I am “too gay,” they say, to be a country music fan. The lingering stereotype of a Confederate flag-waving, gun-toting, NASCAR-loving dude does not exactly describe me. No matter how much I argue that the stereotype is not entirely true, they cannot seem to get past it.
In the midst of my uphill battle for acceptance, aided by Garth Brooks, Kathy Mattea and Chely Wright among others, along come the seemingly anti-gay and violence-laden tweets of Blake Shelton. Thanks, Blake, for confirming that the world of country music is intended only for those with pea-sized brains and very large… trucks. Thanks, too, for ruining “The Voice,” my new favorite show. Your lukewarm apology is not enough for me and I will be pulling for Cee Lo Green.
I went to Chely Wright’s website to see if she had any comment on Shelton’s tweet. Wright, who came out as a lesbian about a year ago, has been very active since as a spokesperson for GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) and opening Kansas City’s first LGBT center. She had no comment on Blake, but she had posted a letter in April bemoaning the lack of support from fellow country musicians:
“I knew when I decided to come out that I would be challenged with opposition, particularly from the cross section of people in the world who knew me best — the country music industry and country music fans. While I have had some support from people from my industry, it’s been largely through private communication — only a few people have had the inclination to publicly vocalize their support for me.”
Ironically, on May 7, Wright tweeted the following about Shelton’s apology:
“Hey, if we all agree that words we use as public figures matter — then let’s not question @blakeshelton’s sincerity. He stated his position.”
Who knows why she made this statement, but I doubt that one of the few private supportive communications Wright received was from Shelton. He has a history of making stupid comments when it comes to the gays.
When Wright came out he said he didn’t care because “she is hot” and immediately proclaimed himself a lesbian. At the CMA Awards last month he made a stupid Brokeback Mountain joke directed at Jake Gyllenhaal.
Taken together all of these comments can easily be interpreted as those of a big redneck homophobe. The redneck part is true, but based on other information about Shelton, and using his numerous tweets as further evidence, I think his biggest problem is sheer stupidity fueled by alcohol. Hardly a tweet goes by that is not full of ridiculous references to booze.
If Shelton isn’t careful we may soon hear of Mel Gibson-like rants from this mild-mannered country boy. His defenders claim he is a harmless, really nice guy with a wicked sense of humor. Even some of Blake’s gay fans have come to his defense.
Personally, I find his humor tasteless, sophomoric and banal. Maybe I am “too gay” to be a country music fan.
Top photo: Country musician Blake Shelton (via Facebook)