Image by Steve Jurvetson
Guest post by John Hughes
On June 7, 2023, country music superstar Garth Brooks sat for an interview with Billboard’s executive editor Melinda Newman.1 After discussing his career and personal life controversies, Brooks discussed his new Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky Tonk that will open soon in Nashville. He made a point of mentioning that he would be serving Bud Light.
“And yes, we’re going to serve every brand of beer. We just are. It’s not our decision to make…If you’re an a–hole, there are plenty of other places on lower Broadway.”
Brooks is not a stranger to controversy. He recalled negative publicity for “being a bad husband and man” and would “never have survived that if there had been social media [back then].” He is also blunt about his political leanings. He performed for the inaugurations for Presidents Obama and Biden. He turned down offers to sing at Trump’s inauguration in 2017 due to a ‘scheduling conflict.’ Most vexing is his decision to perform for Biden who has unleashed hellish forces that aim to destroy everything that country music holds dear.
Ironically, he claims to stand for family values. “I want [my new bar] to be the Chick-fil-A of honky-tonks … I want it to be a place you feel safe in, I want it to be a place where you feel like there are manners and people like one another.” However, he seems to miss the entire point of the Bud Light controversy and why it has divided America and sent Bud Light sales plummeting over 20%.
Chick-fil-A has built the most successful and profitable fast-food chain in America on solid family and religious values. They have generally ignored public pressures to comply with progressive social experiments with society. They still respect Sunday as a day to be pious and introspective (they are not open on Sundays). In no way does Garth Brooks share any of the character strengths of Chick-fil-A and shows that he has so little personal virtue that he has to invoke their name to promote his own establishment.
Country music historically has been more dignified and honorable than other modern genres of music. Country songs usually speak of hard work, sacrifice, family values, love, and patriotism – principles sorely missing from the modern music and movie industry. Country singers aren’t typically involved in drugs, shootings, arrests, and obscenity. As one of its biggest stars, it would seem intuitive that he would live and endorse these virtues. Instead, in a Billboard interview publicity stunt, he calls anyone who is concerned with the following an “A**hole”:
Drag queen reading sessions to extreme minors guarded by masked Antifa thugs wearing body armor and sporting AR-15s in Dallas in 2022
Boston policemen arresting a man for the crime of reading the Bible during a June 2023 Gay Pride event.
The father of a girl raped by a ‘gender fluid’ male arrested by the school board for questioning why charges weren’t filed against his daughter’s attacker
2021 DOJ memo describing parents who protest school boards as ‘domestic terrorists’
Cancel culture trying to silence those who question the science of pediatric gender affirmation surgery despite the fact that the science is far from settled. In 2022, Sweden reversed course and discouraged hormone and surgical treatment for minors.
Acceptance of all Americans whether LGTBQ+ or not is a trait of most decent Americans. This is not the issue. Brooks has made no effort to mask his political leanings over the years. However, his public use of a vulgar term to intimidate Americans who dare to question the dangerous narrative being thrust onto America and its families is irresponsible and speaks of poor character. Throwing American values under the bus for a few quick bucks and record sales demonstrates where his true loyalty lies.
Contrary to his claims, the decision to sell Bud Light is actually 100% his decision to make. Selling it at his new bar doesn’t necessarily make him a good or bad person and reasonable people can judge for themselves if they choose to frequent his new establishment. Americans have this right to choose where they take their business. Insulting anyone who dares to pause to make this decision is problematic as it indicates poor judgement and a clear political statement of what Brooks stands for. It shows that he clearly is supportive of the tactics of intimidation being used by the Left, the government, and social media to enforce compliance with the narrative.
Connoisseurs of good country music and beer should reflect on his comments as they decide to enter his bar in Nashville when it opens. A man that shuns virtue in his public and private life is little more than a charlatan in his musical genre.
John Hughes, MD
Veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan