I wish someone would look at this for ICMC, because I’m very curious to know if you could map the general public’s interest in “rednecks” as cautionary tales to any particular trends in country music itself. I just think that it’s not quite enough to point out that country music kind of got its start as an actual thing during one of these hillbilly-interest booms. I want to know what we might see if we look to see what’s popular in country music every time this happens.

Because, I have to tell you, I suspect we’d find–just before the wave of “hur hur, look at those dumb hillbillies” culturally, a wave of “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” I could be wrong, but I think you’d see some kind of initial stressor–across the whole culture, to which the country music genre responded by making “We out here are fine and it’s awesome” music, to which the broader culture responded “Look at those dumbasses.”

It’s not about kicking “hillbillies” while they’re down, I don’t think. I think it’s about kicking them when they’re trying to stand up.

On Rats’ Asses

Oh, Jim Summerville.

I have thoughts. None of them are “What kind of jackass would do this?” because, obviously, Jim Summerville would. But mostly I’m curious to watch how this played out among Republicans.

Y’all know that I’ve long thought that a certain, rather large faction, seemed to have made no plans for how to actually lead, since they were busy trying to figure out how to both be on top and to frame themselves as underdogs rallying against their overwhelming enemies. And you know that I’ve long thought that there are some Republicans who seem to be disappointed that they are only the overwhelming victors and that they are not capable of punishing their enemies by completely and utterly ruining their lives.

And I think Summerville has often positioned himself in these two camps–both as the plain-spoken defender of what’s right against the forces of immorality and as someone who believes he should get to punish his enemies.

But it seems like that’s a fine line for a party to walk. The Republicans knew they had voters on their side to redistrict and to undo some (seemingly) unfair Democratic practices (I put seemingly in parentheses because I think they took the opportunity to both undo some unfair practices and to undo some that could just be spun as unfair. I think both of those things are to be expected.). They made some pretty radical changes to education. And even with all that, there is still a small, but really vocal minority that wants even more.

But the line the Republicans have to walk is that you can only tear down so much before you have to turn the corner and govern. If you can’t make that pivot, you’re going to lose your moneyed backers. And you’re going to lose moderate voters.

So, what’s interesting to me is watching Dolores Gresham show such self-assured leadership (no, that’s really not a sentence I ever thought I’d be typing). If there was any dithering, it happened so far behind the scenes I’ve caught no whiff of it. And it happened so quickly that it seemed like she heard about it, gave the situation some careful consideration, and then did what needed to be done.

People, that’s more than the Governor has managed to do in his first term. Let that sink in. Dolores Gresham has out-led the governor.

But, anyway, I’ve got my eye on this. Some Republicans are doing a good job of turning that corner (or at least looking like it). Others, obviously, not so much. It’s going to be an interesting session.