Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Live-blogging Listening to "Accidental Racist" Over and Over

2:42 PM: Holy crap - the video has been pulled from YouTube. (Even Rolling Stone's is "removed by user." -Wednesday: It's been replaced.) See how long this one lasts. (And it's gone. Here's another, from Rolling Stone.)

And how much you wanna bet they're trying ferociously to un-release the album?


9:00 AM: "A proud rebel son, with an old can of worms..."

This song just gave my brain herpes.

9:01: Hearing this song means you cannot go to heaven when you die. God does not want any trace of this song in heaven.

9:04: 9 out of 10 dentists would rather smash their teeth out with a hammer than hear this song. (The other dentist listened to it and moved to North Korea. With a suitcase full of American flags.)

9:08: Rolling Stone says "Brad Paisley, LL Cool J's 'Accidental Racist' Song Raises Eyebrows." I say: Brad Paisley, LL Cool J's 'Accidental Racist' song raises the possibility that you will become a serial killer. Soon.

9:26: Sorry, I passed out for several minutes there.

9:28: "The red flag on my chest somehow is like the elephant in the corner of the South."

It's like Faulkner rose from his dusty grave! And poured gasoline on the whole world - and pulled out   his lighter...

9:30: "The red flag on my chest somehow is like the elephant in the corner of the South."


9:38: "I'm just a white man coming to you from the South land / trying to understand what it's like not to be. I'm proud of where I'm from, but not everything we've done / and it's not like you and me can rewrite history..."

Recap of song so far: "Hey black guy I'm sorry I wear this Confederate flag t-shirt that I know has racist connotations cuz I just explained that I did and I'm proud of the South but I'm not proud of the stuff that 'we' did BUT IT'S NOT MY FAULT ANYWAY IT ALL HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO SO SHUT UP! I'm sorry. Or something."

9:46: "They called it Reconstruction, fixed some buildings, dried some tears..."

He did not just say that.

9:48: I cannot believe this song. Honestly. "Cuz I'm a white man, living in the South land..."

This song is actually purporting to speak for and explain the existence of all white men in the South.

You know who else is a "white man living in the South land"? Jimmy Carter. Pretty sure he doesn't wear Confederate flag t-shirts.

9:52: I just bit all my toes off.

9:54: LL Cool J: "Just because my pants are saggin' doesn't mean I'm up to no good."

Cuz sagging pants was once the flag of a nation that enslaved an entire race of people.

Did I get that right?

10:00: What this person said:
MAKING THE WORST FALSE EQUIVALENCIES THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN: The most poisonous of all the song’s rhetorical sins come in the coda, where Paisley and LL Cool J trade lines about making the world a better place. It’s cute, until you realize what they’re saying: “If you won’t judge my do-rag, I won’t judge your red [Confederate] flag.” In other words, LL won’t get mad about Brad sporting a symbol of white supremacy as long as Brad won’t get mad about … a random fashion choice that has nothing to do with him. Later, it gets worse: “If you forget my gold chains, I’ll forget the iron chains.” Is putting people who don’t like slavery on the same moral level as racists really worth that wordplay?
That’s the overwhelming message of the song: Yes, white southerners may have been pretty racist in the past, but as a result of that racism some people have negative feelings about the South—and isn’t that just as bad? If those people could just be less angry and forget about the racism, well then by golly, white southerners might stop being racist! For a guy who just wants to wear his Skynyrd shirt in peace, that’s a post-racial utopia worth singing about.
9:54: Another thing this song gets completely and totally wrong: A whole bunch of people who DON'T live in the South sport Confederate flag shirts and bumperstickers and whatnot. Because it really ain't all about "Southern" pride, know what I mean?

10:33: Oh man. Check this out:
Please note that Paisley, who kicks off the song with an anecdote about wearing a Confederate battle flag t-shirt to a Starbucks and describes himself in the song as "a white man/Living in the southland," is from West Virginia, a state famously birthed by the 41 Virginia counties that did not want to secede from the Union.
Paisley is actually one of the people I talked about in the last update: He's not even from the South. God God.

11:08: Via Jezebel, via Jeff in the comments: Lynyrd Skynyrd dissasociates itself with the Confederate flag.

2:57 PM: Paisley tweets a link to this, where he says, "I'm not proud that people's ancestors were beaten and held in bondage. But I am sure as heck proud of the farm I live on and the Confederate soldier buried there."

I personally don't have a problem with people having something akin to pride regarding their ancestors (although I'm not sure they're really Paisley's ancestors - they might be), even if those ancestors fought on the wrong side of a war—but saying it as a "but" phrase after, "I'm not proud that people's ancestors were beaten and held in bondage..." - is very, very weird.


  1. Jezebel agrees: http://jezebel.com/brad-paisleys-accidental-racist-song-is-terrible-ho-471297837

    It really is a god awful song. And WTF was LL thinking with the iron chains line? And absolving Lee, etc. Really?!? Weird. Just weird.

    1. It is so lyrically and conceptually and logistically wrong wrong wrong.

  2. I believe the definition of the word "but" means that it negates, or at the very least mitigates, what comes before it.

    I haven't heard "Accidental Racist"...but this kind of reminds me of "Ebony and Ivory" which has a lovely melody and some godawful lyrics: "Ebony and ivory, live together in perfect harmony, side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don't we..." I always wanted to say, "Um, because people aren't the same things as pianos? And even if they were, not that long ago, those white keys there used to own and torture those black keys..."