How I Cope with Egomaniacal Entertainers
Four Superstars that Never Lose
I appreciate Will Smith, T.G. Sheppard, Kenny Rogers and Conway Twitty on a personal level, but when it comes to entertainment, I can't help but get a little nauseated at the redundant shallowness of their crafts. Will Smith, T.G. Sheppard, Kenny Rogers and Conway Twitty never lose!
By contrast, I'd like to point out that even John "The Duke" Wayne and Elvis "The King" Presley died in one of their movies.
Author's note: As of this writing, August 2020, both Conway and Rogers are deceased, and Sheppard has long since "retired" and is basking in facelifts and theaters in Branson, Missouri, to further build up his image, so he certainly doesn't know what losing means.
Will Smith went from a smart-alec type of character in Fresh Prince of Bel Air to an always successful string of roles in Hancock, the drunken, destructive superhero. Oh, yeah, the realistic Wild, Wild, West with the giant walking spider--you got it-- Smith got into a few mild fistfights, but (thanks to a clever contract clause?), Smith never lost in The Wild, Wild, West.
Whenever Smith stars in a movie deal, it seems he always has to be winning.
T.G. Sheppard never loses in a song, never. He's always the cowboy on a white horse that rides into the sunset after ravishing all the women, married and single, in a particular town. Sickening.
I cannot say with a clear conscience that real life is fun all the time. It's not. Events happen--diseases, war, rape, drugs, killer storms, and phenomena that sometimes overshadow the rose-colored glasses we all love to wear. Sheppard's songs, however, like Rogers and Twitty, make the singer into a hero. Every time.
I grew up with this music. The last time I heard this song, I was too young to understand the picture it was painting. Now that I'm in my 40's, I find it disgusting, as I do most forms of secular music and the worldview it portrays.— Patriot36, a YouTube Commenter about "War is Hell (On the Homefront Too)"
Take his song, "War Is Hell (On the Homefront Too)," where Sheppard sings as the young boy whom a very attractive and amorous married woman, whose husband is off in the war fighting for the country (nice patriotic touch), falls head-over-heels for and takes him to bed to teach him about "life," a protectively mild term for American audiences. Sheppard could have used the word "sex," but doesn't to lessen the possibility of judgment on the boy-turned-man who always wins the woman.
"Do You Want to Go To Heaven" is another self-aggrandizement effort by Sheppard where he was about to be baptized somewhere in a country stream, saw a Betsy Lou Lou, and his body began to ache for her and, suddenly, no baptism!
As always, Sheppard comes out the winner.
Rogers and Twitty
In light of the fact these gentlemen are now decease, I must lighten the load from my original critiques of them. This does not mean I have changed my position about the messages conveyed in their entertainment muse.
Kenny Rogers' Songs and Movies
"She Believes in Me" (song lyrics by Engelbert Humperdinck, 1978). The "me" in the title speaks for itself.
"Coward of the County" (song lyrics by Bowling & Wheeler, 2018, and movie, directed by Dick Lowry, 1981). The lyric "I always knew they were reading Tommy wrong," leads me to wonder why someone else couldn't have stepped in for his nephew Tommy? In a barroom scene, Rogers knocks down most of Tommy's adversaries, thus highlighting Rogers' display of his own strength and invincibility.
From Pop Music to Country
When Rogers' First Edition band went broke, he jumped to Country Music and teamed with Dottie West as to get a new foothold in the music scene. I had the misfortune of seeing West and Rogers in concert at the Von Braun Civic Center, Huntsville, Alabama in the mid-70s. Folks, it was a one-man circus. Rogers acted like he was the star of the concert, only to push Dottie West, a much-more talented singer, into the backseat.
Conway Twitty's Songs
In every song that Twitty ever released. He was either the all-night love god, the man among men, or the cheating married man who convinced his poor, gullible wife to take him back. In "Don't Take It Away" (1985), his original lyric went, "Hoh-NEE, that woo-man, didn't me-EEN a thang to me." How can one be more redneck and still be a hero in a song?
"Tight Fittin' Jeans" (1981) was probably the most asinine song ever released in the Country or Pop market. In the song, Twitty, of course, unable to sing or write in the second or third person, had himself being the object of a lonesome, wealthy, married woman, who accidentally came into the bar where Conway's super-lover character just happened to be there with his beer buddies. Lo and behold without an introduction (talk about smoked mirrors and saying goodbye to honesty), she falls for this love master, and he invites her to have a beer in the lyric, "I know you'a used to havin' champagne, but can I buy yew a bee-ah?" Fairytale. I would have been pulling for the wicked giant if Conway had ever ventured into children's books. To this day, Twitty's hillbilly twang saying he-ah for here, hoht for heart and the-ah for there grates my Southern ears. Guess it sounded smooth and sultry to his middle-aged women audiences with husbands who worked like dogs, right?
These two, Rogers and Twitty, chose to hide behind the gullibility of the American record consumer. Every woman aged between 24 and 44 worshipped Twitty and Rogers.
As a Born Loser
I am weary of these entertainers (there are more on television and screen) who, for some occult reason, never die and always win. This fact alone is why I never bought any Kenny Rogers, Conway Twitty, or T.G. Sheppard records, tapes or CDs--and don't plan to in the future.
The same applies to all of Will Smith's movies. I don't own any of his blockbuster hits. And never will. In fact, when one of Smith's "Me Important" movies just happen to come on my television, I switch to the weather or Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) in Irondale, Alabama. This network is owned and operated by The Catholic Church. I get to see and learn about how to cope with egomaniacal entertainers in the effort to live a quiet, contented, peaceful life.
This article, originally published in 2011, was graciously updated and reformatted by my friend Marie Flint for August 2020 publication. Thank you, Marie.
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© 2011 Kenneth Avery