Showing posts with label dolly parton has no opinions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dolly parton has no opinions. Show all posts

Saturday, June 15, 2024

How To Not Make Waves

A writer for The Federalist got in hot water recently for pointing out that Dolly Parton is non-committal when it comes to social issues. Because, you know, everyone loves Dolly and thus she has no faults. One of the "perks" of getting old is the freedom to speak one's mind, and no bones about it, at age 78, Dolly Parton is old. But the fact is, Parton has never expressed an opinion on anything. That's her modus operandi. One could ask her if she prefers okra or collard greens and she'd say, well, I don't want to make a judgement on that. Is that why she's so beloved? Because she's an empty vessel (or pretends to be)? 

I'm old enough to have witnessed Dolly Parton's rise. I watched her on The Porter Wagoner Show in the sixties when she was the new "girl singer", replacing Norma Jean. She was tiny with a big blonde beehive and other big things, and she was definitely bubbly. And she complemented Wagoner's voice, which is one of her talents ~ she can complement nearly anyone's voice, from Kenny Rogers to The Trio to whomever she's singing with. Porter would let her sing one of her own songs solo each week and they were "good", in that they had an original point of view. Up to that time most female country singers, except Loretta Lynn, of course, recorded songs written by men. Truthfully, though, when she began recording her own albums, most of the songs weren't great. Except for her first couple of releases, she leaned toward sort of folk, with tracks like "Joshua" and the dreaded "Jolene". And she foisted the awful "I Will Always Love You" on the world. I bought her albums and really wanted to like them, but aside from her duet LP's with Porter, which I adored, Dolly was never really my cup of tea.

Then suddenly she went Hollywood and became a gay icon. Fine. Don't care. She made her debut in Nine To Five, which was a cute, funny movie, although actually Jane Fonda's character was the best (and I'm no Fonda fan). It was really the late Dabney Coleman who made that film, but Dolly's performance was "fine", albeit a bit amateurish. She was in all the tabloids, attended all the parties, posed for the cover of Playboy. She may have no opinions, but she's always had plenty of ambition. And naturally she strayed farther and farther from country. "Islands In The Stream" is a Barry Gibbs pop song, but again, her duet partner, Rogers, was a pop singer. 

Maybe it was longevity that turned her into a "legend", but now even people who've never listened to one of her records considers her the queen. One would think after all these accolades that she wouldn't be afraid to speak out about...something. Doesn't she have enough millions by now? (Yes, I know she's a very charitable person. That's not what this post is about.)

I, for one, think she would be admired more, and actually listened to, if she didn't always deflect. At age 78, it's okay to say something.