Carrie Underwood is not a dumb blonde


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

. (Actually

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

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

public gaffes.

(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.”

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