Butt Seriously, Folks
Snide Remarks #301
"Butt Seriously, Folks"
by Eric D. Snider
Published in The Daily Herald on July 5, 2002
If you assk me, this whole Toby Keith thing hass gotten out of hand.
The controversy so far: Country singer Toby Keith performed at Stadium of Fire on Thursday, and some people were bothered because he wass planning to sing his song "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," which contains a certain three-letter swear word. I assume you know which word I mean.
When I heard about the Toby Keith controversy, my first thought wass: Who? Then I did some research and found out he's actually quite famous in country music circles, which I do not feel snobbish in mentioning are circles I do not travel in, due to my having completed high school.
But I wanted to fairly assess the situation before assigning guilt, so I listened to the song. It's an angry, assertive number, one that assails the listener with an assemblage of patriotic catchphrases and other assorted jingoistic assaults. Also, it uses the word "ass."
This is what hass upset people. The line, in context, says, "You'll be sorry you messed with the U.S. of A./'Cause we'll put a boot in your (A-word)/It's the American way."
I question whether inserting a boot into an unnamed enemy's posterior is actually the American way. Capitalism, democracy, building a comfortable home with a white picket fence -- that's the American way, I thought. But if Mr. Keith is to be believed, the American way consists of intentionally misplacing your footwear.
At any rate, that's what the song says, and it uses that offensive word to say it. (It also uses the word "hell," in an earlier verse, but no one seems to be bothered by that.) Representatives of the ironically named Freedom Festival, which sponsors Stadium of Fire, were prepared to "bleep" out the word by launching fireworks when he sang it.
Alan Osmond, who is well acquainted with high-quality family entertainment that no one can stand to listen to, and who is on the Board of Trustees for the Freedom Festival, wass quoted in Wednesday's Daily Herald: "If he says something wrong, I've assked the fireworks people to blast off two big fireworks -- loud ones -- right when he says it wrong," Osmond said. "Or they may shoot it off anyway, even if he says it right. No one will hear it, anyway."
In other words, the Freedom Festival -- which hired Toby Keith in the first place -- planned to censor Toby Keith regardlass of whether he sang the word. Better safe than sorry, I guess. Prudence is an asset, I assure you.
BYU passed the buck and let the Freedom Festival decide what to do. But to use BYU's LaVell Edwards Stadium, the Freedom Fasstival hass to make performers adhere to BYU's contract, which allows "no profanity, vulgarity or obscene or suggestive language." The word in question falls under most people's definition of "vulgarity," but not under their definition of "terrible, obscene vulgarity that I can't stand hearing or my ears will catch on fire." In other words, I suspect most of the people complaining have, in their homes, videos and DVDs in which people say this word and worse. They probably associate with persons who occassionally let such a word slip, too.
I'm not saying profanity is OK. I'm saying hearing one word that most people agree is on the low end of the swearing totem pole is not going to ruin the evening for anyone, except for people who allow their evenings to be ruined by very trivial things. And there's little that can be done to help those people anyway, because they've got boots in their -- well, never mind.
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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