI did John Lennon? Could you cite when Daniels behaved less reactionary than he does today? Was it when the devil went down to Georgia?
posted by judomadonna at 9:14 PM on November 4, 2001

In regards to the Ebert/TNR thing, I too am tired of white liberals somehow "coming down from on high" to "tell the black man what is the 'correct' type of humor for him". It's an extension of the whole white guilt thing where the pendulum swings so far that some whites view blacks as their children that they have to coddle and hold to feel better about themselves. Yuck.
posted by owillis at 9:23 PM on November 4, 2001

Charlie Daniels isn't the worst, but he's done some lame songs over the years like "Still In Saigon", when it became popular to care about Vietnam vets, and "In America," a total piece of rah-rah (around the time of the Iran hostage affair, as the Reagan era began with its patriotic pomp). Just more of the same, and I guess he'll keep it up as long as his fans keep buying.
posted by StOne at 9:30 PM on November 4, 2001


You guessed right. (I was trying to think of nice traditions...)
posted by kittyloop at 9:30 PM on November 4, 2001

judomanna: No, and what was that about? Charlie Daniels just seems to be more of a media fave these days, the un-PC guy to call. He was once a fairly popular musician, as far as I could tell, who was quite creative and capable of subtlety (although some will tell you today's whole increasingly boring New Country began with "The Devil Went Down to Georgia.") Now he's an a-hole who appears on TV when they need a redneck stereotype to say something outrageous. It's his whole schtick, or at least that's what the world outside his group of fans sees.

And owillis, I just used the TNR thing as an example of some people attacking black comedians who use racial humor as a means of furthering their careers. Someone said you never see that. So what gives here? When you do see it, it's an example of liberals acting hypocritical? Sheesh.

All this has nothing to do, regardless, with opening a song with a mention of "ragheads" and alluding to the pejorative in the title, at a time when people have been attacked for wearing head dresses. And Charlie, having been around a wildly diverse array of people in his day, almost surely knows better.
posted by raysmj at 9:44 PM on November 4, 2001

Charlie Daniels is the poor man's Ted Nugent.
posted by Optamystic at 9:48 PM on November 4, 2001

I thought ted nugent was the poor man's ted nugent
posted by nobody_knose at 10:31 PM on November 4, 2001

charlie daniels speaks for himself and you speak for yourself...I cannot stand the fat,redneck,hillbilly,racist, and his stereotyping of people really pisses me off.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:32 PM on November 4, 2001

ted nugent!
posted by quonsar at 10:56 PM on November 4, 2001

By the way, don't ya'll think that Charlie knew this was going to happen? Guy who hasn't had a hit since God was a baby writes an inflammatory song, specifically appealing to the redneck types. PC types get all worked up. Charlie gets on the news. Rednecks buy crappy song as a way to show solidarity with guy who "tells it like it is" and "sticks it to the liberals". Charlie has a hit. Goodbye, Bumblefuck County Fairgrounds. Hello, Grand Ol' Opry.

It's working like a charm, too. There are like 50 comments in a Metafilter thread about Charlie fucking Daniels! I bet it's safe to say that not too many of us who have commented in this thread have even thought about Ol' Charlie even once in the last five years. Now we're sitting around defending/defaming him as if he were somehow relevant. Charlie wins, folks.
posted by Optamystic at 11:01 PM on November 4, 2001

There were 15 or so comments in a Charlie Daniels thread on Sept. 17.
posted by raysmj at 11:07 PM on November 4, 2001

Just found this on Nugent's site:

FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA - In an overwhelming majority vote, Ted Nugent has been selected to receive the Appalachian Literacy Council's prestigious James Fenimore Cooper award....

Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves.
posted by Optamystic at 11:10 PM on November 4, 2001

Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves.

And sometimes, they just post comments to MetaFilter, judging by the evidence hereabouts.

--not you personally, Optamystic, y'unnerstan'...
posted by y2karl at 4:52 AM on November 5, 2001

I guess ol'Charlie never saw anyone wear one of these. Do you think someone should tell him?
posted by holycola at 6:52 AM on November 5, 2001

« Older David Greg Harth is not afraid.   |   Drastic changes due for America after terror... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments