Since moving to Oklahoma City I have been working out at this gym near my house. It is awesome. It is a cardiac rehab center. When I go to workout patients that have suffered heart attacks and some folks suffering from other critical or terminal conditions surround me. The average age is about 55. It is similar to my graying, churchy blanket.
It’s a comfortable place. I love workout surrounded by these seniors and other recovering patients. It inspires me to push harder. I do it so that I might not join their tribe and because many of these folks wheeling around oxygen cannot workout like they want to. They inspire me.
There is one thing I am finding difficult to stomach. There are a few TVs dotting the landscape. They offer you ESPN, CMT (Country Music TV), Fox News, or a random local channel. I have not plugged in to any of the TVs. I combat the tandem of Fox News and CMT with NPR and a treasure chest of Hardcore bands I pipe in to my eyes.
This does nothing for my eyes. I wander around the gym looking at the patients and other worker outers, trying not to be that creepy guy rocking the sweaty t-shirt and pervy eyebrows. I close my eyes most of the time.
The times my eyes have wandered to the TVs that stare me down as I infiltrate my mind with a NPR center covered in Hardcorey goodness I have either been mad at the crazy “facts” Fox News is reporting or I trip out at the videos they play on CMT.
I have yet to hear a word uttered from Fox News or CMT I just catch what is going on via the screen. I do not feel like I can engage FOX News at any level with integrity so I abstain (score one for Christine O’Donnell). I do not get the country swagger I have seen on CMT.
I do not even know who there artists are. There is this one video with a guy in a cowboy hat and jeans playing a guitar sing-yelling at a woman in a long flowing dress also sing-yelling to this guy. They are face to face, arms waving in the middle of the desert. What’s going on?
There were some other videos with parties, bikini clad women lounging around as the object of desire for these cowboy hatted, sleeveless t-shirt wearing divos. There were Car chases, people being pursued by others on the back of personal watercraft, and country boys playing with fireworks to the chagrin of some other country boys high fiving and cheering them one.
I used to love country music. I still love a few folks. Dolly Parton. Johnny Cash. Alan Jackson. Dwight Yoakam. Loretta Lynn. These recent incarnations of country music stars seem to be parodies of themselves and of what it means to be “country.”
It reminds me of the gangster rap of the late 90’s and the glam metal of the late 1980’s. When a movement has hit a meteoric rise and redefined a culture and influenced many. That is when folks come in and try to squeeze the blood from the turnip.
That is when the heart of what made the scene golden and speak to the people shifts to find a new home. What is going on with country music? Where has has the spark gone? Is being country narrowly defined by the money magicians of Nashville? Do those that subscribe to the country flavor look or act anything like the practitioners of excess that CMT portrays?
Grant it, I have only live in “the south” for seven years. I could be out of touch with that country thing. I have not gone country. I am a city slicker at heart. I had my time in both the gangster rap scene and glam metal scene. I am not one to talk. But that never stopped me from offering an opinion before. For now, I will workout with one eye opened.