Thursday, May 7, 2009

Can We Clone Dolly?

Cologne - Dolly Parton (mp3)
Knockers - The Darkness (mp3)
I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb... and I also know that I'm not blonde.
America should clone Dolly. Not the sheep, mind you. Dolly Parton.

I'm being totally serious. Dolly is, as best I can figure, the greatest Renaissance Man of the modern world. It just so happens that the greatest Renaissance Man of the modern world has a set of 40DD breasts attached to her front side.

Dolly Parton has managed to prove her prowess as a songwriter, a singer, an actress, a business manager, a philanthropist, and perhaps more than all of these, as a marketing genius. And in all of these various endeavors, she has not merely succeeded, but succeeded wildly:
  • 37 awards from BMI for her songwriting;
  • 26 #1 hits;
  • 40 Top 10 Country albums;
  • 42 Grammy nominations;
  • (at least) 2 Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress.
And then there's Dollywood. Dollywood turned what was once Silver Dollar City (a.k.a. struggling) into one of the most successful theme parks in the country, and can be credited as the single most important factor in turning Pigeon Forge from a Gatlinburg afterthought into its own destination for millions of white people every year (and a few dozen minority families). I can mock Pigeon Forge and Dollywood, but I can't deny its success.

She's been in the public eye since 1967 when she jumped on The Porter Wagoner Show, and she's hardly left it a day since.
Some of my dreams are so big they would scare you.
If, as Keyser Sose once said, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist," then Dolly's greatest trick has been to ride the train of fame and fortune and celebrity for four decades without ever getting irreversably slimed by her own publicity.

Perhaps she's done this the good ol' fashioned way, through squeaky-clean livin'. She's been married to the same dude since 1966, and they don't have children, and she constantly leads us to believe they're happy and content with her on the mountaintop and him hidden in a very private life. Hey, whatever. Whatever the woman has or hasn't done in or out of bedrooms with or without other people doesn't make a lick of difference to me (NOTE: My fellow blog partner might disagree with that... see link above). My point is, one way or the other, she's managed to avoid one of the deadliest career-killers in the business while simultaneously throwing her (always-covered) hooters out there for the world to gawk and oogle.

If I had career ambitions in politics, I would encourage Dolly to hold seminars on how to please all the people all the time.

She's one of the wealthiest women in this country, and the undisputed financial Queen of Nashville, but you wouldn't know it with all her stories of humble childhoods and tin cans and rundown cars. She's sung the theme song for a movie about a pre-op transsexual but has made most of her money off the very God-fearin' Bible-thumpin' folks who hear the word "transsexual" and run screaming the other direction. While Dolly has plenty of people who couldn't care less about her, she seems to have a paucity of enemies. And the enemies she does have seem wise enough to know not to make their spats public.
If I see something saggin`, baggin` or dragin`, I`m gonna have it nipped, tucked or sucked.
Seriously, do you realize how rare all of this is?

I grant you, singin' and actin' and Dollywoodin' isn't exactly going to cure cancer or AIDS. Dolly won't go down in history as a true changer of fates like Marie Curie or anything. But the woman has managed to remain on the radar of pop culture consiousness for FORTY YEARS, and she's hit it in almost every way imaginable save for a Pulitzer Prize.

She's got career legs like Elvis and Marilyn and didn't need to die young to do it.

The worst things I've ever heard about Dolly Parton come out of her own mouth. She lovingly romanticizes her extremely impoverished beginnings, but she doesn't lampoon them. She jokes that her entire body is fake at this point. And although no one has accused her of being a World-Class Diva, she's admitted to having her own bad moments. She said as much when making an appearance on Larry King to defend Jessica Simpson (who got all fat and whale-like, we're led to believe).

Let me go back and repeat that. Dolly was out there defending Jessica Simpson. That's pro-bono work if ever I've seen it.

I'm not like a real person. I love being artificial. I think there`s a little magic in the fact that I`m so totally real, but look so artificial at the same time.
One of our culture's stoopidest and most enduring myths is somehow believing we can know people better just because they show up on our TV and movie screens. I betcha fewer than 200 people in the world could describe Dolly Parton's actual hair color, and I suspect fewer than that have seen her without makeup.

But Dolly offers enough of herself, this sense of amazing openness, that we buy what she's selling, metaphorically. We want to believe she's genuine in spite of the costume. She emits this aura that she's beyond being ashamed or scared, that you're a dang fool if you judge that book by its cover (even while she herself seems to think having a very intricately-mined cover is important).

The woman has made a career, a long and amazing career, out of riding every fence in the book yet coming across like she's out there running wild and fancy free. In the end, perhaps Dolly Parton's greatest gift is as a magician.

Mock her. Dislike her. Care nothing for her. But please don't dismiss what she's accomplished as anything less than stupefying.

We should clone her before she's gone forever.

"Cologne" is from Dolly's most recent album, Backwoods Barbie, produced by her own record company. "Knockers" is  from One Way Ticket to Hell... And Back. Both are available on iTunes and Amazon.com. Dolly's album is also available on eMusic.

9 comments:

Hank said...

Funny story: When an international visitor recently came to our school, I ended up spending a couple hours driving him from Atlanta. Somehow, Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge came up in conversation and I mentioned that it was the home of Dolly Parton. His response..."Yes I know of her...small feet - nothing grows in the shade."

Now, I grew up telling/hearing that old joke in middle school, but it was impressive to me that people are telling Dolly Parton jokes in other countries.

Daisy said...

I am so glad you are giving props to Dolly! I am no fan of Pigeon Forge, but I do have a special place in my heart for Dolly. I may never forgive Whitney for shamelessly stealing (and massacring)Dolly's song for the bodyguard!

Hank said...

I'm pretty sure Dolly doesn't mind the go-zillion dollars that Whitney made for her.

The Big Nichols said...

And let us not for get that she is currently taking over Craker Barrel and has a signature series pink rocking chair that you can bring home after you stuff your face with cornbread muffins and turnip greens. Umm...anyone got lunch plans?

Bob said...

Plus, she does a kickin' Stairway To Heaven!

troutking said...

I don't mind her, but I just can't get into her music. It's a little sentimental for me, I guess.

I do like Dolly Madison treats, though. They always remind me of Charlie Brown TV specials.

Aryl W said...

Excellent points all. Growing up, I assumed the extent of Dolly Parton was 9 to 5 & big boobs. I was amazed to find that she was such an amazing artist (as you so eloquently put it)& I've enjoyed discovering more & more of her music over the years. It's a shame that her amazing talents are dismissed because she's a country singer.

And as Bob says, search out her cover of Stairway to Heaven. If someone heard that song without knowing the original, I guarantee it would be a staple of the local church choir.

Keep up the good work

Daisy said...

Thanks for mentioning Dolly's rendition of Stairway to Heaven. I'd never heard it before, but I have heard that song in church twice. Once at a funeral and once at wedding.


Thanks also for the mention of Cracker Barrel and Dolly Madion treats...something tells me it is not going to be a good weight watchers day!

Tockstar said...

I LOVE Dolly! Have you heard the cover of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" that she does with Ladysmith Black Mambazo? I mean, does it get cooler than that? The world is better simply because that cover exists.

Also, have you heard about her Imagination Library? Every preschool-age child in Tennessee can get a free book from her every month - you just have to sign up for it.

Big Nichols, I will now crave Cracker Barrel until I just give in and go. Thanks??