January 24, 2008

"I would rather be a cartoon than a genius!"

Says Dolly Parton, reacting to getting named #94 on a list of 100 Greatest Living Geniuses and asserting that "A cartoon character is how I see myself and it's worked for me for 40 years."

And here she talks about fashion (and lets her pop culture genius shine):
"People know I have no taste, no style and no class. If I have any class it's all low.

"Even after I got enough money where I could afford to dress properly, what kind of fun would that be? Hell, they know I look like a w***e. No matter how much I spend or how I dress, I'm still going to look cheap."

75 comments:

Jennifer said...

I love Dolly.

Roger said...

Dolly seems extraordinarily comfortable with herself. God bless her. She's the epitome of that great CW song, "I like my women on the trashy side."

Middle Class Guy said...

I'm still going to look cheap."


She will look cheap all the way to the bank. She is a shining example that there is an American dream.

vnjagvet said...

Trashy, but with a heart of gold, and a very, very pleasant personality.

From the time they were little girls, my daughters called her "Dolly Partner". Somehow that seems to fit.

former law student said...

I came home one day after school and turned on the TV. Flipping channels, I came across the Porter Wagoner show, featuring a woman so improbably endowed I had to laugh. So I agree that Dolly at least started out as a cartoon character.

She and Porter did ads for Dreft on that show -- a laundry detergent that included towels in every box.

Ann Althouse said...

Dreft! Haven't thought about that in years. A towel in with the detergent. Like a prize in the Crackerjacks, but it's just a towel.

Roger said...

And lest I be misunderstood, I do not think Ms. Parton is in the least bit "trashy" in "real life."

Bob said...

I liked Dolly back in the 70's when she wasn't obsessed over her weight and had a ripe, full body to go with the outsized breasts. Probably Ann would call her doughy if she saw a picture of Dolly from that period.

George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George said...

She is fantastically wealthy

Dollywood's Splash Country water adventure park is the product of a wonderful relationship between Herschend Family Entertainment and entertainment legend Dolly Parton where the focus is on Creating Memories Worth Repeating™ for families with unique Smoky Mountain-themed attractions. Herschend Family Entertainment is the operating partner for Dolly Parton in her Dollywood Company, which owns the Dollywood theme park and Dollywood's Splash Country, both in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Additionally, the Dollywood Company is a partner in the Dixie Stampede dinner attractions located in Branson, Missouri; Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Orlando, Florida. Herschend Family Entertainment owns, operates or partners in 24 properties in 10 states.

..from the Dollywood website..

George said...

(With an entertainment empire which includes Dollywood, The Dixie Stampedes, Blue Eye Records, several music publishing companies and several TV and film production companies, Dolly's net worth has been estimated by experts to be between $200 million and $400 million, making her the wealthiest country music entertainer and one of the wealthiest female entertainers in the U.S., surpassed only by Oprah, Mary Tyler Moore and Barbara Streisand.)

PatCA said...

Okay, what's a "w***"?

Bob said...

w***e is "whore."

Danny said...

they know I look like a w***e

Anyone care to fill me in on what a w***e is?

Danny said...

A moment too late, thanks. They really should've kept another letter in there.

goesh said...

'Chesty' always had a way with words and for a country bumpkin, she has piled up the gelt, make no mistake about that....

Irene Done said...

I was going to say that Kelli Pickler is the poor man's Dolly Parton but I realized that Dolly Parton is the poor man's Dolly Parton.

Freder Frederson said...

See Ann, this is the difference between a true American artist and the shclock that is American Idol.

Dolly Parton, for all her self-depreciating humor and modesty is one of the great American songwriters, as well as a brilliant businesswoman. She achieved this through hard work, raw talent and perseverance, not having a bunch of mindless idiots phone in because she sang some overproduced songs in front of a former cheerleader, a record producer and some pompous Brit in a black tee shirt.

Roger said...

Its always scary to agree with Freder---and as Ruth Ann pointed out, Dolly is a really fine blue grass player for those (like me) that enjoy that genre.

Ann Althouse said...

Don't "see, Ann" me as if you're pointing out something I hadn't perceived. You're pointing out the blatantly obvious that everyone knows. Here's something you might not know: You are rude and unaware that other people are at least as smart as you are. Try expressing yourself more modestly to avoid embarrassment.

Freder Frederson said...

Don't "see, Ann" me as if you're pointing out something I hadn't perceived

Excuse me Ann, but you jumped all over me the other day for belittling the common man who enjoys watching AI. It was rude of you to assume that I dislike or disdain all popular music just because I think AI is an abomination.

