"...He said 'fuck this and fuck that'
And this guy's the diplomat"
"...Stares into the glare of them TV lights."
"...He sang, 'I'll die before I quit'
And this guy's the limit
Stares into the queer of the firefight
It can't be Nashville every night."
The Hip's anti-anthem against those who Gord viewed as blind and
unquestioning champions of the White House line. During 2004 interviews, Downie
explained that the song stood opposed to the "Toby Keith's of the world" who
ignored rational evidence and impartial thought and allowed misguided
nationalism to convince them that George W. Bush was infallible.
Keith, a country music star, was a very vocal supporter of the Bush administrations response to 9/11.
He famously wrote a polemic, if not jingoistic, song in favour of strong military
action. The song was rooted more in American superiority than pride. Gord
explained that it wasn't so much Keith's anger, which was understandable in
light of the circumstances, but rather his 'we're better than them, let's kill
'em all' rhetoric which seemed worthy of ridicule. As we know from the Courage
exhibit and the Museum Intro, Gord is no fan of divisive nationalism.
The song cleverly employs the image of the singer being literally and
figuratively blinded by the lights.
"...And this guy's the autodidact"
More fun with dictionary.com:
An autodidact is someone who is self taught. "To me this Harvard graduate
seemed strangely uneducated (what on earth had they taught him there?), sounding
like one of those autodidacts who used to roam around Greenwich Village
spouting... conspiratorial theories."
Hip Head Tom Spychalski adds this:
"You are missing one poignant fact on “It Can’t be Nashville Every Night” by The Hip. The summer before the release of Phantom Power, The Hip were booked as the headliner at the summer concert series, “Dancin” in the District” near the Cumberland River in Nashville, TN. Several country acts opened for them. It was 9pm when The Hip took the stage. They played two songs, and abruptly walked off, or should I say were “booed” off the stage. The first line “F-this, F-that” was actually an audience member up front, an obvious country music fan, who was taken aback by the rhythms of our beloved Hip. His “rednecked-dom” kicked in and they say the rest is history. They vowed never to play a concert in Music City again – and haven’t."
And then comes the counter argument from Fancy Behme:
"I just read the meaning behind "It can't be Nashville Every Night" and I wanted to comment on the last part where a fellow Hip Head spoke of "The Dancin' in the District" concert series. He claims that the Hip played 2 songs and abruptly walked off stage or were "booed" of stage.
This is false. I was there, just like every show they've played in Nashville or the Southeast. They played a set. I stopped at the bus to say "hi"and tell the boys good job. I'm not sure why he'd say this, as it could paint Southerners in an unaccepting light. I'm Southern through and through. I had the extreme privilege of finding Gord and the boys in 1990, hooked from the second it fell on my ears. My ABSOLUTE favourite. I'm not looking to stir up anything, I just wanted the truth to be known."
--"Enemies, a Love Story," "New York Times,
February 21, 1999"