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Why Singer Oliver Anthony Is the Hero We Need (But Not the Hero We Asked For)

by | Aug 24, 2023 | Life

I don’t listen to country music.

I hate it. So when I saw a Youtube clip of a red-haired, beer-drinking, big-bellied man, and his dog singing a song in the middle of the woods, I didn’t think it’d catch my attention. But it did.

Only a few lines into the song I felt emotional.

And I didn’t know why right away.

The song was sung by now-viral sensation Oliver Anthony.

He’s worked for 9 years in a manufacturing sales job that has let him visit tens of thousands of blue collar workers. He suffers from severe depression and had issues with alcohol.

This is one of the first songs I’ve heard that talks about how useless the U.S. dollar is. And how we’re taxed to oblivion — first you earn an income, then it’s taxed a lot, then you pay sales tax on what’s left over, then inflation further erodes your purchasing power … and when you die your money is taxed once more.

It’s a strange system most people don’t understand (by design).

~ ’Cause your dollar ain’t sh*t and it’s taxed to no end — Oliver Anthony

It’s for this reason that a technology like Bitcoin has become so popular. It shines a light on the useless nature of “currency,” despite whether Bitcoin is the solution to the problem or not.

I feel strongly about the dollar and have spent the last 9 years trying to show people what is really going on.

But there’s too much complexity — quantitative easing, inflation, devaluation, fake bond yields, shadow banking. These terms are just too hard to explain.

People lose interest fast, and so their money loses value even faster.

They have to give up their time and energy to earn their money, yet they don’t know how it works on purpose. It makes me sad and the start of the song reminded me of that.

(This is the best version of the song and shows some powerful reactions.)

The song cut deep for me as it went on.

It talks about an overall abuse of power. This is top of mind for me right now as my local community faces a lawless, abusive, well-known influential group who’ve been breaking all the local laws with their events.

I tried to stand up for all of us and it’s been one hell of a struggle.

You know there’s corruption but it’s hard to prove. You know people are getting special treatment but everyone pretends it’s not the case.

The elected officials involved are voted in but they treat their voters as if they don’t exist, because it’s the organizations that give them money who have the true power.

I felt every lyric of Oliver’s song as I thought about this situation today.

The song speaks a strange truth.

It’s not politically charged like most things in America. Oliver says he’s not in favor of the right or left. He sits in the middle.

What Oliver figured out is if the average person is distracted with politics, gender, racial hierarchies, and cultural grievance, they won’t have time, energy, or attention left to direct at the real problems and the people who cause them.

Culture is part of the distraction economy.

Oliver’s song doesn’t provide solutions, although it raises a hell of a lot of questions. It takes us back to first principles.

He dares to say what so many people will not. The song is a demonstration of the power of freedom of speech.

After 32M views on Youtube, 400k+ new X followers, viral posts on Instagram and TikTok, and packed shows, you’d think Oliver may have let the fame get to his head.

He didn’t. Phewww.

An $8M record deal was offered to him. He turned it down. This is why Oliver is successful. He has strong principles and he doesn’t waver from them. What you see is what you get.

There’s no “star power” or fakery. He sang the song for the greater good, not for profit. The shows he’s done so far are all free when they could have easily cost hundreds of dollars.

It’s as if he wants to highlight that money IS the problem.

The reason he says he wrote his songs was to help others and process the depression that has held him back in life.

These songs have connected with millions of people on such a deep level because they’re being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung. No editing, no agent, no bullsh*t. Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place.

This kind of music is so rare. No wonder we went crazy for it.

I don’t think Oliver was the hero we asked for. He certainly doesn’t look or sound like it. But perhaps for this strange moment in history, right before an American election, he’s exactly the hero we need.

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