I’ve been preoccupied by country music these past few days. For this, I blame my Tulane colleague, Sally Richardson, who recently wrote this post on Property Law Profs Blog. In it, Sally makes the following observation:
Last week, my good friend, brilliant colleague, and property law scholar extraordinaire, Jim Gordley (Tulane), told me that he had been on a road trip and listened to a good deal of country music. In the course of listening to a series of country songs, Jim decided that country music was about two things: love and breaking the law. Being from the south and having listened to my fair share of country music, I have to admit that Jim is right. Just listen to Friends in Low Places, Achy-Breaky Heart, Before He Cheats, Folsom Prison Blues, and Ol’ Red and you can see for yourself. Sure, there are some other songs about dogs and beer, but those are really in the minority. Most country music is about love and the law.
Sally also shares some really genius lyrics coined by Jim, which include:
I assign and convey to you
That unencumbered heart
With one restrictive covenant
That we shall never part,
And this condition subsequent
That if you let it break,
Then I in my discretion
May reenter and retake.
Reminds me a bit of the Conway Twitty tax case—both the Tax Court’s Ode and the IRS AOD in response!
Of course, as a matter of substance, I think Jim and Sally are dead wrong. Love and breaking the law…pshaw! Aside from some notable lines such as the one about Ilsa the acrobat falling in love with Horatio the Human Cannonball, country music is, in fact, all about economic security, lending and financing, foreclosure, bailouts, and tax.
Let me explain:
Caveat: I have an immense soft spot for country music. Some days I have half a mind to move to Nashville and try to earn a living as a country music songwriter. (I’m only very slightly kidding about that.) However, I do not actually know anything about country music. And obviously, country music has a bazillion subgenres is about lots of other things as well (as this article describes), including the painful, painful process of creating legal scholarship.