“Do You Realize that Oklahoma Is Home to People Other than Toby Keith and Garth Brooks??”

Suck it, Oral Roberts.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives doesn’t have a very impressive track record when it comes to progressive legislation, so it should come as no surprise that they don’t have very good taste in music either. Senate Joint Resolution 24, which would have immortalized the Flaming Lips transcendent Yoshimi cut “Do You Realize??” as the state’s official rock song, was defeated in the House yesterday by a vote of 48 to 39.

Mike Reynolds (R-OKC) took issue with the band’s “reputation for obscene language,” while rep. Corey Holland’s delicate sensibilities were offended by Michael Ivins’ pinko wardrobe.  On a related note, neither Holland nor Reynolds have ever heard rock music.

Luckily, Oklahoma governer Brad Henry (D) plans to sign an executive order next Tuesday honoring the will of his constituents, who voted overwhelmingly for the Lips in an online poll, and officially recognize that everyone you know someday will die:

“The music of the Flaming Lips has earned Grammys, glowing critical acclaim and fans all over the world,” the governor said. “A truly iconic rock n’ roll band, they are proud ambassadors of their home state.

“They were clearly the people’s choice, and I intend to honor that vote.”

[Courtesy of NewsOK.com]

I was born and raised in Oklahoma and, while it may seem insignificant, I truly feel a sense of real victory from a executive measure like this. It’s high time that Oklahoma rightly honor its significant creative voices. Oklahomans — and residents of the South, in general — have a hard enough time battling the stereotype that we’re know-nothing, uncultured rednecks with disdain for the “faggier” elements of society (i.e. the Arts).

The truth is that Oklahoma has given to the world the likes of Ralph Ellison, Woody Guthrie, N. Scott Momaday, Bill Moyers, and — of course — The Lips. These people have respectively made the world a better, stranger and more creative place; we should celebrate that.  Yet, if you were to walk the halls of any given public school during Oklahoma History Month, you’d think the state produced nothing but country singers and cowboys.

While most fellow Okies might not give the proper respect to the merits of Momaday’s House Made of Dawn or Ellison’s Invisible Man as opposed to, say, the staggering idiocy of Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” I for one am thrilled to think that symbolic measures are being taken to remind us all that artistry isn’t dead in the South.

Jezy

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5 responses to ““Do You Realize that Oklahoma Is Home to People Other than Toby Keith and Garth Brooks??”

  1. As I said in my email thanking Gov. Henry, they are a rock band, not a church choir.

    I’d love to know how much time they spent debating this. On second hand, maybe not.

  2. Kudos to Governor Henry for approving the song anyway.

    11,000 Oklahomans chose the song, and they should not have been punished because one perpetual adolescent (in this case, one of the band members) wore a symbol of horrific genocide and systemic destruction on his T-shirt as an ironically-hip fashion statement.

    I’d also like to bring some clear-eyed rationality to the discussion.

    I’m from Oklahoma, and I’d just ask a fairly simple question: Can we agree that it’s high time to stop treating communist symbols as cute? Can we knock it off with the “communism chic” schtick?

    The hammer and sickle represents a boot stomping on collective humanity’s face. It represents Pitesti Prison, the disappearance of tank man in Tiananmen Square, the gulag archipelago, the torture of innocent Buddhist monks and nuns in Tibet, those summarily executed by Che Guevera in Cuba, the “Cultural Revolution” in China, the killing fields in Cambodia … and on and on and on.

    Tens of millions of innocents died at the hand of dehumanizing communist regimes (interestingly, the 20th century’s decades of mayhem were predicted by the syphilitic Nietzsche, who wrote of “brotherhoods with the aim of the robbery and exploitation of the non-brothers” that would follow his vision of the future).

    The hammer and sickle is a hateful symbol. Let’s have the moral courage to call it what it is. It should be every bit as repulsive to Americans as as a Confederate flag … or a Nazi swastika.

    That said, I’m glad the Lips’ song is the new official state rock song of Oklahoma! It’s a great song!

  3. “Oklahomans — and residents of the South, in general — have a hard enough time battling the stereotype that we’re know-nothing, uncultured rednecks with disdain for the “faggier” elements of society (i.e. the Arts).”

    *Round of applause*

    Let’s all go drink Natty Light and play grab-ass football.

  4. Great writeup… This was definitely a significant victory for the Oklahoma art community.

    Perhaps someday we will see Bill Moyer’s name on a water tower instead of Toby Keith’s.

  5. -really- awesome.

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