Music

Gretchen Wilson’s “reactionary” song

In a mostly favorable review of country singer Gretchen Wilson’s new album, The Washington Post’s Britt Robson refers to her song “Politically Uncorrect”– a duet with Merle Haggard– as “reactionary.”

This aroused my curiousity, so I looked up the lyrics. Here they are:

I’m for the low man on the totem pole
And I’m for the underdog God bless his soul
And I’m for the guys still pulling third shift
And the single mom raisin’ her kids
I’m for the preachers who stay on their knees
And I’m for the sinner who finally believes
And I’m for the farmer with dirt on his hands
And the soldiers who fight for this land

Chorus:

And I’m for the Bible and I’m for the flag
And I’m for the working man, me and ol’ Hag
I’m just one of many
Who can’t get no respect
Politically uncorrect

I guess my opinion is all out of style
Aw, but don’t get me started cause I can get riled
And I’ll make a fight for the forefathers plan
And the world already knows where I stand

Nothing wrong with the Bible, nothing wrong with the flag
Nothing wrong with the working man me & ol’ Hag
We’re just some of many who can’t get no respect
Politically uncorrect
Politically uncorrect

Since then I’ve been trying to figure out exactly why Robson considers this song reactionary. OK, it’s not exactly a revolutionary manifesto. And it does include unfashionably favorable references to preachers, repentant sinners, Bibles, flags and fighting. Is that enough to make it reactionary? On the whole it’s a tribute to ordinary, unglamorous people doing tough but necessary jobs and struggling to get by. What’s so reactionary about that? (Now Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee”that was a reactionary song, and a damn fine one too.)

Besides, anyone who sings proudly, “I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high-class broad,” has won me over already.

Finally, is there a connection between a presumably well-educated and enlightened reviewer calling Wilson’s song reactionary and John Kerry’s loss to George W. Bush last November?

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