Tuesday, May 19, 2009


A month or so ago I was watching the top 20 countdown on CMT (that's country music television for you city slickers) and the video for Rodney Atkins' "It's America" came on, his chart scorching ode to the stars n' stripes.
Now you probably don't know this, but I've had a keen interest in modern country for almost 5 years now. I used to watch CMT or GAC all the time. During that time I knew all the big country hits, you name it. From Alan Jackson to Little Big Town, I knew 'em all. In recent years I haven't had the time to keep up with it aside from the odd hour or two Josh and I will jam out in the van to a country station on the radio. What can I say, I just get a big kick out of how ridiculous a lot of the lyrics and sentiments are. I do genuinely like a smattering of songs, mostly by Toby Keith but that's another post entirely.
Anyway, this "It's America" song came on and it was another one of your typical flag-waving patriotic summer jams. There's at least 3 or 4 every year that make the charts. What really caught my eye was half way through the video.
Rodney plays a good ole boy car mechanic. He walks outside of his garage and comes upon a Mexican mariachi band, much like the one in our "Ah La La" video. He makes a ridiculous facial expression upon seeing them. His face says "What the Fuck" and "Oh hell no!" at the same time. Rodney is none too pleased with these foreigners. Moments later he gladly helps a white rock band with directions. Thank God they're not Mexicans!
I just wanted to point this little bit of racism and xenophobia out. I know it's not exactly a news flash that a country video would have some small minded racism in it, but I was just surprised that it got through in such a corporate age. Modern country is very sanitized. The only thing that differentiates most songs from top-40 pop songs is the instrumentation i.e. pedal steel, fiddles and obviously the twang. Ven that's out the window now with Taylor Swift.
Regardless, check out the video. The whole things pretty funny but if you value your time just skip to 2:30 and look for the scene I'm talking about. His reaction comes at 2:38, so keep your eyes peeled. It's blink and you miss it.



Anonymous said...

I am glad someone else caught this! I was just watching the top 20 countdown, as well. It was a wtf moment for me. My town (Pop. 1900) has a large Latino population and they are embraced and loved.

The worst thing is that we all know that the video director had to have said, "Yeah, that's a great idea. It will resonate with all of this video's audience." (The same kind of people who love Southern Americana fluff). Good thing this song isn't much of a hit and in 2 years no one will recognize it, let alone the video.

Anonymous said...

I just saw this video for the umpteenth time... and am more bothered by it every time. I hope I'm reading it wrong, but that little cut with the mariachi band seems to want to make a very clear point... a point that is not at all American, in my opinion