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Toby Keith, and hating America

Toby Keith - country and western superstar. I have just been trawling through this guy's back catalogue after discovering him on the Stephen Colbert Christmas Album. At first I thought he was a spoof, but no...

Check out this stirring video: "We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way."

On the Colbert Christmas album (see UK itunes) Keith sings a song about Americans taking Christmas back and decapitating those who call for the separation of church and state.

For some reason we Brits - especially the left-leaning Liberal ones - are constantly being told we are anti-American. We hate America.

I really don't think I do. I'm a big fan, I'd say. The problem is the U.S. has for some time now been run by the elected representatives of those who buy Toby Keith albums. Criticisms of "America", in this context, were criticisms of American policy, especially foreign policy, and the dickheads running it. Those days are over, we hope. Like many Americans we Brits also got all teary-eyed when Obama won. All's forgiven. We don't hate America anymore.

Unless, of course, Palin is right and it's Toby Keith and those who love him that are the "real America". Then, hey, I still hate America!

Anyway, this is just for the benefit of Brits who have never come across Toby Keith, who is unintentionally funny (and intentionally scary) and almost beyond belief.

Review of his recent album here (that's the cover, btw):

Amazingly, it's already been six years since Toby Keith ignited Americans' patriotism with his post-9/11 anthem "Courtesy Of The Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)". However, it doesn't appear that time has healed all wounds. In Keith's latest release You're Next Iran!, the singer takes the opportunity to renew his disdain for terrorism, and most of the Middle East in general. In the album's title track, Keith hurls verbal barbs at the aforementioned country (and most of its neighbors), threatening "some serious pain" if its leaders try "any funny stuff." On other songs, the honky-tonk hero sends a warning to Saudi Arabia about oil prices ("Fuel The Fire") and cautions Syria about harboring terrorists ("Keep Your Nose Clean"). Unfortunately, much of the passion of "Courtesy of..." is missing from this album, and some of the aggression seems rather forced. This is perhaps best evidenced on the track "Wrong Place, Wrong Time" where Keith takes some un-provoked pot shots at largely-peaceful Qatar, stating "You're just like the rest, so don't mess with the best." Die-hard Toby Keith fans should feel right at home with this album, but most others will probably want to steer clear.

POSTSCRIPT - I didn't notice at first that this review was wholly satirical. There's really no such album. Thanks to Paul C.


Sharkey said…
I'm not a big fan of that album, but "Ya'll Brown Folk (Better Start Runnin')" has got some good vocal work...
Larry Hamelin said…
Criticisms of "America", in this context, were criticisms of American policy, especially foreign policy, and the dickheads running it. Those days are over, we hope.

Well, the days of dickheads running a violent, aggressive, imperialistic foreign policy are probably over. Now we'll have capable, intelligent people running a violent, aggressive, imperialistic foreign policy.

I'm not completely convinced that's an improvement.
Paul C said…
I believe that website review to be satirical in intent.
Stephen Law said…
Hi Paul. Actually now I read the rest of it, of course it is. Duh. Mind you, having heard the genuine stuff it really sounded very plausible.
John Pieret said…
Given that we have 300 million people, most with the time and resources to actually have opinions about American policy and to express them, no matter how crudely (or slyly), its no surprise that we have more than one "real America." Palin's right in that what she is describing is real and it is part of America. But so is the sober and rational right that is being pushed toward the Democratic Party and the "liberal" America (more like your center) that will be running the show for a while. Until Dr. Hyde takes another swig, at least.
Andrew Louis said…
don't judge Americans based on the red neck SOB's that lost the civil war.... Those are the people who listen to Toby Keith.
Paul C said…
Successful satire of course is identifiable by the fact that it is so very plausible.

In this case it works brilliantly, although Keith appears to be a little more complex than first appears.
georgesdelatour said…

Before we get too hard on Toby Keith, consider this.

Here are some titles by the Soviet composer Aram Khachaturian:
Poem about Stalin (1938); Ballade about Motherland (1961): March of the Moscow Red Banner Militia (1973).

And some by Sergei Prokofiev: Stalin Cantata - Zdravitsa (1939); Flourish, Mighty Homeland (1947).

It's possible that Prokofiev wrote his eulogies to Stalin because he felt it prudent to do so, rather than because he approved of Stalin's policies. But Khachaturian was an enthusiastic supporter of Stalin, even after the dictator fell from favour in the Khruschev era.

Here are some titles by Irish group "The Wolfe Tones": Belt of the Celts (1993), Irish to the Core (1993), Sing Out For Ireland (1993), You'll Never Beat the Irish (2005). Their music is every bit as fatuously jingoistic as Toby Keith's. Okay, it's jingoism for a much smaller nation than the USA, one which has suffered centuries of bullying by Britain. But it's jingoism nonetheless.

In the UK we've got Skrewdriver (, and Sweden has Saga (

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