Marijuana is marketing when it’s employed in music, plain and simple. There is nothing more conformist that you can do in 2017 than use marijuana to help market your music. It is the great American sedative. And I don’t care if you’re Kacey Musgraves or Margo Price making marijuana posts on your Instagram account, or some stoner doom metal group with a big pot leaf as a stage backdrop. It’s just not cool anymore. And if you need any more evidence of this assessment, just get a load of this new Toby Keith song.
Toby Keith has made a career out of being uncool, and making cool things uncool by his mere presence. And now he’s done it with marijuana. Not that this is Toby Keith’s first dalliance with the subject matter, or with Willie Nelson as a principal character. Keith’s 2003 song “Weed With Willie” off the godawful Shock’N Y’all album was about taking a tiny taste of Willie’s stash and ending up in a fetal position on the floor of Honeysuckle Rose. Toby Keith wanted to be cool by singing about weed, but he didn’t want to upset his constituency by admitting he actually enjoyed it.
Even in this new account, Toby Keith and crew seem to love to sing about marijuana, but are too pussy to partake in it in a public setting. They just want to get your attention by broaching the subject matter, and then turn the cameras on Willie to actually smoke it. That’s because they think their conservative fans will raise a stink if they go too far. But like Jamey Johnson knew, churchies have some of the best smoke. They’re just not supposed to speak about it.
“Wacky Tobaccy” as a song has got nothing. The fact that it’s supposed to be a stupid song doesn’t let it off the hook for being a stupid song. And there’s nothing really even funny about it, even if you’re stoned. There’s been rumors of a Toby Keith side project coming down the pike for a while now, with the premise being songs that the band would sing on the bus after getting off stage or rolling down the road. From what I understood, it wasn’t supposed to be for radio necessarily, just more of a pause between studio projects. This song and video would certainly fit that profile. However with the video going viral already, and visions of “Red Solo Cup” and the resurgence it caused in Keith’s career dancing in their heads, either by accident or brilliant scheme, “Wacky Tobaccy” may be the vehicle to ensure Toby Keith won’t just go the hell away for now another few more years.
We can’t come together on anything these days, but apparently Willie Nelson and Toby Keith can come together on pot. We can also all come together to concur that this song sucks. “Wacky Tobaccy” isn’t just uncool, it’s outdated. It’s built off of some 90’s perspective of what dumbass stoners act like, which is getting ripped and then mowing down pizza and cheese puffs. Is this the stereotype marijuana advocacy groups want portrayed about marijuana users? This song would have been relevant back when Toby Keith was, which is during the Bush Administration.
And I’m getting sick and tired of people turning Willie Nelson into a pot punchline at every turn. They’re making a country icon into the Ronald McDonald of pot, putting his mug on the front of every marijuana product possible. And don’t give me any lines about how Willie’s Reserve is against Big Marijuana. They’re against Big Marijuana eating into their market share and the ridiculous prices Willie’s marijuana apparatus is charging for their boutique products.
Trust me folks, Willie Nelson isn’t in the back of the bus sucking down one joint after another these days, he’s in the back of the bus sucking on oxygen tanks because his lungs are so shot from decades of heavy marijuana use, while he’s nearly passing out on stage and forgetting where he is because his brain can’t get enough oxygen on a nightly basis.
Yes, smoking pot doesn’t pose even close to the health risks smoking cigarettes do, and marijuana can have incredible health benefits for certain ailments. This is all well established, so don’t pot proselytize to me. But it doesn’t take away the fact that it’s smoke in the lungs and can cause harmful side effects, something Willie has said himself in the past. Of course, the Willie Nelson camp is trying to hide that fact from you, and the fact that Willie’s mere months from his lungs giving out, just like Merle Haggard’s did, because nobody wants to know that The Marlboro Man died of lung cancer. In fact if it was Cancer, you could blame cigarettes. But it’s not, so you can’t.
In Willie Nelson’s autobiography with Bud Shrake, the singer proclaimed, “There’ been a lot of talk about marijuana being harmless, bit I think it’s a lot more dangerous to the lungs than most dope smokers realize. Especially the strong marijuana that’s around these days. Each year it seems to get a little stronger. The wise course is to not abuse it. Your lungs are not really supposed to breathe anything but oxygen—pure, fresh air.”
Meanwhile at Willie Nelson concerts, they’re selling basic cotton T-shirts for $60. Scared that the gravy train will run out as soon as Willie dies, his camp is doing everything they can to stash money at the expense of Willie’s legacy, including stamping his mug on any marijuana product they can get their hands on. It’s also worth pointing out that Willie and Toby Keith share the same publicist and other management. Why do you think the two have been so buddy buddy over the years? It’s certainly not common social interests. Willie’s too much of a kind soul to understand all the adverse stuff that’s going on around him.
Marijuana should be made legal across all the 50 states, and immediately. Nonviolent marijuana offenders in the lockup should be let free and pardoned. America’s drug policies have made a killing field out of South America by turning an otherwise harmless plant into forbidden fruit. But marijuana use has already been normalized, and for years now. You’re a weirdo and a subvert if you don’t smoke pot these days. Marijuana use is just another symptom of America’s insatiable appetite to consume. Soon enough marijuana will be legal all across the land as it should be, despite the hiccup certain elements of the Trump Administration may pose, and then you’ll pray for the days when it was illegal and was easier to get, cheaper, and in better strains.
“Wacky Tobaccy” doesn’t do anything to advocate for pot, it sets it back by presenting a negative stereotype, and uses it for marketing to prop up a dwindling pop star and an ailing country legend who’s letting money mongrels walk over him due to his kind heart and humility. Really it’s just a horrible example of how gullible the American consumer is, and frankly the whole thing just makes me sick.