(Note: Der der der der Music That Sucks der der der der. Nascar, hunting, incest, Jesus, USA, Deliverance squeal like a pig der der der der.)
1. A person who professes patriotism loudly and excessively, favoring vigilant preparedness for war and an aggressive foreign policy; bellicose chauvinist.
2. A person who caters to or profits from the weaknesses or vices of others.
Jingoistic Panderer: noun
1. See Toby Keith.
Ahh Country Music. You were once great, with such stars as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristopherson...even groups like Alabama and the fuckin Oak Ridge Boys put out some decent music. A funny thing happened to Country Music on the way to 2012: it was completely taken over by a bunch of pandering inbred sycophants. They pander to the lowest common denominator: a bunch of xenophobic retards who have never been north of the Mason/Dixon line and still think the Civil War is ongoing. Even before the days of the Outlaws mentioned above you had those types in Country, but that's what made the Outlaws so great. They were able to expand Country to the masses, to include people who normally didn't listen to Country while ALSO appealing to those who did. Those days are long gone however and what we have is a musical community more insulated than ever. If you are not a Republican, God fearing "good ol' boy" then there is no place for you in Country Music. Just ask the Dixie Chicks.
More than any other genre in any other time period, today's Country caters to a very specific audience. Country fans, for instance apparently haven't heard of the Internet and mp3s as the genre that seems to sell CDs in abundance anymore is Country. The result of this pandering is creative stifling; there isn't much of a difference between the various Country acts currently performing. There is one artist who shines above all of the others: who panders more than anyone else, and that is Toby Keith. A caveat needed to be added for this induction that I have to address before we go on. Country is so insular that I had to relax my own rules to include this much deserved and in my opinion very important induction. Unless otherwise noted the chart positions mentioned are specifically the Country charts. Usually they are from the "Hot 100" singles and albums charts but Mr. Keith hardly ever makes that chart and has never topped it. He does have a rather large following and is at least known among the general population, so I have allowed it. Without further adieu, grab a six pack and your closest opposite sex relative (fags need not apply in this world) because we're going to explore the world of Toby Keith.
Toby Keith Covel was born in Clinton, Oklahoma on July 8th 1961. Rumors that he tried to claw his way out of his mother's womb 4 days earlier to help his future career and share the same birthday as America are unsubstantiated. As a child Toby worked at his grandmother's supper club where he got into music and would even take the stage with the various performers from time to time. He joined his high school's football team and after graduation he began working in oil fields. Once the oil industry started to fall off in the early 1980's he was left without a job and joined the semi-pro football team the Oklahoma City Drillers. After failing there he began to focus on music career, playing the honky tonk circuit with a group called Easy Money.
In the early 1990's Keith ventured out to Nashville trying to get his demo tape to record companies. He left Nashville when his efforts proved fruitless, dejected as he hadn't found success by his 30th birthday. Fortunately for him and unfortunately for me and Country Music in general a flight attendant fan of his gave his demo tape to an executive at Mercury Records who liked what he heard, went to see Keith perform live and signed him to a record deal. Now keep in mind that in this pre-9/11 world the Toby Keith that we all know now wasn't fully realized yet. Country still had a foot in the "mass audience" door thanks to fellow inductee Garth Brooks and others, so we got a mulleted Keith releasing his first single "Should Have Been A Cowboy" which is quite frankly a generic, uninspired Country tune that reached #1 on the charts and helped his self-titled debut album reach platinum status.
After the success of his first album Keith left Mercury for Polydor, which would merge with A&M Records Nashville. During this time he releaed two albums and even collaborated with the Beach Boys on a cover of "Be True To Your School". Once A&M folded their Country division he went to Mercury (now Mercury Nashville) and released a fourth album "Dream Walkin". The most notable song here is a duet with Sting on "I'm So Happy I Can Stop Crying". So far, so bland for Mr. Keith. It wouldn't be until two landmark incidents in his life, the 9/11 attacks and the accidental death of his father that jingoistic panderer that we know today was fully unleashed.
The first song truly of note here that propelled Keith into the inbred redneck stratosphere was "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American). With such dazzling lyrics as "And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist" and "You'll be sorry that you messed with the U. S. of A., 'cause we'll put a boot up your ass, it's the American Way" Keith was obviously pandering to the most Jingoistic among us and in doing so made Country music as closed off to the rest of us as it had ever been. A line in the sand was drawn when ABC had invited Keith to perform the song for a July 4th special only to have host Peter Jennings veto it. During these harrowing times it took a Canadian to stand back and say "hey, this is some jingoistic bullshit and there is a fine line between love for one's country and what Toby Keith is doing".
The controversy did not stop there. Keep in mind that even up until this point Country had yet to turn into the isolationist, "love America and our government or get the fuck out" genre that it has become now. It was still big and open enough to allow differing viewpoints in. This all changed once the Dixie Chicks and their frontwoman Natalie Maines came out against the putrid jingoism of the song and Bush's policies when jingoism was at an all time high. She rightfully called the song "...ignorant, and makes Country Music sound ignorant". Truer words had never been spoken. Some might say Maines was a good prognosticator but I venture to guess that she had impeccable common sense, which was lacking in the post-9/11 world. Keith meanwhile was known to dismiss criticism of his jingoistic anthem as the work of "commie heathens", thus feeding into the jingoistic fervor of the time. Keith displayed photoshops of Maines hanging out with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Maines wears a shirt with the acronym "FUTK" ("Fuck You, Toby Keith") and Keith is placed upon an inbred pedestal while the Dixie Chicks are drummed out of the Country Music scene.
Yes, I completely put all onus on Keith and this song for the death blow to Country Music. Sure it had been dying before this song was released but it was this pile of jingoistic bullshit that told the rest of the country "if you aren't 100% in agreement with this song then you don't belong here". This is when Country isolated itself from the rest of society and all of the hard work to expand Country's borders had been destroyed. Along with topping the Country charts "Courtesy of..." reached #25 on the Hot 100. The song became the lead single off of the 2002 album Unleashed. The album produced other Country chart toppers like "Beer For My Horses" (w/Willie Nelson...sigh) which is about lynching car thieves (#22 Hot 100) which also spawneds a TV movie starring Keith and "Who's Your Daddy?" (also #22 Hot 100) about a young girl with a sugar daddy.
Keith would embark on a career of jingoistic pandering, playing in front of troops waving his flag and hanging around the likes of douche bag one-hit wonder Ted Nugent. He expanded into restaurants, helping launch of chains of Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill and further ingraining himself into Redneck Culture as he appeared on the debut episodes of Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling (now known as TNA Impact Wrestling). In more recent times he has released his biggest mainstream hit "Red Solo Cup" which is an homage to cheap plastic cups filled with beer (#1 Country, #17 Hot 100).
Toby Keith took unabashed jingoism to new, terrifying heights while making a profit off of people's fears during a time then those fears were heightened exponentially. He had a huge hand in segregating Country Music to the point of regression, making it the most exclusionist genre in all of music. For that I say, fuck you Toby Keith, you self-righteous, sanctimonious piece of shit. I am using my Constitutionally given Freedom of Speech to say "I don't like your music and what you stand for". Does this make me an un-American commie? No, not at all. If anything I am displaying my patriotism by offering a dissenting opinion because I think it's mindsets like yours that are what's wrong with this country. Fuck you and the drunk horse you rode in on.
Toby Keith, music...that sucks!