baw + trash or not

As a general rule, I do not care for the Dixie Chicks. Also as a general rule, I do not care for sentimental country songs*-- unless they are so incredibly sentimental that they transcend sentimentality to become...something other. Something, well, transcendent.

So when Pandora played "Travelin' Soldier" for me a few minutes ago, I was a little thrown. I'd heard the song before, but I don't think I ever really listened to the lyrics. There are lots of country songs along the "young lovers promise to keep faithful forever though parted by circumstances and then Death" line, but I can't stand most of them, because they seem to cheapen the strength of real love into just really powerful emotions that happen to be really powerful for a long time. And this is ultimately quite selfish, because it's all about the feelings of the lover rather than commitment to the beloved. So I guess what's so moving about "Travelin' Soldier" is the sense of decision and commitment there, especially on the part of the girl. This is not about feelings, this is about a promise-- perhaps rashly made, but kept nonetheless. G.K. Chesterton, I believe, has an essay titled "In Praise of Rash Vows," or something along those lines, addressing how taking on momentous decisions in that particular way is more than noble.

I think it's interesting how certain kinds of stories can have similar elements and plot but one can be trashy paperback material and the other can be Nobel worthy. I was thinking about this today in relation to Faulkner's Absalom! Absalom!. Iif you look at just the plot details in that book, it reads like either several seasons' worth of script for an afternoon soap or a Greek tragedy. (In case you hadn't gathered, I am of the opinion that AA is on the Greek tragedy level.) Incest, adultery, murder, family skeletons-- it's all there. Mmm. Think I'll pick that up again.

*I care a great deal for certain other kinds of country songs, but more on that at a later time.

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