September 19, 2006
The Chicks Lay Another Egg
As an obsessed anti-fan of Dixie Chicks, I was planning on talking about their hate-mongering movie premier in Toronto anyway, even if it hadn't been so fatuous and whiny. Of course, I haven't seen it, and I have no plans to go see it; but there's plenty of buzz from people who have:
In one memorable scene, Maines watches news footage of the president being interviewed about the furor that followed the singer's on-stage comment that she was ''ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas,'' which resulted in the group being dropped from most radio stations, as well as protests and plummeting sales. ''The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind,'' Bush told Tom Brokaw at the time, adding, ''They shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out. You know, freedom is a two-way street.''
After watching this footage, Maines repeats the president's comment about how the group shouldn't have their ''feelings hurt,'' incredulous, and then says, ''What a dumb f---.'' She then looks into the camera, as if addressing Bush, and reiterates, ''You're a dumb f---.'' [Thereby completely refuting the point about freedom being a two-way street, running rings around the president with her Vulcan-like logic. -- Dafydd]
Methinks their feelings are hurt by former fans (such as me) choosing not to buy their CDs or go to their concerts. I weep great crocodile tears. And today, I read an article about their press conference in Toronto; from the section subtitled -- I'm not kidding -- "the rough road to free speech":
Directed by two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple (“Harlan County, U.S.A.”, “American Dream”) and Cecilia Peck, the documentary chronicles Maguire, her sister Emily Robison and Maines’ transition from country darlings to bold symbols for freedom of expression....
“They’re from Texas. They’re supposed to be these women that people have put a box around, and here are these incredible all-American girls coming out and making a statement and not backing down from it,” Kopple told The Associated Press in an interview.
They may not be "backing down," but they're sure whining an awful lot. What they call "freedom of speech" is what the rest of us call "freedom from the perfectly reasonable reaction to their offensive words." (I mean, it's not as though we called them "crusaders" then ran out and burned down that church up in Nova Scotia that worships a giant graven image of Natalie Maines.) The Chicks can criticize the rest of us all the live-long day, using every four-letter word they can call to mind (which appears to be only one, endlessly repeated); but boy, if we criticized them, we're suppressing their freedom of speech!
If you want to know what real suppression of freedom of speech looks like, you should ponder that letter sent by powerful Democratic senators to ABC, threatening the network's broadcast license if it didn't cancel the miniseries "the Path to 9/11." That is true censorship -- fortunately unsuccessful.
And for an example of media hypocrisy, read Syrus Nowrasteh, who wrote the screenplay, discussing how he was treated by the antique media for speaking the unspeakable: that Bill Clinton was at least as responsible for 9/11 as George W. Bush (reparagraphed for easier reading):
In July a reporter asked if I had ever been ethnically profiled. I happily replied, "No." I can no longer say that. The L.A. Times, for one, characterized me by race, religion, ethnicity, country-of-origin and political leanings -- wrongly on four of five counts. [All emphasis added.]
To them I was an Iranian-American politically conservative Muslim. It is perhaps irrelevant in our brave new world of journalism that I was born in Boulder, Colo. I am not a Muslim or practitioner of any religion, nor am I a political conservative. What am I? I am, most devoutly, an American. I asked the reporter if this kind of labeling was a new policy for the paper. He had no response.
The hysteria engendered by the series found more than one target. In addition to the death threats and hate mail directed at me, and my grotesque portrayal as a maddened right-winger, there developed an impassioned search for incriminating evidence on everyone else connected to the film. And in director David Cunningham, the searchers found paydirt! His father had founded a Christian youth outreach mission.
The whiff of the younger Mr. Cunningham's possible connection to this enterprise was enough to set the hounds of suspicion baying. A religious mission!
A New York Times reporter wrote, without irony or explanation, that an issue that raised questions about the director was his involvement in his father's outreach work. In the era of McCarthyism, the merest hint of a connection to communism sufficed to inspire dark accusations, the certainty that the accused was part of a malign conspiracy. Today, apparently, you can get something of that effect by charging a connection with a Christian mission.
The Ditzy Chicks' belief in "free speech for me but not for thee" sounds strikingly similar to what too many Moslem extremists believe. In the last few days, we've been treated to their hysterical overreaction, all over the world, to the pope's innocuous statement. Was what Pope Benedict said so bad that it justifies calling for his assassination, burning down churches in Gaza, and shooting a nun in the back, for the crime of dedicating her life to saving Somali children... as part of a religious mission?
If I tried to count all the times that I've been called a "Zionist pig," just because I dare to support Israel's fight against terrorism, I would still be counting 100 years from now.
