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Foxworthy, stick to comedy

Mike Sudhalter  |  May 24, 2007

I missed last month's CMT Music Awards, but I've recently heard people commenting on the surprisingly serious speech of host Jeff Foxworthy.

So, I did a search on the Internet and found an article and video on it: Foxworthy article

Now, first of all, I read the speech before I watched it. It doesn't seem like he's as serious as the text would indicate.

So what did Foxworthy say, and why does anyone care?

The speech could have been titled "Why I Like Country Music", and then Foxworthy rattled off a bunch of reasons why he thinks its better than genres.

I agree with some of his comments, but I find much of it to be incorrect and built on false stereotypes.

Why do we want to hear all the reasons why Foxworthy is a country fan? He said "I like country music because it's about the things in life that really matter."

Yes, some songs are very relatable and they touch the heart. But that's not to say other genres don't have many songs that do the same.

And it isn't right for country to act all self-righteous. Look, I love the genre partly because it celebrates being moral and raising hell - often on the same album.

Yes, country music artists have been on the forefront of performing patriotic songs and participating in USO Tours. Again, many artists from various genres do the same things.

Some of his comments were references to songs like "Ain't Nothin' Like" by Brad Paisley and 'Fore She Was Mama by Clay Walker. Only hard-core country fans would have picked up these references.

In this values-based speech, he conveniently left out classics like "Take This Job and Shove It" and "Folsom Prison Blues" and more contemporary hits like "Kerosene" and "Before He Cheats".

I also agree that most country artists are by and large humble. But I also understand the reasons why people like Reba McEntire can't be as fan-friendly as Sunny Sweeney.

Then, Foxworthy dives head-first into the mythical culture war that was started as a ploy of the 2004 Presidential Election, but having lived both in so-called red states and blue states, I know it doesn't really exist - or at least not on as large of a scale as the ones on both sides of the political spectrum perpetuating this myth would have you believe.

Foxworthy speaks about how country music likes to sing about God, and how it's not politically correct. I have a lot of friends who do not like country, and that doesn't affect how religious they are. Some are. Some aren't. And I've never once come cross non-country listeners that discouraged me from praying.

That said, I do think it's great to hear a gospel influence in country songs. But I don't want to see country turn to Christian Contemporary or gospel. If I want to listen to those genres, I will, but country is its own.

I really don't know how much country celebrates family, aside from Paul Overstreet. who has some great family-oriented songs.

Then Foxworthy takes a shot, supposedly at the liberal elite who laugh at rednecks. And he said, we don't care because we're proud to be rednecks.

Dude, you've made more fun of rednecks over the past 15 years than any comic in New York or Hollywood. And you've made a pretty nice career out of it too.

Yes, the CMT Awards are chosen by fans, but don't fool yourself by thinking country performers are just these down-home types and everyone in Hollywood is so arrogant and snobbish. The truth, for both, is somewhere in the middle.

Just wondering, Jeff, but is any of your bitterness towards Hollywood have to do with your failed sitcom efforts?

:: Posted at 2:13 AM by Mike Sudhalter ::
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