Oliver Anthony & Common Sense from the Commonwealth

Once again, the theater of politics has taken a good thing and turned it into dramatic spectacle for the purpose of self-serving derision.

Have you heard this song, Rich Men North of Richmond, a recent release from Virginia-born-and-bred Oliver Anthony?

I was clued into the song by an article on NPR’s website, in which the author(s) chastised the lyrics for their conspiratorial notes and faintly mocked the working-class vibe emoted by the country twang sung by a hick. Yeah, this sounds like something the G.O.P. would slurp right up.

I had a feeling I knew where this was going.


Here in the States, we’re gearing up for Election Sweeps 2024. If you’re unfortunate enough to still be watching cable television, you are being bombarded by overly tanned faces from around the “Heartland” shouting at you in blue ties and red lipstick about the evil of big cities and and how they’re going to help you take back the country from the elites.

I don’t watch political debates and I don’t follow the storylines very often. I like my fiction with a bit of hope at the end instead of endless hopelessness followed by a punch in the mouth. I don’t watch wrestling or Soap Operas either. Same reason I don’t watch the same movie over and over and I interrupt people when they start to tell me a joke I’ve already heard. I know where this is going.

The political debate forum is a good example of exactly what is wrong with this world - all over the country, wonderful, creative writers are on strike, demanding to be fairly compensated for their talents which the industry power players refuse to do; meanwhile, in the District of Charisma-less, vultures pay handsomely for strings of words that will rile a crowd without actually meandering into something meaningful, damned soulless typists. I won’t refer to today’s purveyors of political speeches as ‘writers’, they do not deserve such noble regard. Their words crawl from the mouths of goblins.

This is why, when something good and honest comes along, they grab it and use it as bait.


Oliver Anthony seems like a regular guy who’s just trying to get by, do better each day, and play some country tunes.

And now here he is, center stage, red hair, white skin, holding those notes ’til he’s blue in the face, singing truth, about how the establishment keeps regular folks down. But when he wishes that politicians “would look out for miners and not just minors on an island somewhere” apparently, there are people whose brains are ruptured in such a way that they hear his plea to help the working man (oh and to maybe also please stop diddling children on your private islands) and they hear a man taking a political stance, instead of a humanitarian stance. At the very least, they see it as the perfect mask to cover their real faces as they ingratiate themselves into your home. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, hide yo husband… You know where this is going.


So I wake up this morning, sit out on my back porch with my Hillbilly Breakfast, listening to the nearby high school drum-line practice while scrolling the ol’ timeline for interesting news.

That’s when I came across this: (for the sake of brevity, you get the gist in the first four minutes; specifically from the 3-minute mark on)

“I wrote that song about those people.”

“So for them to have to sit there and listen to that, that cracks me up.”


One particular part in the song cracked me up, and of course (OF COURSE) it’s the part that many people find offensive. "Lord we got folks in the street / ain't got nothin to eat / and the obese milkin' welfare / Well, God if you're 5-foot-3 and you're 300 pounds / taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds" 

Now, that sounds a little mean, maybe fatphobic, especially if you're not from America where the obesity epidemic is literally stuffed in your face on the daily.


It’s like that saying goes: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me like a diabetic coma.”

But here's the thing, Anthony didn't say "if you're fat, you shouldn't be eating Fudge Rounds". He's raising a good point, several in fact, about the state of health and welfare in our country.

But that's a complex issue and we don't want to delve into that, do we? Nah, let's just take it on face-value and misinterpret so we can revert to calling names like petty toddlers with wet nappys.

Click the link if you're into reading beautifully written bullshit. 

According to Louis Chilton, Anthony's lyrics are "laughably inelegant, a witless man's clumsy stab at bon mot."

You ever find yourself in that weird place of respecting the talent of another person (or in this case, appreciating their adorable effort) while simultaneously, your body fills with an unquenchable desire to roundhouse kick that person into the Thames? Louis Chilton is the exact type of elitist that Oliver Anthony is singing about. It's stunning how someone with his nose so upturned can fail to catch a whiff of that sweet, sweet irony.

The song has nothing to do with party lines, it's all about Haves and Have Nots and unfortunately, the Haves on both sides are gleeful at the opportunity to prove over and over again their glaring lack of the real-world experience required to understand the message of those who Have Not.

Weird, isn't it, how a man can sing about how broken the system is and a bunch of people miss the entire point? Boy-golly, it sure is a wonder why nothing gets fixed in this country.

I feel like I can see where this is going...

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