The Critical Rockist and Gretchen; Gretchen Wilson's Traditional Country May Have Too Red State a Tilt

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 30, 2005 | Go to article overview

The Critical Rockist and Gretchen; Gretchen Wilson's Traditional Country May Have Too Red State a Tilt


Byline: Scott Galupo, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

What should a proper rockist make of country singer Gretchen Wilson?

Before we answer that, we'd better define terms. "Rockism" is a critical theory that holds that popular music was good for about five minutes in the late 1960s. Art and commerce then were in some of kind of magical synchronicity; the public's tastes were as refined as those of critics. Alas, the theory goes, things slid inexorably downhill until the horrors of disco, Madonna and hip-hop made a mockery of all that was holy about rock.

Rockists disapprove of, in no special order, drum machines, sampling, lip-syncing and synthesizers - basically any form of prestidigitation that distorts the direct expression of guitar, drums, bass and voice.

For a long while, rockists also have taken it upon themselves to monitor the health of country music, a genre whose simple virtues are easy to lionize as well as caricature.

The structure and instrumentation of an authentic country song are seemingly as set in stone as religious liturgy. (Country artists themselves are often as jealously protective of their music as rockists are of rock - witness Alan Jackson's hits "Gone Country," which lampoons venue-shopping country poseurs, and "Don't Rock the Jukebox," on which a heartbroken hillbilly can't bear to hear noncountry noise.)

Thus, it's a truism in the rock press that any music that emanates from Nashville today is by definition impure, inauthentic and patently commercial (an unforgivable vice among rockists). To differentiate it from the country they purport to cherish, it's often dismissed as "pop" country.

Music critic Sasha Frere-Jones defined the rockist attack on pop this way in the online magazine Slate: "Pop music isn't made by people, but by bands of hired guns on assembly lines, working to rationalized standards established by technocratic committees maximizing shareholder investment. The emphasis of pop songs is on transitory physical pleasures, instead of the eternal truths that rock protects."

And, the kicker: "Pop is also consumed by lots of women and kids, and what do they know?"

In the lesser country category are crossover commodities such as Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Shania Twain. (The least generous rockists tend also to overlook arguably "authentic" country stars such as Toby Keith and Brad Paisley.)

The pure typically include: Hank Williams I and III, but never II; old soldiers such as George Jones, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and the late Johnny Cash; and the late Gram Parsons.

It's curious, is it not, that Mr. Cash, Mr. Nelson and Mr. Parsons weren't strictly country singers; they were themselves "crossover" artists, albeit of a rebellious sort more acceptable to rockists. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Critical Rockist and Gretchen; Gretchen Wilson's Traditional Country May Have Too Red State a Tilt
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.