I don’t think it’s breaking any new ground in saying that we at Pajiba consider Dolly Parton to be broadly speaking one of the good ones. Celebrity culture and the spectacle society that comes with it is rotten to the core and needs to be flushed down the toilet, but while we’re stuck with it we may as well be thankful that the system has churned out people like Parton. The 75-year old Tennessean singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author, actress, and humanitarian is an American national treasure who more often than most people of her fame and wealth seems to use her power for some good—whether that’s starting up nonprofit foundations that offer books to underprivileged children, utilizing her platform to speak up for Black Lives Matter, or just plain being a fount of good humour and righteous character in a field often crowded with the opposite.
It’s the latter that’s spectacularly on show in this clip that many of you may have already seen but which I have only just stumbled upon myself. This is a segment of an interview that Parton did with Barbara Walters, in which Walters seems quite keen to take as many potshots at Parton as possible—running the gamut from the classist to the sexist all the way back to classist again—while Parton herself operates at levels of Zen and wit and charm-laden conversational aikido that frankly deserve applause. Check it out:
Image sources (in order of posting): Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images