The Uses and Misuses of Dolly

 

The headline screams: Dolly Parton Addresses Transgender Rights in Tennessee: ‘We Are All God’s Children.’ OK, how did she address “transgender rights?”

“Well, what I always say, ‘I just want everybody to be treated good,'” she began. “I try not to get into the politics of everything. I try to get into the human element of it.”

Parton then shared that she has “some of everybody in my own immediate family and in my circle of employees. I’ve got transgender people. I’ve got gays. I’ve got lesbians. I’ve got drunks. I’ve got drug addicts — all within my own family. I know and love them all, and I do not judge.”

The 77-year-old concluded, “I just see how broken-hearted they get over certain things and I know how real they are. I know how important this is to them. That’s who they are. They cannot help that any more than I can help being Dolly Parton, you know, the way people know me. If there’s something to be judged, that is God’s business. But we are all God’s children and how we are is who we are.”

See? Addressed! Really?

The reason they are asking Dolly, revered Tennessee icon, is because Tennessee passed a law prohibiting hormone blockers, castration, and mastectomies for children. And as you can see, she clearly came out in favor of hormone blockers, castration, and mastectomies for children, right? What, no?

So I went to the embedded link in the story where the quotes appeared to see if she had said more but for some reason, they left out how she supports hormone blockers, castration, and mastectomies for children. It was a long-form interview by the Hollywood Reporter about a lot of things in her career and her thoughts on things, including cancel culture.

What are your thoughts on cancel culture?

I think that’s terrible. We all make mistakes. We don’t all get caught at it. But also when somebody makes a mistake, it depends on who they are. That’s what God is there for. Now, I happen to believe in God; I’m a faith-based person, so therefore I am able to see it like that. A lot of people don’t, but even still, everybody deserves a second chance. You deserve to be innocent until you’re proven guilty. Even when you’re proven guilty, if God can forgive you, so can I. If God can forgive you, we all should forgive one another.

…and artificial intelligence…

There’s been so much conversation about artificial intelligence — would you ever consider an AI recording of Elvis singing “I Will Always Love You”?

No. I ain’t going to consider AI on nothing that’s human being. Because I think that is a weapon and a tool that can be scary. I think it’s going to be great for a lot of things, like science and medicine and many, many things, but not to replace human beings. That scares me to death. That’s like the mark of the beast. It’s like you can’t remake a person. I don’t want that. I want to just leave a body of work behind. I think all this stuff can be great, used in the right way. But not to replace voices and writings and not to replace a human being that belongs to God.

So, the article that I linked isolated one question of many: “You live in Tennessee, and earlier this year the state passed a bill that allows for discrimination against trans people. You have a large gay following and you’ve supported the community, but what are your thoughts on this bill?” Note the problem? The bill “discriminates against trans people”? No, it doesn’t. It focuses on hormone blockers, castration, and mastectomies for children. Adults in Tennessee are still free to be castrated or have mastectomies …and to have jobs, get housing, and be served at lunch counters.

Dolly was smart to (1) not correct the error in the question, (2) to reflect the tolerance in Tennessee that truly exists for individuals, and (3) not address “gender affirming care” for children. She is a cultural icon, which is why she was asked the question. Her answer for general tolerance of frail humans — a general theme of her public pronouncements — makes everyone feel that they can consume her products. She is one smart cookie and did not emulate the Disney Disaster in Florida.

Yes, there are those who read into her remarks an embrace of evil: “Woe to those who call evil, good and good, evil… who exchange sweet for bitter and bitter for sweet. Dolly is an insult to Bible-believing Christians.” But I don’t. I see, “judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1 from the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus Christ). Seems like Dolly has taken that to heart.

She could have quoted also quoted Matthew 18. Here is how The Message version translates it:

18 At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?”

2-5 For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.

6-7 “But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don’t have to make it worse—and it’s doomsday to you if you do. [emphasis added]

But Dolly wants to stand apart from the culture wars and just entertain and accept. These days, when a Hollywood (or Nashville) type declines to get into the fight, I mark that up as a “win.”

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  1. Juno Delta Whiskey Coolidge
    Juno Delta Whiskey
    @Cato

    Speaking of incomplete quotes:

    Matthew 7
    1“Do not judge lest you be judged. 2“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3“And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Dolly Parton is a treasure, and she speaks in a Tennessee style and is very smart. You did a fine job of showing just how smart she is. Bless her.

    • #2
  3. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    I would guess that Dolly Parton’s view is shared by most of Americans.  Not everything has to be either embraced or hated.  Good post, Rodin.

    • #3
  4. DrewInWisconsin, Demagogue 🚫 Banned
    DrewInWisconsin, Demagogue
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    I would guess that Dolly Parton’s view is shared by most of Americans. Not everything has to be either embraced or hated. Good post, Rodin.

    And not everyone who refuses to embrace is a “hater.”

     

    • #4
  5. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    DrewInWisconsin, Demagogue (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    I would guess that Dolly Parton’s view is shared by most of Americans. Not everything has to be either embraced or hated. Good post, Rodin.

    And not everyone who refuses to embrace is a “hater.”

    Exactly.  There is a big wide area in between.

    • #5
  6. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    DrewInWisconsin, Demagogue (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    I would guess that Dolly Parton’s view is shared by most of Americans. Not everything has to be either embraced or hated. Good post, Rodin.

    And not everyone who refuses to embrace is a “hater.”

     

    And it’s possible to hate a condition without hating the person.  I hated a relative’s alcoholism, but I didn’t hate that person.

    • #6
  7. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    It remains a mystery why it’s necessary to goad one of the confirmed most gracious people on the planet into a perceived slight or indiscretion. She’s an admired entertainer, always has been,  behaves and presents as an entertainer, always has done, minds her own business and does not intrude on politics or public opinion and never has. And yet it’s necessary to try to provoke controversy and potential embarrassment. Geez Louise. 

    • #7
  8. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    EODmom (View Comment):

    It remains a mystery why it’s necessary to goad one of the confirmed most gracious people on the planet into a perceived slight or indiscretion. She’s an admired entertainer, always has been, behaves and presents as an entertainer, always has done, minds her own business and does not intrude on politics or public opinion and never has. And yet it’s necessary to try to provoke controversy and potential embarrassment. Geez Louise.

    They can’t help it.  When she was still a country singer, various press outlets hounded Taylor Swift to comment on politics because at the time she was an apolitical musician.  Whether Swift today is as woke as she appears or just says what she thinks an entertainer is supposed to say, I have no clue.

    • #8
  9. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    I like Dolly.

    Reminds me of the time Rolling Stone kept pushing Bob Dylan to say good things about Obama, but he didn’t play along. 

    • #9
  10. Steven Galanis Coolidge
    Steven Galanis
    @Steven Galanis

    The 77-year-old concluded

     I did a double take when I caught this phrase. I’m beginning to suspect that her odometer has been tampered with; not that I’m judging!

     

    • #10
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