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Branded Man

The conservative New York magazine City Journal recently published an article by Hunter Husock claiming that Hollywood's bias against conservatism would prevent it from ever giving Merle Haggard the same star treatment it gave Johnny Cash in last year's Walk the Line ("Why Hollywood Loves Johnny Cash--and Not Merle Haggard," January 13, 2006). It's an interesting theory, but it doesn't hold water, especially since the Hag is not exactly what you'd call a Republican. Sure, he wrote "Okie from Muskogee," but the Hag claims it was written as a spoof and once said of the famous "we don’t smoke marijuana" line--"Muskogee is the only place I don't smoke it." And while he's not the "Man in Black," Haggard certainly hasn't shied away from songs of social protest, touching on issues like the death penalty ("Sing Me Back Home"), poverty ("Hungry Eyes") and war ("That's the News") while expressing opinions that have probably made a few of his rich Republican friends (like the Reagans and the Bushes) cringe. So whether or not the Hag's story makes it to the silver screen, don't call him right (or left) wing, because--like his late friend Johnny--he's too real to be that simple. See the Hag Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Southern Junction, 5574 Highway 276 in Rockwall. Tickets are $22 to $49.50. Call 972-771-2418 or visit
Wed., March 8, 9 p.m.


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