Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Grief

I found out about the death of George Jones on Facebook.  This is the way one finds out about these things now I suppose.  I was surprised to see the enormous outpouring of poetic grief posted by people that I could never recall mentioning George Jones in any manner to me.  Honestly, with the exception of one person that I know, I can’t ever recall anyone ever saying, “So I was listening to a lot of George Jones, and…”  I have never heard a George Jones song come up on any jukebox except the outstanding Brass Rail jukebox (and I’m the one that played it dammit).  What is all this posturing about the massive loss you are feeling about the death of George Jones?  Who is kidding who?  I thought the guy was already dead, and you probably did too. 

Celebrity death has now become an excellent time for people to posture about how cool they believe their record collections are, and how much more into a particular recording artist or actor they are than you.  “Oh, look.  Mike is into George Jones.  Look at how sad he is about Jones’s death.  Hmm…  He really knows his music!”  For example, there is a sea of people wearing Johnny Cash t-shirts that yell out “Whoooo!!!!” whenever a band plays “Folsom Prison Blues” that can’t name you another song except “Ring of Fire”.  Yet when Johnny Cash died, you would have thought their parents had perished in a house fire.  Yes, Johnny Cash is a symbol of cool.  But in this case, isn’t he more of a fashion accoutrement than someone that has personally touched your life?  Maybe you really connected on a song.  OK.  I’ve got good news for you.  There are 65 more CDs on Columbia alone you haven’t bothered to listen to, so maybe you should zero in on your icon a bit more.      

George Jones never had that same crossover cool that Cash did, mostly because he was an alcoholic pain in the ass in Ambervision sunglasses.  When your nickname is “No-Show Jones”, that gives you a pretty good idea of his reliability.  He does have that Good Ole Boy town drunk softened identity after the ludicrous incidents involving getting a DUI on a riding lawnmower though.  Sure he was a destructive alcoholic and cocaine addict, but that’s just good old Possum!  Yuk yuk yuk… 

The death of George Jones was a much bigger deal in Nashville, where you are never allowed to be honest about the lack of impact a celebrity death has on you.  “Oh, Loretta Lynn died?  Huh.  I never really listened to her records.  I don’t know.  I never really cared for her.”  Can you imagine?  You would be publicly flogged on Broadway in downtown Nashville for saying that on the day Loretta Lynn passes away.  Your naked headless body would be hung from a lamp post as a warning to others to keep their thoughts to themselves when Merle Haggard goes.  “Merle?  I loved Merle!  All of his stuff!  All of it!  And Willie Nelson too!  Even that reggae record!  Please don’t hurt me!”

I love that Southern thing where everyone feels better openly lying.  “Well, it was quite a blow to all of us when we found out George was gone…”  All those bullshit Nashville tributes to George Jones aren’t going to mention how the Nashville Machine has excommunicated Jones from the radio and industry since 1990. If these current stars loved George Jones so much, why is it they never had him on one of their tours?  In interviews though, they’ll defer just like the Nashville Playbook tells them to with a “Well, I grew up with the music of George Jones, and I’ll always remember my Mama turning up the radio in the kitchen while she was making biscuits anytime his songs came on…”  Enough of the horseshit.  The death of George Jones affected you as much as the death of that dude in Kriss Kross.  If you cared so much, where were you when he was alive?

At least the Nashville community might have possibly come in contact with Jones.  Most of the people on my Facebook feed are as close to George Jones as they are Angelina Jolie, Bill Cosby, Billy Joel, or Bart Simpson.  These are all just pieces of content in the massive entertainment universe.  “Fly to heaven singing angel and let your earthly troubles fall free”  Please.  Stop it.  George Jones was a guy that could sing like a motherfucker.  No one can debate his talent.  He is one of the iconic country singers of all time.  But ultimately, for us on the outside, isn’t he just a group of recordings that tastemakers have determined are “real country”?   

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to write a Facebook tribute to Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman.  


At May 14, 2013 at 1:31:00 PM EDT , Blogger Caveboy said...

The thing about Nashville is there aren't any people in Nashville from Nashville. It has become a slightly northern version of Atlanta (too damn hot). The real Nashville has been gone for a long long time. When they closed the Classic Cat and tore down the Canary bar to make way for the all the cookie cutter bullshit that now litters the city, Nashville sold it's soul. I mean come on man they got a friggin hockey team.

At May 14, 2013 at 8:33:00 PM EDT , Blogger Frank said...

Who the fuck is George Jones?

At May 14, 2013 at 10:01:00 PM EDT , Blogger Andrew Cruse said...

Love it! Bobby Bare & Shel Silverstein beat you there by about 30 years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ffEHDzJHXU

At May 16, 2013 at 2:03:00 PM EDT , Blogger AZ said...

George Jones? Sounds made up to me.


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