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🇺🇸 Rich Men North of Richmond

Plus, in this country, taxpayers enjoy gifts of fresh fruit and wagyu steak…

The Flag

Good morning, and happy Wednesday. The son of a fallen Utah police officer was escorted to his first day of kindergarten by his mom and a group of what the South Salt Lake Police Department called "fill in ‘Dads’" who stood in for his father.

Plus, in this country, taxpayers enjoy gifts of fresh fruit and wagyu steak…

Also, would you rather pay for a new smartphone or let your new smartphone pay you?


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Rich Men North of Richmond

A new country song is soaring up the charts while also stirring up controversy. Titled "Rich Men North of Richmond," the song by singer-songwriter Oliver Anthony has more than 20 million views on YouTube since being published on August 9, and has risen to #1 on the iTunes country chart.

Reporting from the Left: Oliver Anthony’s Populist, Polarizing ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ on Track to Debut at Number One (Rolling Stone)

Reporting from the Right: Country singer says Oliver Anthony's hit song goes back to 'roots' of the genre: 'Just speaks a lot of truth' (FOX News)

From The Flag: The song’s conservative themes and lyrics have drawn praise from some and criticism from others. Here’s how both sides are covering the song’s rise in the charts and what they believe it says about life in America.


Misdirected Anger and Frustration

  • The song touches on real frustrations, but the cause of those frustrations should be directed at capitalism, not the government.

  • The song seems to villainize the poor more than the rich in its misguided criticism of “obese” Americans on welfare.

  • This song ironically illustrates the incoherence of right-wing populism, where Anthony directs his anger at the government instead of the greedy bosses and businessmen that exploit working class Americans.

Who Is Your Enemy, My Brother? Hamilton Nolan, Substack: “And the story that the ruling class and the Republican Party and Ronald Reagan and all his forebears have told generation after generation of regular ass people like Oliver Anthony is: The villain is the government. Look! North of Richmond! That shiny city populated by elites! Where they make taxes! Where they take your money, and give it to fat people so they can buy fudge rounds! The government is the problem! There—the target for your rage! ‘Do not let the rage of the populace become focused on the capitalists. is the number one rule of capitalism’s perpetuation of itself. In fact, it is more accurate to look at a large portion of what occurs in our nation’s political sphere as ‘systematic redirection of rage towards false targets’ than ‘governing.’ Governing is a small minority of what occurs in our political system.”

Oliver Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond” Has Made an Unknown a Superstar. We’ve Been Here Before. Josh Levin, Slate: “Don’t be fooled by the title: The most vividly drawn villains in ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ aren’t rich. ‘Lord, we got folks in the street, ain’t got nothin’ to eat/ And the obese milkin’ welfare,’ Anthony yowls in the second verse. In the next couplet, he completes the picture: ‘Well, God, if you’re 5-foot-3 and you’re 300 pounds/ Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of Fudge Rounds.’ It’s a potent image, one that draws on the ‘welfare queen’ stereotype that oozed to life in the 1970s. … Anthony comes off as entirely sincere and genuinely angry—about rich men and Jeffrey Epstein, but especially ‘the obese milkin’ welfare,’ people he believes don’t deserve what they’re getting. That’s a message with a whole lot of resonance for a whole lot of Americans, in the 1970s and today. And that kind of resentment isn’t anything to joke about.”

One more opinion piece from the Left: Oliver Anthony and the Incoherence of Right-Wing Populism Eric Levitz, New York Magazine


An Anthem For The Forgotten Working Man

  • The song’s admittedly uncomplicated narrative reflects the nation’s rural-urban divide and touches on how the white working class is the least cared about group of people in America.

  • This is a stirring, anti-establishment song that captures the genuine frustrations of the working class through its raw honesty.

  • This song is the most intelligent political commentary of the year, giving a voice to many Americans who feel they have no voice.

What ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ Gets Right Jeffery Tyler Syck, The Dispatch: “Anthony’s song tries to convey the life of the white working class. The songwriter clearly thinks that such an existence is both hard and largely unfulfilling, not the least because wealthy and out-of-touch elites (the song’s eponymous ‘rich men north of Richmond’) are robbing the hardworking laborer of his money to provide for the lazy, indolent, and purposefully jobless. As if that were not enough, the same ‘rich men’ peer into and control every aspect of his life. … The song’s real appeal lies in its ability to voice a sense among the white working class that they are the least cared about group of people in America. Put another way, it shows how they see a nation shaped by urbanites, for urbanites. … Such resentment isn’t usually healthy, but it’s not always unfounded. There can be no doubt that the majority of the nation’s economic and political power is concentrated in cities.”

‘Rich Men North of Richmond’: A Stirring Ballad for the Real Forgotten Man William Sullivan, American Thinker: “Anthony’s song is something else entirely. First and foremost, this is because he’s clearly an excellent musician and it’s just an excellent song, while those other examples are little more than gimmicks. But another reason why this song may have resonated with so many is that the song exudes an authentic human experience, and it begins with the song’s title. … There’s something explicitly human in the choice of Anthony’s title, which is something that soulless advertising execs and AI can’t replicate. Specifically, the writer is speaking from a personal frame of reference, as we humans so often do. … But what stands out most about this song is that, while the singer’s passion is unmistakable, it seems to be less an expression of anger than exasperation. … He knows his audience. Because he, like millions of working-class Americans, young and old, is the Forgotten Man in America today.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: What people are getting wrong about ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ Daniel McCarthy, New York Post


History Making Debut

The song debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Oliver Anthony the first artist ever to notch the achievement with no prior chart history in any form.

“Rich Men North of Richmond,” which was widely shared online along with a video drew 17.5 million streams and sold 147,000 downloads in the tracking week ending Aug. 17, per Luminate. A YouTube video of the song has 30 million views to date (Variety).

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