According to a new study published in Mental Health Today magazine, country music may be to blame for the prevalent misconception among teens that, regardless of how crappy things seem at any given point in time, everything will always work out fine in the end.
“Obviously, that’s not even remotely true,” said head researcher Brad Hidalgo, a thrice-divorced bachelor who’s been couch-surfing since his own home went into foreclosure last October. “As country has come to dominate the airwaves, and the audience keeps getting younger, we’ve seen a concomitant rise in the percentage of teens who are idiotically happy all the time. Some occasional happiness is natural, but extreme levels aren’t sustainable or healthy. Beyond just wanting to punch them in their cheery faces, I’m worried about these kids.”
“This is no less troubling than when Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest were causing teen suicides during the ’80s,” Hidalgo continued. “Instead of kids cutting themselves, we’ve got kids prancing around with the unrealistic expectation that they’re going to live forever, and be happy the whole time. It’s hard to say which is worse.”
“Maybe Little Johnny won’t slit his wrist because of one Kenny Chesney party song, but expose him to enough Kenny Chesney party songs over a period of years and eventually Little Johnny will turn into an incurable man-child without a realistic understanding of the fact that, once you get past 25 or so, life pretty much sucks, and trying to convince yourself otherwise will only compound your misery and lead you to make a bunch of poor, misguided life choices in a desperate attempt to rekindle your youth.”
“Need proof? Just look at Kenny Chesney.”
According to the study, sunny hits like “Hip to My Heart” and “Rain Is a Good Thing” gloss over complications of love and weather, leaving listeners equally unprepared for heartbreak and flooding of the sort that recently befell much of Tennessee. Teens raised without a healthy sense of crushing despair grow up to be overly trusting adults whose lack of cynical detachment can lead to problems in forming non-dependent relationships, rearing children who aren’t daft little nincompoops, and conniving their way up the corporate ladder.
The Mental Health Today article includes a number of alarming case studies, such as the happy-go-lucky teen driver who entrusted Jesus with the wheel as she caught a nap on a winding mountain road and the free-spirited boy who gave all of his college savings to a passing drifter after hearing “People Are Crazy.” He is presently employed as a fry chef at his hometown Wendy’s restaurant.
“Whatever part of the brain says ‘You know, this might not work out,’ these kids don’t have it,” explained Hidalgo. “We’ve inspired it out of them, leaving them virtually defenseless.”
“And on a personal level,” he concluded, “their pathological good cheer nauseates me.”