June 28, 2007
Brad Paisley, “Online”
Why did so many of us in school look the other way when the cool kids were picking on the outcasts? Why did so many of us laugh along with them? For most of those who went along with it, and feel bad thinking about it today, the answer is simple: You laughed so you would fit in, and more importantly, so that they wouldn’t start laughing at you.
But what to make of the leader who does the bullying, the teasing, the mocking? What happens to him when he leaves the schoolyard days behind? Maybe he goes to college, where he’s praised for his musical talents and easily signs a record deal after graduation. His first album goes platinum, and the awards start rolling in. He’s called the great new traditionalist, he’s a hit songwriter, starts selling out shows. He marries a beautiful woman – a Hollywood actress, no less! Every blessing, every beautiful gift God has given to him. And now, he wants to use those gifts to make us laugh.
So what’s funny to him, the big star who has it all? Apparently, a guy his age who doesn’t. Someone who didn’t have his talents encouraged and praised. Maybe he isn’t talented at all. He works in a pizza parlor. He lives at home with his parents. He’s short. Fat. So hopelessly unattractive that he hasn’t gotten to second base. He likes science fiction instead of bass fishing. He has asthma. His only friends are online, and even they wouldn’t like him if they knew what he was really like.
Are you laughing yet? Does the cool kid have you pointing your finger at the loser who’s way too different to be anything but a source of derision?
A singer can be just as cruel with his lyrics as a football jock can be with his fists. For the young Brad Paisley fan that fits the description in this song, his hero’s laughter is going to hurt a hell of a lot. But we don’t have to laugh along with him, because what Brad is doing here isn’t comedy.