And I am certain you think you are quite a bit smarter than me. So don't lecture me about being modest.

Roger said...

Roger moves rapidly to disassociate himself with Freder's "see Ann..." statement so as not to feel the sting of the Althouse lash. Everything else I agree with.

Bob said...

Is Freder brave enough to enter the Vortex? Will he live through the experience?

*laughs*

peter hoh said...

I'd rather be a hammer than a nail.

Never mind.

Yes, Parton is a genius, and part of that lies in her awareness is that she'd do better presenting herself as a cartoon-like character.

Geniuses come and go. They die young. A good cartoon, though, has staying power.

rcocean said...

Parton is a good example of a celebrity that can separate image from reality. She understands there is reality and her "image". So she's perfectly content to play the game and be a "cartoon character".

I loved her in movies/TV because she seemed to be perfectly willing to give the people what they wanted and play a character rather than stomp around complaining about "typecasting" and how she was really a genius who read Freud and Hegel in her spare time.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

And I am certain you think you are quite a bit smarter than me. So don't lecture me about being modest.

Judging by your comments here (and on those sites where you are now banned) I know she is. As for modesty, a lecture directed at you would be a waste of time, I agree.

rhhardin said...

w***e?

Not much clue if all you have is letters that are silent.

Compare Gd crtd th hvn nd th rth.

George said...

Two different views of
Her...Marriage

SteveR said...

Based just on writing "I Will Always Love You" she earns top status as a musician. And there is so much more.

Paddy O. said...

Would Dolly Parton go on American Idol if she was starting out today?

I think she might. And I think a few of the winners thus far might be around for a good while, having found their break with a silly ol' tv show.

It might be a bit of a circus show but those contestants are trying to make their dreams come true just like Dolly did, and it would be ludicrous to suggest they avoid any possible open door.

Certainly, we're not going to trust the record companies of today to bring us the kind of lasting stars Dolly exemplifies.

I think it's a grand show, a grand opportunity, and a wonderful chance for real talent to shine.

Just have to get past the awful, embarrassment emphasizing first weeks. Use whatever gets people to notice, right? Dolly knows that quite well.

Jeremy said...

w***e?

Yeah, I was thinking "wusse" for a while, but that's supposed to be with a Y. I like that they blanked it out but ignored Hell in the same sentence. Is "whore" really any worse than "hell"?

ZPS said...

9 to 5 is one of my favorite movies and first introduced me to Dolly at a young age. They're making a Broadway show of it and I can't wait!

I remember growing up saying that anyone with big boobs had "Dolly Parton boobs."

A drag queen friend of mine has met her in person several times and, as you might expect, reports that she is just as fantastic and sweet in person as she comes off in interviews and on screen. She adores her fans, especially the drag queens who impersonate her, saying that the drag queens look better, prettier, and classier than she does. God I love this woman.

Pogo said...

Awww, I like Dolly.
Wouldn't you just love to meet her? Sweet and kind and smart and funny. What's not to like?

She's like Jessica Rabbit in a funhouse mirror. Makes me wish I liked country music. Jolene's good. Here's Mindy Smith singing it, and Dolly's acting in the video. Whatta trooper she is, helping a new singer start out like that.

peter hoh said...

Pogo, I'm content to keep country music at arm's length. I love bluegrass and folk and can almost get to country, but not quite.

I'm not sure where the line is, but I know when it's crossed. I love all of Gillian Welch's music, most of Dar Williams, much of Alison Krauss. Over toward the Dolly Parton side of the spectrum, not so much.

michael farris said...

One smart thing (among very, very many) that she's done is make herself unthreatening to the female audiences that a country singer needs on her side. They probably wouldn't have liked her as much had she gone for a more subdued look and appeared to take her looks more seriously. Bombshells and sex kittens have not traditionally done well in country music.

But by making fun of her appearance first, before anyone else can "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap" she defuses potential unease and turns the female audience into her allies as did Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn (in very different ways from Parton or each other).

reader_iam said...

Love is like a butterfly, but Althouse can really sting!

; )

***

I saw the w**** and immediately thought "wh***e with the heart of gold, which I think sorta captures the idea.

I love Dolly, always have. She has such sense of freedom and self-empowerment about her. Makes me smile.

Pogo said...

Gillian Welch!
Dar Williams!!
Alison Krauss!!!

Echo that.

Ann Althouse said...

