Maybe I’m making too much of the song “She Had Me at Heads Carolina” by Cole Swindell. It says a lot about contemporary culture in the context of the decline in public schools.
"Heads Carolina, tails California"
Maybe she'd fall for a boy from South Georgia
She's got the bar in the palm of her hand
And she's a '90s country fan like I am
Hey, I got a Chevy, she can flip a quarter
I'd drive her anywhere from here to California
When this song is over, I gotta find her
'Cause she had me at "Heads Carolina"
I’ll have more to say. One thing, though. What does it even mean to have “the bar in the palm of her hand?” Don’t @ me because I know the answer to my question. It’s related to these lines from Shakespeare’s As You Like It:
All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts...
I’ve been thinking about this song for a week or so and haven’t processed it. It is a successful song on a couple of levels. It sets a context for the action of a protagonist removed from broader society. At some level we all want that — a place of our own with comfortable surroundings. Yet what is the challenge in that? What is the social good? What is that context of a bar where people catch up with each other and socialize? How is this not a form of veiled misogyny? I’ll be thinking about this for a while.
In the meantime, here is a link to the YouTube video.