Saturday, October 02, 2004

All's Wrong With the World

There was a distressing story the other day about how perky country music had become. Instead of dwelling, as it should, on the general misery of our short sojourn in this valley of tears, today's country needs to be constantly uplifting.

A friendly warning: Don't turn on a mainstream country radio station unless you're prepared to be assaulted by uplift, pummeled with positivity. One hit after another will grab you by the collar, demanding that you value your precious, dwindling days on earth, embrace your loved ones while you can and, generally, seize the day.

Sadly academia has provided evidence that seems to confirm this worrying trend: country music no longer saps your will to live.

Jim Gundlach of the University of Alabama said he got hate mail when he first published his study showing that people who listen to country music have higher rates of suicide.

He said it does not hold true any more.

"The country music that we have today is not the same kind of country music that was related to suicide back when we did this," he said. "When we did that, there were songs like D-I-V-O-R-C-E. It was predominantly tears-in-the-beer types of music."

There is no-light at the end of the tunnel, however. Listen to real country music and you should still experience that glorious depressive effect.

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