Vox charged legendary sweetheart country star Dolly Parton as possessed with a “dark side” Friday for her refusal to frequently engage in divisive political commentary and for rejecting the progressive-or-bigot binary.
The piece, deceitfully headlined “How Dolly Parton became a secular American saint,” calls into question whether Parton can authentically love a country struggling with divisions in which she refuses to participate.
“Dolly Parton is beloved because she has devoted her career to standing for love. And, usefully, she is willing to be ambiguous about what exactly that love means and how much it includes people that those on different sides of the political aisle consider their enemies,” wrote Vox culture writer Constance Grady. “But in a post-Trump America, is Dolly Parton’s love enough?”
Dolly Parton is in the midst of a career revival that has seen her hailed as a kind of secular country-pop saint. But there’s a dark side to Dolly’s ability to appeal to everyone at all times: https://t.co/HAueodeUja
— Vox (@voxdotcom) February 27, 2021
Grady complains several paragraphs down that Parton possesses a “dark side” for drawing fans of all political stripes, including those deemed deplorable. Grady calls out Parton’s insistence on radical love in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, which Grady falsely claims was by “police shooting.”
“America in the 21st century is no time for a secular pop saint,” Grady wrote. “And there’s a dark side to Dolly’s ability to appeal, Christ-like, to all people at all times.”
Parton was speaking to Billboard in July 2020 as the country was engulfed in protests following the police shooting of George Floyd. The interviewer asked her what she thought of the movement.
‘I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,’ Parton said. ‘And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!’
This kind of deft political quasi-answer is the sort of move Parton’s been pulling her entire career. She expresses empathy rather than solidarity — she understands why people have to make themselves known, even if she’s not showing up at a protest herself — and she affirms that she loves everybody. And since she loves everybody, of course their lives matter.
In other words, Parton’s light defiance to succumb to the left’s militant groupthink on social justice, according to the Vox writer, has made the cross-cultural-loving country star an undercover Dixie villain in disguise. After all, silence is violence, even from the 75-year-old woman who decided to wait and allow other high-risk people to receive doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine she helped fund.
Floyd’s exact cause of death remains unclear, whether it came from a police officer’s knee or a lethal dose of fentanyl found in his system, as court documents show. What is clear, however, is that Floyd wasn’t killed by a “police shooting.”