Quote of the Day

I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. For those of you who like country music, denigrate means ‘put down’.

–Bob Newhart

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

31 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. Does this mean that you voted for Candice over Kree in the final episode of “American Idol”?

  2. denigrate careful, especially for someone of Hispanic-African background.. It reminds me of the past controversies surrounding the use of the word niggardly .

      1. One might think that *denigrate* would be problematic because of its etymology, but rarely does anybody object to its use on those grounds the way they do with *niggardly*.

        Nor to any of the countless uses of *black* and its synonyms with a negative connotation: to blacken somebody’s reputation, a black mark, a black day in the nation’s history, black magic, black market, etc.

        I think it’s the phonetics of the etymologically unrelated *niggardly* that cause such controversy.

  3. I’m all for denigrating those who like country music, but joking about euthanizing them seems like taking it too far.

      1. No, we should send them to a farm. Where they can run and play to their heart’s content.

  4. I wish I could trouble myself to care about Bob Newhart’s musical judgement, but honestly I’ve seen or heard nothing in my lifetime that makes his opinion on this matter relevant. And this sort, yuk, yuk, I’m smart and you’re a dumbass bumpkin crap is a longstanding trope that’s waaaaay overplayed. And a tad too smug. I say this as someone who has long enjoyed Newhart’s humor. With this bit it’s too bad in attempting to put down others as dumb he relies on a gambit that’s, well, dumb.

    I’m sure it probably goes without saying that anyone who interprets this response as evidence of my love of the genre would be quite correct in their assessment.

      1. Well my friend, I have at times been accused of being far too literal. This is a personal tic I am more than willing to confess. But I must claim lack of memory of the medical procedure. Must have been pretty good anesthesia, I’m thinking…

    1. Actually, I’m interpreting your response as evidence of your insecurity about your love of the genre.

  5. Ever since the dog got drunk and died and mama went to prison
    There ain’t nothin’ round this farm that’s been the same
    And you know when mom broke out last Christmas
    She drove the goddamn getaway laundry truck right into a train

  6. This post and many of the comments are offensive and divisive. If you don’t know why, you should think about it for a minute.

    1. Good point. Replace “country music” with “the blues” and see how it sounds. btw, Hank Williams era country music was extremely bluesy.

        1. Y’know, copying the most annoying habits of the liberal PC crowd isn’t an effective tactic. The liberals who’ve been on the receiving end from their more zealous brethren have nothing but contempt for it. And it’s especially galling when it isn’t sincere, which is usually the case when conservatives complain about liberal hypocrisy.

        2. The most intelligent comment so far is “Did it hurt when the doctors surgically removed your sense of humor?” Look, no individual has been insulted, nor any racial, ethnic, or national group. People have made fun of a genre of music. Big deal. If you enjoy that music, go on enjoying it and take the humor in the spirit in which it is meant. There is no need to get defensive; you can feel bad for the people who are missing out on the pleasure that you enjoy.

          1. I understand having a sense of humor about these things, and I would if I heard this in a bar or something. However, this is a political blog that is mostly left leaning. This post smugly implies that if you are working class and live in middle America, then you are not one of us. This is what I meant by divisive. As much as I love Jon Stewart, he often treads this path too. I would prefer that people were policy oriented voters rather than identity voters, and stuff like this doesn’t help the cause.

          2. Bob writes: This post smugly implies that if you are working class and live in middle America, then you are not one of us.

            That comment smugly implies that if you are working class, live in middle America, and don’t care for country music, then you are not one of us.

          3. @Bob and Ebenezer: Good God, the assumptions people make! I grew up playing a dulcimer in West Virginia, rarely missed an episode of Hee-Haw, have had much fun at square dances and made the holy pilgrimage to the Grand Ole Opry. That doesn’t stop me from laughing at the great Bob Newhart (A product of middle America BTW), even when the joke is on people like me. It’s up to you of course, but you might consider dialing back the sanctimony a bit.

          4. Keith,
            I tell Jew jokes to select audiences–who all know I’m Jewish. My wife says all kinds of unfavorable things about black people–generally to other black people. The backstory makes a big difference. So does the audience.
            Good humor (and that joke was funny!) is nasty corrosive stuff. Corrosives are useful substances–sulfuric acid is a great reagent for many purposes. But you don’t brush your teeth with it.

          5. Ebenezer,

            Your assumption that I was putting people down was based on your stereotyping of me (I blog here, hence I am a coastal elitist who sips sherry all day while maligning people in flyover country). But when you find out that you have put me in a box in which I do not belong, you don’t apologize, rather you seem to imply it is my responsibility to pre-emptively ensure that I am not stereotyped by providing relevant context whenever I write something.

            Alternative approach: Stop stereotyping other people in your quest to reduce stereotyping, and take responsibility when you pigenonhole others unfairly rather than blaming them for not providing context,

          6. Keith,
            Quite right–I was stereotyping you as a “generic academic.” Did I have a choice? I only know you by your writing.

            We stereotype all the time. It’s called “limited information” and “limited rationality.” When I’m driving and see a 90-year-old looking driver, I drive more defensively, even though I know that my wife’s uncle is 92 years old and is still good behind the wheel. Am I being irrational? Acting wrongly?

            “Stereotype” is a word akin to “discriminate”–a Bad Thing that all of us happen to do all the time, usually for perfectly good reasons. True, one should avoid stereotyping on invalid or pernicious characteristics. (“Invalid” and “pernicious” are separate classes, which pose separate problems.) But stereotyping is how we all navigate through life. Some people are insensitive to the implications of the stereotypes they create. It’s not a moral defect, but such people live in a world of unhappy social surprises.

          7. Well, if stereotyping is something that can’t be helped, why did you chide me upthread for allegedly doing it?

  7. I am reminded of the (possibly apocrophyal) Buddy Rich story in which, as he was being wheeled into the emergency room after having a heart attack, a nurse asked him if he was allergic to anything, and he replied, “Only country music.”

    (Which, as a joke, is more about the teller, isn’t it?)

  8. The joke is not about country music or those who tolerate it; the joke is about “not meaning to denigrate.”

  9. The best thing about the culture war is the more you let the Red Team talk, the more they discredit themselves. Kind of like Al Qaeda . . .

    1. CharleyC: This comment interests me, mostly because I don’t understand it. Who’s the Red Team ‘talker’ in this thread? Or am I misreading?

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