Beyoncé Knowles and her husband, Shawn Corey Carter, also known as Jay-Z, are billionaires, according to Forbes. Michael Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, Fox News host, and possible GOP presidential candidate, has a net worth of about $5 million.
And this is why the faux cultural battle over the Beyoncé’s bouncy derrière is a joke, a buffoon’s errand in the age of the overstatement. It’s not a fight between the mighty and the powerless, the voice of privilege and status quo against the counter-culture. To even cast it as such would be absurd. In time, the huff and puff chatter around this subject will eventually signify nothing.
That’s not saying what’s going on should be ignored. Indeed, it is worth exploring because it follows a decades old practice of the also-ran politician fusing the ad hominem and the absurd to create media attention, gain public traction and boost fundraising.
Huckabee has no new ideas, so why not strike at an icon of pop culture to play to the shrieking “What about the children?” crowd. Beyoncé, he says and writes, sprays the airwaves with trashy lyrics and videos that will lead young women to the stripper pole. He even managed to use the word “pimp,” in describing Jay-Z’s role—of course, not realizing that Beyoncé’s career was soaring long before he put a ring on her finger.
Huckabee is playing to a base that nod their heads in agreement while trying to convince themselves that the songs of their youth—“Cat Scratch Fever” and “My Sweet Cherry Pie” for example—were just homegrown slices of pure Americana goodness. Even their parents know that Pat Boone version of “Tutti Frutti” only made them crave Little Richard. Good booty, indeed.
I loved “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Stranglehold,” and I saw Ted Nugent live in St. Louis in 1980. I was fourteen, and I went with another fourteen-year old, and we weren’t the only teens there, thus blunting the absurd assertion by Huckabee on The Daily Show that Nugent’s music was listened to by adults. (By the way, that night I discovered the idea of “contact high.” It was later confirmed at a Funkadelic concert.)
Every generation has its moment where an older politician brings the fire and brimstone and plays cultural Moses. Invariably, he or she looks like a fool. Consider that in 1964, Indiana Governor Matthew Welsh, a popular Democrat, asked Indiana broadcasters to ban the song “Louie, Louis” because he thought it was pornographic.
Huckabee has thrown the Values chip in the game, but small blind is probably going to get swamped by Mitt Romney.
The real insult here is that Huckabee managed to add the First Family to his nonsense. In his book God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy, the Huckster calls out Obama: “Jay-Z and Beyoncé have been to the White House numerous times, but how can it be that the Obamas let Sasha and Malia listen to that trash?”
Oh, he went there. He got up all in the faces of Ma and Pa Obama.
It’s pretty shameful for a man who knows what it’s like to have a child picked apart by the media. Sasha and Malia have been model children, save for rolling their eyes at an eyeroll-worthy turkey-pardoning photo-op. They certainly don’t vibe hoochie.
I might’ve been interested if Huckabee had pointed out that Beyoncé performed for late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his entourage at a private party on the Caribbean island of St. Barts in 2009. After much deserved criticism, she donated the proceeds of the gig to a charity.
But, as the conservative National Review reported online on Jan. 26, Huckabee’s tenure as governor included “long, long record of ethical scrapes (some of which bordered on the kind of activities for which former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was just convicted).”
If you can’t run on your own record, run on a platform of misdirection and the polemics of cultural fear and mythology. It’s that kind of character trait makes for a good horse race, while the barn burns.