Frank Sinatra, Pat Boone, Nick Carter, Gladys Knight, Ann-Margret, Robert Klein, Raul Julia, Beverly Sills, Connie Francis, Maria Callas, Joey Dee and The Starlighters, Robert Merrill, Jim Stafford ....

What do they have in common?

save_the_rustbelt said...

Dolly is a very talented song writer, which probably guarantees her steady cash flow forever. She is also reputed to be a very savvy business woman.

And she certainly is comfortable with herself.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
save_the_rustbelt said...

What do they have in common?

Wild guess:

They all recorded songs written by Dolly?

Bob said...

Gillian, Dar and Allison fall into the Americana or Alt.-Country genre these days. It's that area where bluegrass, blues, folk, and old-time country all meet up for a get-together. That's the sort of stuff I mostly listen to these days. Other Americana artists:

Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier, Slaid Cleaves, Steve Earle, Diana Jones, Iris DeMent, Jolie Holland, Kim Richey, John Prine, James McMurtry, Ray Wylie Hubbard. All good stuff.

Ann Althouse said...

Pat Boone, The Chordettes, The McGuire Sisters, Tony Bennett, Roy Clark, Rosemary Clooney, Vic Damone, The Diamonds, Eddie Fisher, Connie Francis, Don Knotts, Steve Lawrence, Al Martino, Barbara McNair, Marian McPartland, Johnny Nash, Leslie Uggams, Patsy Cline...

What do they have in common?

What, in this context, distinguishes them from Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley.

reader_iam said...

Arthur Godfrey?

Bissage said...

Dolly Parton is one of a kind!

reader_iam said...

Buddy and Elvis auditioned, but didn't get on, unlike the others.

reader_iam said...

I wonder if they'd make an American Idol cut.

reader_iam said...

Speaking of which, I know Trooper is busy over at your last American Idol post, but wouldn't you think he'd find the time to weigh in on this one?

former law student said...

Ted Mack was the emcee in my day; Frankie would have had Major Bowes.

George said...

She did start in an American Idol sort of way, performing on a local TV show when she a child......

former law student said...

Ann: also supposedly Louis Farrakhan, ne Wolcott.

rhhardin said...

There was a llama in Michigan named Dolly, that left a WJR (Detroit) host puzzled, why anybody would name a llama Dolly.

Bob the singing plumber, I think it was. He died without knowing.

Beth said...

I can't hear "Coat of Many Colors" without crying -- she's a master manipulator, isn't she? But I admire that. She is, as some have said, a fine bluegrass musician, and I miss the era when country music still knew its roots in British and Celtic folk. Listen to her sing "Down from Dover" -- you'll easily find a dozen variations of that story in old folk songs and sonnets. Likewise "Silver Dagger" on The Grass is Blue. I also love "Tennessee Mountain Home," for its joyfulness.

I love her many collaborations, with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, and I love her Porter Wagner period as well. I pretty much have nothing but happy thoughts for Dolly, even if I'm not crazy about her pop-crossover stuff with people like Kenny Rogers. She's prolific, so there's bound to be things that pass me by.

Her cartoon image just reinforces her sincerity to me. Many years ago I watched an awards show where she performed "Love is Like A Butterfly" (not one of my favorites!) and as the song finished she casually swung the mic from her face but her voice carried on. She grinned and told the audience "Y'all knew I wasn't really singing, didn't you?" That's the spirit I want in a performer. She's completely invested in the fun of performing, and confident in the depths of her talent.

Dave TN said...

I went to a Dolly benefit concert last summer (she's raising money for a new medical center in Sevier Co., TN). Of all the great banter, my favorite line was after she explained that it took her hair stylist 3 hours to get her hair ready for the performance: "Thank God I didn't have to be there."

The medical center will be named after the doctor that delivered her after riding on a mule to the Parton house. The price for the delivery - a sack of flour.

Bruce Hayden said...

She shows up somewhat regularly on Disney's Hannah Montana as the Stewart family's good friend, Aunt Dolly. She plays pretty close to her self there, their favorite "aunt" with a lot of money, fame, and a heart of gold.

I can't believe that Disney actually pays what she would normally charge, and expect that it is because Miley's real and in the series father, Billy Ray Cyrus, opened for her a number of years ago. In an interview by Billy Ray, he indicated that he loved working with her, the ultra famous country star treating the country wannabe opening for her kindly and ultimately becoming his (and his family's) friend.

Part of the image is that heart of gold, but Billy Ray sure indicated that it was real, at least in his case.

Christy said...

