Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Boys' Country Corner Returns!

In today's edition of "Country Corner" we examine Blake Shelton's "Hillbilly Bone." The song seems, at first glance, a simple tale of the narrator initiating a city boy into the ways of the country, but is it actually a thinly veiled declaration of homosexuality on the part of the speaker? Perhaps. Take a look at these early lyrics:

"I took him honky tonkin' and that was it
He took to it like a pig to mud, like a cow to cud
We all got a hillbilly bone down deep inside
No matter where you from you just can't hide it."

Chip: "If we 'queer' this text, it becomes quite obvious that the 'hillbilly bone' is not the city boy's innate predisposition toward country living but rather a quite graphic description (bone, deep inside) of the city boy initiating our rural speaker into the ways of 'city' (meaning gay) loving, along with a tacit acknowledgment of the speaker's own emerging homosexuality: 'you just can't hide it.'"

Richard: "Exactly right, Chip. And these next lyrics cleverly extend the idea:

When you see them pretty little country queens
Man you gotta admit that's in them genes
Ain't nothing wrong, just getting on your
hillbilly bone-ba-bone-ba-bone-bone

While the lines may initially appear a mere celebration of attractive country gals, coupled with a bit of hilarious wordplay of genes/jeans, it's also possible to read 'queens' in a more 'citified' sense, as in gay men, and these lines end with a powerful acceptance on the part of the speaker: 'ain't nothing wrong,' followed by the rhythmic 'bone-ba-bone' that suggests their lovemaking. The song then proceeds to move from the personal to the communal, queering not just the speaker but the audience as well, a common technique we see in such seminal gay texts as Kushner's Angels in America: 'We all got a hillbilly bone down deep inside.'"

Readers, we'll leave you with a few final lines for you to interpret yourselves, but how can you NOT reach the same conclusions, and don't you think our argument is worthy of publication in an academic journal?

"All you need is an open mind
If it fires you up you gotta let it shine
When it feels so right that it cant be wrong
Come on, come on, come on"


take that, ishmael reed! said...

Readers, also note the thinly veiled sexual language of the critics. Shortly after describing the (homo)sexual uses of a "boner", Richard invites us to "extend" the discussion. After an incisive commentary on urban homosexuality and the culture of "queens", Richard participates in a little "wordplay" of his own, describing Kushner's play as "seminal", reinforcing the male sexuality, fertility, and homoeroticism of both the primary and secondary texts.

Publication indeed!

conference panel here I come! said...

There is no way I'm not taking this analysis public!

Is there such a thing as an academic country music conference?

Capt. Chanute said...

I can't believe we are wasting our free time and finger power on country music analysis. It's like trying to delve into hipsters' motivations for sex: the only substance we'll find is what we put there.
Anyways, how can we ignore the fact that Corey Haim died today? I mean seriously. One of the greatest actors of all times, with one of the most expansive bodies of work known to all filmdom and some of the moldable hair of his day, why are we not discussing the Fallen Legend? I demand answers. Besides, we all know that cowboys are queers, cf. Brokeback Mtn.

erudite country bumpkin said...

Gosh, and I thought that the LC is an academic journal.

I must now reconsider all previous blog entries, and perhaps write a country song about it.

license to drive said...

I thought it was too soon for Haim commentary. I love Lost Boys as much as the next geek!