I remember when the Dixie Chicks were reallllllllly popular a few years back. I pretty much chalked them up to "more country music. Yuck." However, i was occasionally exposed to the three women who are the Dixie Chicks, and they struck me as pretty cool, smart, talented, etc. A nice change from celebs like Britney & Ashley and Jessica. No offense, but of course.
Then, "it" happened. One of the Dixie Chicks said that she was ashamed that President Bush was from her home state of Texas. I thought it was an interesting thing...a country music star coming out and saying that, and at a concert, no less. But I never really thought much of it.
But now, with the release of their new album, there is a lot of talk about the Dixie Chicks. In fact, listening to NPR both to and from work on Thursday, I was exposed to what the Dixie Chicks have gone through since that little comment escaped. And I thought to myself, "What the heck is going on???"
Now, brush aside, if you might, the fact that I am not the President's biggest fan. Let's just analyze what was said. "I'm ashamed that the President is from the same state I'm from." Is this really THAT offensive? I mean, I know that the audience that made the Dixie Chicks #1 in the charts tends to be more conservative. They also, in many cases, tend to be from Texas. That's fine. But STILL. The Dixie Chicks were shut out of the radio stations nation-wide and had their careers pretty much ruined because of this one comment, made on English soil, no less.
I remember when I first learned about Communist Russia in grade school. It was explained to me that one of the reasons Communism was bad and we were good was because in Communist Russia, you couldn't say anything negative about the government. Literally. The newspapers, the media, everything was controlled by the government. If you tried to say something negative, you would be ruined.
How is what was done to the Dixie Chicks any different?
Even if you think that what was said was totally out of line, and one of the worst things a country music star could say about a world leader, can you really support shutting the whole group down and burning their CDs like what was done with the Beatles records in 1965? I mean, let's not even look at the fact that presidents from Gerald Ford to the current president have been lampooned repeatedly on shows like Saturday Night Live. How come that show hasn't been shut down?
I can't say that I just adore all things Dixie Chick now. I still don't really think their music is my cup of tea, and they could be total assholes. But I'm tempted to buy their CD just to make my own little point that I think it's ok to speak your mind about politics, whether you're a celebrity or not. I mean, that's what democracy is all about, right? So isn't it kind of hypocritical to say that we support everything this country is about, then stifle the freedom of speech? I dunno. Somebody help me out.
My advice is that you buy the CD, and send it to me. I think their singing is pretty, and I'll get to stare at pictures of the hot one on the cover art.
I remember it being a big deal. My father was one of the boycotters (he's a Country Music fan, don'tcha know). Even after she (only one of the women made the statement - Natalie, I think is her name) apologized, it wasn't good enough. I was disappointed in her apology, copping to the pressure, but I suppose you do what you must to save your career and maintain your standard of living. I think radio stations and other media outlets, as well as record labels, consumers, and anyone else have the right not to promote their music if they're offended by a statement. It isn't the government imposing these controls - it's the market. Their speech is not being infringed; others are exercising their right to speech by refusing to support the group.