My brother played a confederate general at the Dixie Stampede for years. Dolly came by annually to have her picture taken with everyone (in small groups) who worked for her, and so Mom has pictures of Dolly Parton displayed prominently throughout my ancestral home.

Palladian said...

Who can forget her cover of "Stairway To Heaven"?

Revenant said...

Parton has done a lot of good work in East Tennessee. She might not be "classy", but she's definitely a class act.

ricpic said...

The Althouse question at 12:23

They all appeared on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. I doubt they all made it to the couch.

Elvis and Buddy Holly did not appear on the show or the couch.

For your earlier question: they all appeared on Ed Sullivan.

These may be silly answers but I can't for the life of me imagine what else, for example, Leslie Uggams and Don Knotts might have in common.

ricpic said...

Ooh, I just had another thought. Since this is a Dolly Parton thread did they all appear at The Grand Ol' Opry?

Pogo said...

Are they all in rock n' roll heaven?
Well I hear they have a hell of a band.

michael said...

I went to Dollywood once, just to buy a tee shirt. They let me in for one hour without charge, but said they'd bill my credit card for the price of admission if I stayed longer.

I thought it would be a hick place; I'd be in and out in 30 minutes, top.

I stayed all day and had one of the best entertainment experiences of my 58 year old, well traveled, highly educated life. I have been back several times since.

Dolly Parton's philanthropy in east Tennessee cannot be overstated. In addition to raising and donating money for a new hospital in Sevierville, her foundation has teamed with Wal-Mart to provide a bookcase and five books for every newborn child in Sevier County, and five more books each birthday thereafter until the child is 13 years old.

She funds college scholarships, food pantries and community projects, and donates to seemingly every church and organization ine east Tennessee.

I spend several months each year in east Tennessee, and have yet to hear one unkind word about Dolly Parton, remarkable for someone with such a huge public presence.

Beth said...

Revenant -- not classy, but a class act. Indeed.

Michael, thanks for that information. Books and a bookcase, the importance of that can't be overstated. Literacy, not just the ability to read a newspaper and fill out a job application, but a real comfort with reading, is, I think, our most reliable means of class mobility.

Pogo said...

Beth,
Well said, and true.
What a wonderful choice; is there any better gift for a child?

titustitus said...

I love Dolly. Her last album was amazing.

Love her tits, loved her in Texas Has a Whorehouse In it, loved her in 9 to 5.

I have always wanted to go to Dollywood. For those that have gone is it worth it? I am expecting kind of red neck, trashy, but fun.

She seems to one that both red state and blue state all loves.

I would love to see her knockers bouncing in my face. Also, her body is fierce.

dick said...

I love that someone like Dolly doesn't forget where she came from and does all she can to help out.

As a side note of another who did the same sort of thing, Blaze Starr, the stripper, did that for her home town in West Virginia. She supported the library and gave scholarships to the senior class. She even brought the best students to Baltimore to live in her home and she paid for their college education. She did that for years after she became famous.

Not many of the big stars do remember where they started and that is a real shame.

former law student said...

re titus: why is it that gays love the boobies so? because they do, they really do.

reader_iam said...

Think pillows.

reader_iam said...

Leastways, that's part of what I've been given to understand.

reader_iam said...

That was the first thing I had to learn about her, and maybe the hardest I've ever learned about anything--that she is her own, and what she gives me is of her choosing, and the more precious because of it. Sometimes a butterfly will come to sit in your open palm, but if you close your hand, one way or the other, it--and its choice to be there--are gone.
(--Barbara Hambly)

Gary Rosen said...

It wasn't Johnny Carson, there was a show in the '50s and '60s equivalent to American Idol but its name escapes me now.

howzerdo said...

Beth, I agree with you about "Coat of Many Colors." I love that song. No matter how many times I hear it, it never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

Middle Class Guy said...

Gary Rosen said...
It wasn't Johnny Carson, there was a show in the '50s and '60s equivalent to American Idol but its name escapes me now.



Ted Mack Amateur Hour maybe?

Kev said...

I'm very LTTG here, but I had to chime in on one thing:

She and Porter did ads for Dreft on that show -- a laundry detergent that included towels in every box.

I'm pretty sure it was Breeze. That commercial, done in Dolly's charming southern twang, immediately "played" in my mind when I read the above comment. If you wrote it out phonetically, it would sound something like this: "And yew can git these caindy strahped tahls only in bawkses of Bruyeeeeze!"

And yes, a class act. I don't care for C&W at all, but I still respect her a great deal.