As I am generally quite sheltered from what my esteemed Editrix Amelia just called “the dark underbelly of racist country music,” I am just now finding out about the viral sensation that is Jamie Jones’ “Pissed Off Rednecks Like Me”–entirely because Amanda Marcotte just wrote a thing about it yesterday over on Raw Story.
Apparently, it is very popular with a certain segment of our population.
Because I am a positive person, I will start with a compliment. Jones has a very good singing voice, which I would absolutely enjoy were he not singing a song about how people shouldn’t be allowed to be Muslims, the imaginary persecution of Christians and English speakers, and shooting pro-gun control politicians. Yeah, no. That is what this song is about, mostly. That and how Jamie Jones is part of Real America, which is apparently going to take it’s vengeance out on Fake America in the near future.
Let’s take it stanza by stanza, shall we?
Mr. stick-head politician
I got some news for you
If you want to come
Tryin’ to take my gun
Son you better be bulletproof
OK. Wow. You know what? You Sir, of all people, should definitely not have guns. Not if your reaction to a politician disagreeing with you on something a lot of people in this country do not agree on is straight-up homicide. Sure, you think it’s cheeky coming from you, but I bet you wouldn’t think it was so cute if I suggested you be assassinated because you like guns. Or if members of any of the minorities you disparage in your song were suggest you be murdered for being a weird, sad bigot.
And don’t try to tell my children
When and where to pray
We ain’t that far gone
We’re still standing on
The land of the free
And the home of the brave
No, I’m not your normal political society
Your children can pray wherever they please–though perhaps not out loud in the middle of a Geography test, as that might be distracting for other students. However, a teacher may not instruct them in this or tell other children who do not follow their religion to also pray. Why this is a hard concept to grasp, I haven’t the slightest.
I have no idea what that last phrase even means. That doesn’t even make sense. Does he mean polite society?
This is coming from real America, son
And pissed off rednecks like me
Oh, shut up. You are not “Real America” any more than I am, and you don’t see me going around saying I’m “Real America” and you’re not, because I was born a few minutes from Plymouth Rock, in the part of the country that didn’t ever try to secede. I’m sorry if you feel that’s the only thing you feel you have to be proud of, but it’s bullshit. Everyone here is a Real American. In fact, everyone on this continent and South America is a Real American, if you want to get specific about it.
For what it’s worth, Jamie Jones, you may call yourself a redneck, but I certainly will never call you one. I don’t find it particularly clever to make fun of poor share croppers who likely suffered from Pellagra.
No, I won’t push one for English
I just as soon hang up the phone
How is this a big deal? What? You’re just not going to call the cable company about a problem with your service because you have to press a button? What on earth is with these people and their sad, sad fear that they’re going to have to learn or accidentally be exposed to another language? What is it that they think is going to happen? I speak three languages and the sky has yet to fall on my head. People in Europe often speak multiple languages, which is why dingbats like this guy can go over and expect everyone in France to give him directions in English.
Also, reading the lyrics to this song, I’m not so sure this fella ought to be bragging about his mastery of the English language.
If you wanna serve in a Muslim church
Go and take your ass back home
Wait. So you don’t want anyone to tell your kids where and when to pray, but you’re all about telling Muslims where and when to pray? How does that work? Also, back home where? Minnesota? And what, pray tell, does “serve in a Muslim Church” even mean?
Get up and go to work if you’re able
Instead of living off our dime
This give me a hand out generation
Is gonna bleed this country dry
Yeah, I think it’s time that we change some policy
Contrary to what you think, Jamie Jones, people can’t just decide not to work and receive a giant welfare check. If you don’t believe me, go and try it! Also, only about 10% of things you might describe as “welfare” are spent on the non-working poor, and nearly all of that is in the form of food stamps and Medicaid. Actually, if you want the country to spend less money on welfare, you should stop shaming poor people and start shaming corporations who use outsourced labor and who pay their workers the minimum wage.
As for most of us
It’s still in God we trust
Here on this side of the ground
Get up and give thanks in the morning
And we work till the sun goes down
Things have got to change
We can’t sit back, got to lead
You are welcome to trust in god. I, however, don’t have to! Because America! Also, yeah, no one wants you to lead anything if you’re so committed to being stupid and narrow-minded that you can’t figure out that we have freedom of religion here, and you’re deathly afraid of accidentally hearing a language other than English.
Old folks say can’t afford medication
Still Obamacare is a joke
They’ve help you with your sickness
I saved mine up and take a toll
Actually, due to “Obamacare,” the cost of prescriptions for elderly people has gone way, way down. Prior to the expansion of Medicare Part D, many seniors had to pay for their prescription costs entirely out of pocket, which caused them to stop taking needed medications.
They need to lock down on the borders
Throw away the keys
In a cell bar on right here at home
Instead of sending it overseas
But right now raise your glasses
Personally, I love immigrants. I like immigrants a lot better than I like people like Jamie Jones. In fact, some of my best ancestors were immigrants! Many of whom, I might mention, did not magically speak English upon arrival either.
I would gladly take a hoard of “huddled masses yearning to be free” over one sad-ass hateful bigot like Jamie Jones. I mean, really–people who are willing to risk their lives for a better shot at life for them and their families are worth ten of some jerk who wants to shoot people who don’t share his opinion on guns.
The fact that this Jamie Jones person has written a very popular song strongly condemning every human in this country who is not Jamie Jones says more about him than it does about the rest of us. It says, more than anything, that he is a person with a serious self-esteem problem, which he seems to believe could be rectified by everyone else being exactly like him and believing the things he believes.
As much as people like Jamie Jones squawk about being “Real America,” they are terrified of their own ever-increasing irrelevance in this country. I may not like him or his opinions, but I can understand that it must suck to feel like you’re a joke to people. Certainly, many people feel OK about mocking poor white Southerners–often by inferring that they believe the things Jones sang in this song, or by suggesting they lack class or teeth or intelligence. And that’s not right or fair, and in fact, it’s shitty.
On some level, I can see why he might double down on these repulsive opinions, in the way that teenagers stomp their feet and scream “this is who I am!” when doing and saying things that are clearly ridiculous. I can see why he might gravitate towards far-right propaganda when so much of it is tempered with “You’re all the Real Americans! You’re important and special, and there are people who want to take that importance and specialness away from you! Especially those elitist, citified Northerners with their fancy clothes and education, who think you’re stupid, when you’re the ones with common sense!” I don’t know, maybe if we can get over treating people like they’re stereotypes, they’ll stop acting like them.
Original by Robyn Pennacchia @robynelyse