Tag Archives: Southern culture

“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.