In anticipation of her new
album Carnival Ride, American Idol winner
Carrie Underwood is doing some press, and what she wants us to
know is that she’s not a dumb
she wants the readers of Seventeen
to know that she’s not a dumb blonde. But I doubt she wants us
to believe she’s one, either.)
Here’s the full quote:
“It bugs me that because I’m a blonde
from Oklahoma who sings country music, people think I’m stupid. People
don’t give us Oklahomans credit. We don’t ride around in covered wagons!
We have indoor plumbing. We’re smart, good people. I won’t say I’m business
savvy, exactly, but I have common sense.”
I think that riding in a covered wagon
is more a symbol of being from the 18th century than it is
of being stupid. And, actually, it kind of bespeaks a bold, adventuresome
nature — being a Western settler was not for the faint of heart!
But while I don’t believe this quote
makes her look like a rocket scientist, I’ve never thought she was stupid.
(Oklahoma, however, has spawned its share of rocket scientists and astronauts,
including Dr. Shannon Lucid and Wiley
Post, the first person to design and wear a space suit.) And I’ve
actually never heard anyone else call her stupid. When I did a computer
search, I didn’t find anyone insulting her, but I did find one unfortunate quote
of hers, “There’s not
ever much of anything going on in my head.”
And I did find one unfortunate picture.
But there are not a lot of people publicly
insulting her out there. But I don’t want to be dismissive of her personal
If it sounds like I’m just mocking her
here, I’m actually not. I like Carrie Underwood. I rooted for her on
American Idol, both because I like country music and because I thought
she was great, and I was glad when she won.
(If she had been responsible for choosing
the single, “Inside Your Heaven,” I would have thought she was stupid,
but I know that’s not her fault.) I have her first album. I listen to
it, and I like it.
Here’s a video from it.
And the empirical evidence is on her
side, too. Per her quote, there are certain smart people in and from
Oklahoma. I may not agree with her politics, but nobody could accuse
Jeane Kirkpatrick of being stupid.
And Alfre Woodard has always seemed bright.
Carrie Underwood was also the salutatorian of her high school class, and
she graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University in
Talequah. So, by purely academic standards, she’s not stupid.
The best evidence that she’s not a dumb
blonde, however, is that she’s navigated and managed her almost instantaneous success with grace and without committing any notable
(Faith Hill, however, has not
handled Carrie Underwood’s success with as much aplomb.)
If I were Carrie Underwood (and yet still
retained my way of looking at the world), and I thought I was being
perceived as a dumb blonde, I would cover Dolly Parton‘s “Dumb Blonde.”
Here’s Dolly singing it in her first
televised performance. I love her.
Or better yet, I’d ask Dolly to do a
duet of it with me. (And now I completely want Carrie Underwood to do
this because it would be so great. I’m going to write someone a letter.)
That way she could acknowledge and dismiss the perception in one fell
Of course, Dolly has courted the dumb
blonde perception as much as she’s disproved it and not everyone can
manage her own PR as adroitly. But I have faith that Carrie has a certain
amount of savvy.
I’ll leave you with Dolly’s best quote
about being a dumb blonde. “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.”