Saturday, July 16, 2005

Why Our Kids Are Ugly

Richard Morin's column in The Washington Post discussed a recent article in a normally serious academic journal by Kenneth J. Meier, a political scientist at Texas A&M. The title of Meier's article, taken from a John Denver song, was "Get Your Tongue Out of My Mouth 'Cause I'm Kissin' You Goodbye: The Politics of Ideas." According to Morin:

Meier offers a novel argument: that many now well-established theories of social behavior appeared first in the lyrics of country and western songs even before they were proposed by scholars or policymakers.

Other scholars answered Morin, of course, with their own at least partly tongue-in-check arguments that phenomena such as Broadway musicals and TV shows were even more important in influencing social behavior.

What I found most interesting in the column was a list of actual country and western song titles that Morin proposed for use in the academic argument. Samples:

You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly (Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty)

If My Nose Was Running Money, Honey, I'd Blow It All on You (Michael Carr, Michael Hammond)

Never Went to Bed With an Ugly Woman but I Sure Woke Up With a Few (Bobby Bare)

My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend and I Sure Do Miss Him (Phil Earhart)

You Done Stomped on My Heart and Mashed That Sucker Flat (Mason Williams)

Too Dumb for New York, Too Ugly for L.A. (Waylon Jennings)

Only in America!


Blogger Anastasia said...

I was watching Ray the other night and there's a part in it where the film shows Ray Charles expressing his interest in country music when the country musicians dissapprove of him, the line in the film "I like the stories" (character of Ray).

And I suppose that's partially why there's a common thread through the songs. A person doesn't have to be a country music fan to appreciate the song titles or the songs themselves, they can identify with the lyrics and what's going on in the song story wise, which is more intriguing than current R n B that is tiresome (because it's about the same thing all the time, and sung the same way).

Country songs or the lyrics are also more 'in your face', more direct and to the point.
I'm not a real country music person, but our Australian country music scene here can't hold a candle to the U.S.

One song that I liked was Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias' (what a pairing lol), 'To all the Girls I've Loved Before'..

now that's a title and a half.

5:21 AM, July 21, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

I like a lot of country music songs and some blues, too. Sometimes they're full of feeling and stories of the human condition that other forms of music rarely match. And I agree with you about "To All the Girls I've Loved Before." It's really nice.

But you have to admit that some of them are really classic in the way they use language, like the Bellamy Brothers' "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me):"

If I said you had a beautiful body
Would you hold it against me
If I swore you were an angel
Would you treat me like the devil tonight
If I were dying of thirst
Would your flowing love come quench me
If I said you had a beautiful body
Would you hold it against me

11:11 AM, July 21, 2005  
Blogger Anastasia said...

I haven't heard that song in ages, but I sure remember it.
I 100% agree, it's all in the language, many of today's songs are permeated with actions and/or reactions and they're always situational; like a perverted version of the Barney song, 'You don't love me, but I love you, you're a hoe and a bitch and I'll slug you in two.' types of songs.

In the Eighties I came across some of the songs by Jim Steinman, and he had these epic songs that were like sagas without the 'ghetto' spiel of today, like Steinman's lyrics to 'You took the Words Right Outta My Mouth'

It was a hot summer night and the beach was burning
There was a fog crawling over the sand
When I listen to your heart I hear the whole world turning
I see the shooting stars
Falling through your trembling hands

You were licking your lips and your lipstick shining
I was dying just to ask for a taste
We were lying together in a silver lining
By the light of the moon
You know there's not another moment to waste

You hold me so close that my knees grow weak
But my soul is flying high above the ground
I'm trying to speak but no matter what I do
I just can't seem to make any sound..

1:13 AM, July 23, 2005  

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