It's amazing how you move to college, become surrounded by people in your age group 24 hours a day, and yet somehow become staggeringly unfamiliar with pop music. There was a time, before college, when I had actually seen some of the nominees at the VMA's. (Honestly, what the fuck is Panic at the Disco?) There was a time when I knew what songs were popular, and was actually exposed to top 40 somewhere other than some crappy college dive. Good or bad, I've lost touch with pop music. I don't listen to the radio or watch MTV, so my exposure to what's trendy is on par with a Puerto Rican to soap.

In fact, here are five things I didn't know until I researched this column.

1. Christina Aguilera is back to being clean again. None of that X-Tina bullshit and crotchless shorts in her videos. I haven't yet determined if this is good or bad.

2. P. Diddy is now just Diddy. And I never even called him P. Diddy because he's Puff Daddy. If I started making everyone at PIC call me J-Rebel because I wanted to hide from my past image, would I be taken seriously? Gaudio would stab me and Chad Chamley would take the credit.

“Country has been part of the American landscape for sixty some-odd years. That's a long time to suck.”

3. Blink 182 broke up. (Just kidding, I already knew that. But I really liked Blink in high school. Then again, their success inadvertently brought Simple Plan into my life. Damn them.)

4. Britney Spears hasn't released a record since 2004 and yet somehow people still care about her.

5. People actually like Sean Paul. (Maybe it's me, but when you hear “Temperature” outside of a bar or club, do you start to smell vodka for no reason at all?)

But one subsidiary of trendy music has really thrown me for a loop: country music. Sometime between 18 and 23, country music became really popular with people my age. Now, I understand that statistics show country is the most popular genre of music in America, but those are the same numbers that say NASCAR is popular and George Bush should be a president. You can't go by numbers. Besides, country music has been on and off popular with non-redneck inbreeders for awhile. When I was little, Billy Ray Cyrus was big. Then Faith Hill and Shania Twain, and Faith Hill's Breasts and Shania Twain's Ass got real popular. Then 9-11 happened and all these country people wrote songs about it that we all had to pretend we liked for fear of seeming unpatriotic.

But now it's crazy. Every year, the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts has a Kenny Chesney concert, and every year it's their biggest draw. Every girl I know has 98.1 Cat Country programmed on their car stereo presets. My whipped buddies with country-loving girlfriends have Toby Keith and Alan Jackson and other assholes with two first names all over their “My Downloads” and Winamps.

And, like with most things, I'm blaming girls. Which is odd, because every girl-friend in my life is from the Northeast—not exactly land of horses and pickup trucks and sister-fucking. I'm sure Vermont loves country, but if Vermont counts as a state then my asshole counts as an organ. So how does this happen? I've got a theory.

The rap fad is over. My younger readers (thanks Jon-Benet Ramsey!) may not remember, but rap was super-popular in the mid-to-late 90’s. Dre. Snoop. Tupac. Biggie. Puff. Jay-Z. DMX. Wu-Tang. Nowadays, rap is limited to retarded pseudo-jibberish. You could play the Dustin Hoffman speaking parts in Rainman backwards and have a more coherent lyrical display than half the garbage hitting the airwaves.

People forget this now, but the purpose of rap, like all groundbreaking music, is to act as an anthem for rebellion. Just as Elvis and the Rolling Stones were in the 60’s, Biggie and Tupac were back in the day. And that was cool. Then they died and Jay-Z and DMX kept things going for a little. But now? Every single song is, “I have several girlfriends with round asses. I have a car with rims. I can make up words.” That's not music. That's black people bragging about their success. Who the hell wants that?

This happened real fast in all genres of music, too, not just rap. Listen to “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Now listen to “Vertigo.” If you think we've made progress, leave your address in my feedback box so I can drive over and beat you with a shovel.

What does this have to do with country? Everything. Rap as popular music was the disco of the 90’s, a novelty act that lost its edge when the industry diluted it to the point of an alcoholic’s diarrhea. So what other genre of music can soulless white young adults listen to that has jack shit to do with them? Techno? No. German progressive? No. Uncle Morty farting for sport while blowing into a milk jug? Close. But it's country.

Now, if it's a fad, it's harmless. It will soon go the way of Paco jeans and tolerating homosexuality. Fads and trends are designed to be different, gain novelty because they're different, then become used by so many people that the novelty wears off. If everyone does it for a long period of time, it's not a trend. It's the way it is. And I hope that's the case. I hope this is just some crap we have to put up with for a little while.

But I fear it isn't. I fear it's here to stay. Country, unlike most trendy music, has been part of the American landscape for sixty some-odd years. That's a long time to suck. My Dad blares country every Sunday morning when he's making breakfast. He used to listen to classic rock, but country reminds him of growing up in his parents' house when they would play old country records. That scares the shit out of me because I'm on deck. I already downloaded Dean Martin and Elvis' “Blue Christmas” because that's what I grew up hearing at my aunt's house on Christmas Eve. Will I someday be provoking my kids to consider suicide rather than listen to aural feces penned by some broad named Loretta?

You may think this all sounds cute, but listen to some country. It's garbage. That's the bigger issue here. Rap was at least a cool form of music. Sure it made white kids dress in baggy crap and call each other “nigga” (God, I miss 1997), but the music was entertaining. Country is just obnoxious crap.

Here's what else I don't like about country: it provokes girls to “sing along.” That is such a pet peeve of mine. The reason you listen to music is… to listen. I've never once turned on the radio and thought, “I wonder what station that whore Chloe is on.” (I actually don't have a friend named Chloe, but bear with me.) I have no idea why people think they should sing along to crap on the radio. Why do you do it? Do you actually think your singing voice won't incite violence among your poor, unsuspecting college humor columnist friends? Are you that starved for attention? God damn it pisses me off. Honestly, it's so bad, I've legitimately thought about moving to that town in Footloose where they banned music. Not that I've seen Footloose. That shit is gay.

Kevin Bacon aside, perhaps the most dangerous byproduct of accepting country as mainstream is that its one more concession to those assholes below the Mason-Dixon. We're one step closer to our necessary second Civil War. This goes beyond red states-blue states. I'm tired of Bible-thumping, black-stripper rapists being obsessed with goofy nonsense like NASCAR and country music and pro-life just to spite us. And instead of the North being all, “Fuck these assholes, we beat them 130 years ago, we'll do it again,” we adapt to it, like how the parents of a retarded kid just put up with him accidentally putting the puppy in the microwave.

We had our chance in 2004. Everyone in New England and New York and California and parts of some other states pleaded with the rest of the country for months and months. “He's a bad president. Look at this shit! He did nothing about 9-11! We're fighting a retarded war! This doesn't make sense! We're not bleeding-heart liberals. These are the facts!”

And all those other cockrags were all, “But gay marriage is icky! They may do anal on our front lawn! White power!”

So what happened? We re-elected the fucking Muppet, and we're stuck with him until Matt Clement's contract is up. That's two fucking albatrosses in my life! Thanks, South. Why didn't the North just be like, “No. Fuck this. We're the North. We're the industrial and technological power. We say who stays and who goes, and he goes! Oh? Would you like to fight about it? Here's a fucking history book.” I would have been the first guy on the front lines! Unbelievable.

So, as a representative of the North, JD Rebello (Ind.-R.I.) is taking back some shit. For starters, no more NASCAR. You will watch hockey and like it. No more Blue Collar Comedy. And no more country music. We're taking back America for all those who like thoughtful, intelligent entertainment.

Speaking of which, has anyone else seen Jackass 2? Hilarious!

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