Monday, May 14, 2007


The press coverage of Miranda Lambert's new record allows an opportunity to illustrate intelligence-insulting practice in entertainment news coverage from daily newspapers.

Obviously, numbing repetition of memes is front and center. Lambert's meme is this: Girls who carry guns are tough, rebellious and resourceful. Cue the bad movie with Sharon Stone as a gunfighter in the Old Wild West.

With Lambert, you find average journalists, people who would do anything within their power to avoid attending a county ag fair, suddenly falling all over themselves to praise someone from the heart of redneckville.

Since DD grew up in Pine Grove, Pennsyltucky, and left PA -- in part -- to GET AWAY from the prevailing ideology there, I've always found it hysterical that mainstream news journalists give get-out-of-jail-free cards to selected members of the demographic -- usually girls, who are every bit as dull as the boys.

Then they proceed to write about how novel and empowering it is to see a girl who is tough, or who shoots her boyfriend, or farts, drinks beer and puts midgets or dwarves in their country music videos.

A couple of years ago the same shtick was all about husky Gretchen Wilson.

"Gretchen Wilson is proud to be redneck!" yelled the Arizona Republic.

"Gretchen Wilson hasn't forgotten she's a redneck woman!" shouted the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

"Hell yeah" and "Yee haw" appeared a few hundred times in Lex-Nex, as well as overjoyed references to keeping Christmas lights on all year 'round. Keeping Christmas lights on all year 'round wasn't about being a rebel redneck in Pine Grove. It was about being too damn lazy to devote a Saturday afternoon to taking them down.

The cant on Miranda Lambert, climaxing today, is all about how she totes a gun and is an angry and tough girl, like angry and tough girls are rare diamonds.

"She torched a cheating lover's home in 'Kerosene' and loaded up a shotgun for an abusive man in 'Gunpowder & Lead' ... She named the title track to her latest album 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,' for Pete's sake ... And yet Miranda Lambert, a striking blond with pouty lips, laughs at the suggestion she might be, well, the girlfriend from hell," writes the Cape Cod Times.

"Miranda Lambert’s sophomore album ups the ante in the post-Gretchen-Wilson-tough-country-chick sweepstakes," wrote the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"If Uma Thurman's too busy for Kill Bill III, director Quentin Tarantino has her replacement in 23-year-old Nashville Star finalist Miranda Lambert. Pretty and blond, this Texas lass seems innocent, but she's really tougher than she looks ... On her [new album], Lambert pronounces herself crazy twice, loves her pistols, tells us she's self-reliant. Mess with her, and before ash develops at the tip of her cigarette, you'll know about it," said the Akron Beacon Journal.

"Miranda Lambert is a dangerous woman," proclaimed the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

" 'I grew up around guns,' " Lambert, whose parents are private investigators, explained in a recent phone interview. 'It's something that's just part of my personality.' "

"[Miranda Lambert] is a tough, no-nonsense firecracker," writes the Columbus Dispatch, deadeningly. "The daughter of semiretired private investigators who followed philandering spouses for a living, she knows her way around firearms. She has a license to carry a gun."

"[Miranda Lambert] lives in the teeny east Texas town of Lindale, right next to her parents, both of whom are private investigators," adds the St. Petersburg Times, in case you've not heard it before. "And she recently killed the biggest deer of the season in the town of Abilene. It was a 155-pointer on the Boone and Crockett scale, if that means anything to you. She used a crossbow."

In any case, the machine has been set in motion and once a full head of steam is worked up, the favored action is to emulate a bad cable channel, one which repeats the same shows over and over. Like Country Music Television, which has mindlessly rerun the same episodes of the Dukes of Hazzard through most of 2006 and 2007.

Naturally, the Los Angeles Times ran a feature on Lambert, today, in its Calendar section.

Now, behold the rewrite from a less reader patronizing angle:

JUST MAD FOR HER FURY -- Miranda Lambert scares up an audience.

..inspired by the Los Angeles Times

Miranda Lambert plays the jilted-psycho role on the banjo-rattled title track of her new album, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

"If somebody hurts me, I'm gonna get even. I'll bite their fat neck. That's the way I was raised," says the Texas-born singer/songwriter, whose parents, Charles and Bev Whitman, taught her to stand up for herself. (Lambert changed her last name when she left for Nashville in 2001.)

With their private investigator and retail sniper rifles businesses, they also inadvertently provided vivid examples of the rotten things people do to each other, especially in relationships.

"Like shoot each other?" the interviewer asks.

"No," Lambert snaps before threatening to end the conversation.

"People ask me, do you just hate guys?" relates Lambert, proudly displaying a tattoo on her left arm of two crossed pistols. " 'No, no,' I say. I have the best dad in the world, and the best boyfriend. You do believe me, don't you?"

"But if they give me grief, I'm not gonna take it. If you try to jump bail, I'll put two bullets in your tail. That's a lyric I'm saving for my next album, too."

Lambert credits Gretchen Wilson, of "Redneck Woman" fame, with paving the way for her modern brand of twangy feminine rebellion. Yet paradoxically, Lambert hopes listeners will tune in to her sensitive side on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

"I'm not trying to be this badass chick all the time but if someone wants to try and pilfer from my can of strawberries, that's where I'm going to get them," Lambert adds. "I'm not angry, I'm happy most of the time. I have a lot of sides but deep down, I have the tenacity of a pitbull. And if I'm romancing your leg, you better fake an orgasm."

Yet even when Lambert's at her most vulnerable, she's not exactly a wilting flower in love's fiery furnace. She's just too old school.

"Country music is about real things, like drinkin' and cheatin'," she says. "It's about telling stories in the present vindictive, about men you have to marry to get rid of."


If you found this essay annoying, then you surely won't enjoy: Two syllable words too arcane in Lindale.

And be sure to boycott Hots on from Doltsville.


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