I’ve got a bit of confession to make. I hate country music and country musicians — with a passion. Is that fair? Probably not. Am I biased? I’d have to say so. Am I committing the cardinal sin of stereotyping a large group of people based on the actions of a few? Guilty as charged.
It’s hard not to with stories like this one. Did you hear about Troy Gentry? The guy’s being prosecuted for killing a black bear with a bow and arrow. Now I’m not opposed to hunting (though I’m a lot happier when the prey has hooves and a white-tail – technical schematic here.) So what could be so horrible to deserve prosecution for the manly action of hunting a fearsome predator with a bow and arrow?
Perhaps shooting a tame bear in a cage, then tagging it and doctoring video to make it look like you shot it in the wild… Which is what he and the ranch owner reported to the state of Minnesota.
His defense sounds like it’s going to be a real winner.
“Troy absolutely denies that he knowingly and willfully did anything illegal, and is confident that he will be exonerated,” said his Minneapolis-based attorney, Ron Meshbesher, who said Gentry has never been interviewed by authorities. “They don’t know his side of the story. He was told it was proper and legal to kill the bear.”
Don’t you love it? Words like knowingly and willfully, proper and legal. No one’s denying that poor Troy protected his family by killing the ranch pet in the cage. They just say he didn’t know it was wrong. Apparently, it’s not even the killing that was illegal. It was doctoring the tags and reporting it to the state — and that’s what prosecutors will have to show Gentry knowingly did to win a conviction.
You know, for some reason I’m not as angry at lying to the state. It’s clearly wrong, but I mean, it’s just Minnesota. It’s the killing that infuriates me. Hunters, a question: Why do people hunt with bow and arrow instead of a gun? I think I know the answer, but someone can correct me if I’m wrong. It’s a challenge, it’s a lot harder, and I can imagine that the excitement and satisfaction of taking prey with these tools is a lot greater. And I respect that.
But drawing your bow and arrow on a caged animal? I don’t give a rat’s behind if it’s legal or not. It’s shameful.
Now I have to admit that I didn’t even know who Troy Gentry was before this story. He’s half of the popular (with who?) duo Montgomery Gentry. But upon a little investigation, he quickly fit right into my stereotype of all that’s wrong with country music. For example, in an article on an upcoming album that would make Stephen Colbert very proud, the writer expresses:
This album reflects a deeper exploration of the issues Eddie Montgomery & Troy Gentry have always deemed important: family, religion & the US Armed Forces.
What else is there really?
It’s the smarminess of country music that I can’t stand. It’s the “family values” that look an awful lot like softcore pornography. (Possibly not safe for work, but incredibly educational if you’ve not flipped through CMT recently). Country music has become one more way that culture gets entwined with religion.
Now I’m not advocating that we abandon popular forms of music, including country music if that’s what you like (though your ear for music has obviously been bludgeoned beyond repair). I personally love a vast array of rock music, though I clearly recognize that some of it doesn’t share my moral values.
It’s just that I prefer my decadence to be clearly labeled as such.