Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Strange Fruit: How Would Toby Keith Feel If It Was HE Who Was Being Lynched?

When Max Blumenthat broke the story on the pro-lynching music video promoting Toby Keith's "Beer for My Horses" on the Huffington Post last week, the right-wing blogsphere worked itself up into a hysterical state, whining that poor homeboy Toby himself was being persecuted for speaking his mind.

First, let's take a deep breath and approach all this from a historical perspective.

As Blumenthal painfully reminds us, "During the days when Toby Keith's "Grandpappy" stalked the Jim Crow South, lynching was an institutional method of terror employed against blacks to maintain white supremacy. According to the Tuskegee Institute, between the years 1882 and 1951, 3,437 African-Americans were lynched in the United States, mostly in the heart of Dixie. Felonious assault and rape (read: corrupting "the flower of white womanhood") were the two most frequent justifications for lynch mob actions."

He goes on to add, "Those who doubt the presence of racist undertones in Keith's "Beer For My Horses" should see the song's video.:

"Cue ahead to 3:00 and watch as Keith intones, "We got too many gangsters doin' dirty deeds." The singer's words are not-so-subtly accompanied by the image of a swaggering black man sporting short dreads and baggy clothes. Thus the profile of Keith's ideal lynching candidate is revealed."

Sadly, Toby Keith neither owns a copy of Billie Holliday's "Strange Fruit" not has listened to it today.

Not surprisingly, and Blumenthal points out in his follow-up, "The response from right-wing blogs was swift and strident. whined that "The Liberal Lynching of Toby Keith" had taken place; Lonewacko claimed that Keith was actually "promoting lawful executions." And Keith found an avid defender in Robert Stacy McCain, the disgraced former Washington Times reporter and avowed neo-Confederate who once allegedly ranted in the middle of the Times newsroom that slavery was "good for the blacks and good for property owners."

Now what would you expect from right-wing shills twisting themselves like contontionists auditioning for "America's Got Talent" to defend the indefensible?

As Blumenthal goes on to observe, "The comments by the literally hundreds of trolls who leapt to Keith's defense are significant for only one reason: they reveal the extent to which the radical right has anointed Keith as a icon of its movement. Keith's schlock rock is the soundtrack of the culturally deprived australopithicenes who populate the cyber-caves of freeperland and comprise the movement's most fervent activists. As a bellicose chickenhawk who has risen from the ranks of the rural working class to become "White Trash With Money," Keith has carefully calibrated his image to fit the sensibility of his fans."

If that wasn't enough, Toby Keith has now targeted Barack Obama, attacking him in language that startled even the notoriously reactionary radio jock Glenn Beck. During Keith's appearance on the July 30 broadcast of Beck's show, he remarked, "I think the black people would say he [Obama] don't talk, act or carry himself as a black person."

"What does that even mean?" the audibly shocked Beck replied.

"Well, I don't know what that means," Keith drawled, "but I think that that's what they would say. Even though the black society would pull for him I still think that they think in the back of their mind that the only reason he is in [the general election] is because he talks, acts and carries himself as a Caucasian."

Read: an Oreo -- black on the outside, white on the outside.

Which leads me to this question: Does Toby Keith eat the creamy middle of an Oreo cookie first and save the chocolate cookie outside for last?

Assholes are meant to be buggered, and Toby Keith is no exception.

Vaseline, please.

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