And all this time, Moslem extremists have not only verbally attacked those of other faiths as "infidels," they have killed Jews and Christians by the bushel. For that matter, they kill each other for not being the right kind of Moslem (their violent attacks against each other peak during the holy month of Ramadan.) And we have yet to see a single Jewish rabbi or Catholic nun blow up a Hummus stand in Jerusalem, except maybe to protest the Arabic rap music they play incessantly.
So the Moslems' feelings are hurt! Big deal. They're killing Americans nearly every day in the name of Allah; pardon me for thinking that's a little more aggressive than quoting some emperor from six hundred years ago who thought conversion by the sword was "evil and inhuman."
Unlike the "death threats" the Ditzy Chicks claim to have received (and let's see some of them!), the threat against modern civilization from the Moslem extremists is deadly real. We must take this threat seriously, but not by backing down. We must speak up aginst this bloodthirsty assault on freedom of speech. Threatening murder, mayhem, and assassination in response to words is completely different from simply refusing to buy a CD by some annoying chit with the brains of a Pekingese.
As for our suppression of the Chicks, we're just exercising our "freedom of wallet." Although their album hit the number 1 on Billboard (for a few weeks before dropping like an egg), ticket sales for the tour are less than half of the Chicks' last tour. Maines' decision to stick to arenas, instead of shifting to smaller venues (garages, bathrooms), cost them millions... but don't shed any tears: they're much happier with their new listeners, they say:
“We’ve basically been playing to about half the audience as on the last tour, but it’s a different audience. They just look good,” band member Martie Maguire told reporters at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the documentary “Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing” premiered.
In the grand scheme of things, the problems of the Dixie Chicks rate somewhere between warm beer and a cold sore, and I don't even know why I wrote this. Never mind; don't read it!
Hatched by Sachi on this day, September 19, 2006, at the time of 6:27 PM
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Tracked on September 20, 2006 12:01 AM
The following hissed in response by: Bill M
Never mind; don't read it!
Oh sure, after I get to the end of it!
The following hissed in response by: Patrick Chester
...you are being very mean to Pekingese.
The following hissed in response by: nk
Never mind; don't read it!
I enjoyed it. On the other hand I am up waiting for a rerun of The Untouchables. (Eight minutes to go.)
The above hissed in response by: nk at September 19, 2006 9:23 PM
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
She maybe ashamed that Bush is from Texas, but Texas is ashamed of her.
Silly f****** woman. At least Bush is smart enough to understand his audience.
The above hissed in response by: Terrye at September 20, 2006 2:59 AM
The following hissed in response by: Harold C. Hutchison
They can dish it out, but they can't take it. Why am I not surprised?
The above hissed in response by: Harold C. Hutchison at September 20, 2006 6:41 AM
The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman
Well it sounds like the got the select non-redneck audience they wanted.
"“We’ve basically been playing to about half the audience as on the last tour, but it’s a different audience. They just look good,”
Capitalism at work.
The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman at September 20, 2006 6:58 AM
The following hissed in response by: Rod
About 2.5 years ago I got a mailer from one of the radio stations I *used to* listen to. It was promoting the Chicks on their station. I mailed it back to them with a note that I do not support the Chicks and would not be listening to thier station again. I never got another mailer from them so I guess they (correctly) took me at my word!
I am beside myself with grief to hear that the Chicks have had to call of over half their planned concerts this year! They can say whatever they want and the fans can buy records and tickets from whomever they want as well! It is a free country!
The following hissed in response by: MarkD
I've got their first CD here. I'm just another former fan. They are, of course, free to insult their country, their president, and their customers. I don't expect that to be a successful business model.
The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman
their country, their president
What do you mean their? haven't you heard Natalie at least has gone Transnational. doesn't understand patriotism or why anyone needs, wants or values it.
The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman at September 20, 2006 5:42 PM
The following hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu
I don’t think the Chicks' problems are their conflicted political logic or their fan backstabbing, but their packaging. If there's one thing cartoons have taught us, it's this: No matter how stupid the premise, the format is what ultimately counts.
Now, I'm not a country music fan generally, and I certainly don't like anything the Chicks have to offer, but I'll tell you what would get me to buy a ticket to their concert: If they would replace themselves onstage with giant animatronic dancing chickens.
Hell, add in a laser light show with pyrotechnics, and I wouldn't even care if they substituted each of their songs with an insipid political screed, because giant animatronic dancing chickens with lasers and explosives are just that awesome.
The above hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu at September 20, 2006 8:59 PM
The following hissed in response by: Big D
Why do stupid people (like the chicks) insist on getting into political debates? It boggles the mind.
Stupid and egotistical?
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