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Summertime is commonly accepted as the sweetest three months of the year. Us Midwesterners get the Vitamin D we have been deprived, and rituals like driving with the windows down are revisited.
Summertime means bare feet instead of boots, iced tea instead of hot chocolate and for me; country music instead of anything else. There’s something about the twang and summer that has always fit for me.
However, this summer I found myself switching away from the local country stations quite frequently. Due to a summertime hit that didn’t make me want to “roll the windows down and cruise.”
Tyler Farr’s “Redneck Crazy” started playing regularly on radio stations in my hometown around the same time I moved out of my cement box room in Murray Hall and back home. Instead of singing along I found myself appalled.
The opening lyrics of the song state, “gonna drive like hell through your neighborhood, Park this Silverado on your front lawn, Crank up a little Hank, sit on the hood and drink, I’m about to get my pissed off on.”
The fact that a song encouraging stalking was ever allowed to be played on the radio — let alone be a hit track in 2013 blows my mind. Are people that passive to what they hear on the radio that they sing along without even realizing the meaning of the words? Or is much of America too uneducated or unconcerned about domestic violence against women? Both frighten me.
One in six women and one in 19 men in America have been victims of stalking at some point in their lifetime according to Stalking Resource Center: The National Center for Victims of Crime. But Farr isn’t even close to done with harsh politically incorrect and offensive statements.
He goes on to sing that he’s going to shine his headlights into her bedroom window and throw his empty beer cans at the shadows of her and her guest — assumed to be a new love interest. Who according to Farr, “can’t amount to much by the look of his little truck.”
Feminists, along with other groups continue to work to abolish the stereotypical view of man and masculinity in our society, in which a size of a man’s truck somehow has anything to do with well … anything. When a song like this works against that it makes the feminist’s cause harder and harder.
Young impressionable men get the idea of what it is like to be a “true man” in part from the media. Farr’s song lays out an unacceptable way of treating a woman. Farr’s lyrics also allude to the idea that leaning on drinking to solve your problems is acceptable, if not a necessity.
The chorus of the song ends with the line that, “You know you broke the wrong heart baby, and drove me redneck crazy.” As if it is her fault for being stalked and that women should be careful whom they break up with for it may give the man some kind of right to stalk them, at least as far as Farr is concerned.
In the final verse of the song and his final chance to be well… horrible, Farr really knocks it out of the park singing, “Did you think I’d wish you both the best, endless love and happiness” and “You know that’s just not the kind of man I am, I’m the kind that shows up at your house at 3 a.m.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and say no this woman probably didn’t assume her ex boyfriend would wish her and her new love interest, “endless love and happiness.” However, Farr seems too ignorant to realize the happy medium possible in a break up: warm wishes aren’t necessary for future relationships but that does not make stalking acceptable.
Farr says “the kind of man he is” right at the end of the song: admitting to be a stalker. However, he’s not ashamed of it: he brags about it. As if sitting in this woman’s lawn when he is not invited shows his love. This unwanted, obsessive behavior toward her is stalking, not love.
As Americans, we clearly need more education and awareness about domestic violence issues like stalking. Switching the radio station doesn’t make this song go away and it’s a scary reminder that maybe we haven’t come as far as we would like to hope as feminists.