Monday, May 22, 2006

The Ditzy Chicks: They Ain't the Only Ones not Ready to Make Nice

Natalie Maines is one of those people born middle finger first.

That is how the Time Magazine cover story opens. Lovely.

As you recall, The Dixie Chicks took a lot of heat 3 years ago when Maines remarked onstage during a London performance, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." (Since they were in a foreign country, why not just say "ashamed the President is from...well, the United States? But...whatever).

The album could have been "way safe and scared," Ms. Maines said. "We could have pandered." They didn't. The new songs are filled with reactions, direct and oblique, to the Incident. There are no apologies. is retracting a half-hearted apology and coming out with a defiant, anti-Bush promotional message during a time when his poll numbers have been in the tanker all year long, not pandering?

As 60 Minutes pointed out in their recent interview,

About the only thing that has changed is that nearly 70 percent of the American public now agrees with her, at least to some extent. The question is whether that will be enough for the Dixie Chicks to resurrect their career.

and from the NYTimes (love the title of the piece, btw [/sarcasm]),

Meanwhile the core country audience may not be so hostile anymore. The album arrives at a time when approval for President Bush has dropped to as low as 29 percent, in a recent Harris Interactive poll.

When it appears that 70 percent of Americans don't approve of President Bush's performance, is it really that brave to come out with their "defiant" message? They're basically now reaping press benefits from the bad press they got in 2003. But in my opinion, even what she said back then, wasn't "brave". I think she said it, completely oblivious to the backlash it would cause the Dixie Chicks; and she said it, before a foreign audience, when the perception is that President Bush's drumbeat to war was the direct cause of rising anti-American sentiments. From the NY Times,
At that stage too everyone in Europe, or everyone outside of the U.S., talked about the U.S. like we all thought one way. So it was important for me to let them know that you can't group us all into one."
It is dishonest to characterize what Maines said 10 days before the eve of the war in a country where public sentiment was not reflective of Prime Minister Blair's support, as "brave". Please...don't make her out to be more than she deserves.
Instead of mending fences, they seem to be burning bridges, saying that too much of the country music audience fits a stereotype — a stereotype they say doesn’t apply to their fans.

"When I looked out in the audience, I didn't see rednecks," Maquire says with a chuckle. "I saw a more progressive crowd."

Maquire says she is not trying to say the country music audience is mostly rednecks.
No comments for the just made me "lol".

Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I believe that it is a clever marketing ploy at work, here. More power to them. The only thing they need to understand, which they didn't understand in 2003, is that freedom of expression is a two-way street. They were too naive and immature to handle the backlash 3 years ago. They whined and sniveled about people's "over-reaction" to Maines' "innocuous" statement of how the Dixie Chicks felt about the President. That's fine. They have the freedom to do that. And their fans and non-fans have the freedom to not buy their albums, and to disagree with their politics.

Again from the NY Times:
On March 12 a Web site statement from Ms. Maines said: "I feel the president is ignoring the opinion of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world.
I've said it before: world leaders sometimes need to just lead; not because it is the popular thing to do, but because it is the right thing to do. You don't run a country based upon the latest gallup polls (unless you're name is Bill Clinton, and need to feel loved). Winston Churchill knew this....Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood this....and George Dubbya Bush realizes this.

And as far as "alienating" the rest of the world....anti-Americanism was on the rise long before President Bush came into office.

My comments were made in frustration, and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view."
Yes, President Bush said as much, when asked by Tom Brokaw what he thought of your remark:
"[T]he Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say...[T]hey shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out...[F]reedom is a two-way street...I...don't really care what the Dixie Chicks said. I want to do what I think is right for the American people, and if some singers or Hollywood stars feel like speaking out, that's fine. That's the great thing about America. It stands in stark contrast to Iraq..."
That's exactly right.
What your crybaby understanding seems to suggest, Maines, is that when you speak out, it's your privilege to do so as an American in a free country; when I express myself, and you end up suffering what you sowed, it's now somehow unfair.

I have the privilege to voice my approval by not supporting your music. Personally, if I like your music, I like your music; but I have the freedom of choice to not support your music, regardless of what the reasons are- whether it be a distaste of your politics, the clothes you wear, or any number of reasons you give me, not to like you.

In a way, I agree with Maines regarding some of the extremes that people went to, to express their disapproval (death threats are to be condemned and not tolerated, pure and simple); reminds me of the angry protestors on the Left when they are unhinged. But she just fails to accept that this is the risk you take; it is their perrogative, and it is her perrogative to express her personal views. Now deal with it.

On March 14, 2003, Maines offered this apology:
"As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect. We are currently in Europe and witnessing a huge anti-American sentiment as a result of the perceived rush to war. While war may remain a viable option, as a mother, I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers' lives are lost. I love my country. I am a proud American."

The problem wasn't a "rush" to war; if anything, I think 12 years of cease-fire agreements being defied was long enough. 12 years of Iraqi sufferance under sanctions, with the UN Food for Oil program doing nothing more than fill the coffers of Saddam's regime, as well as France and Germany profiteering.
Ms. Maines added: "It will mean a lot to me if people buy the album just sort of out of protest. The naysayers and the people who were so organized to take us down did a really good job. And they succeeded. So it feels good to let the music win out in the end and say, 'Even your hatred can't stop what people want to listen to.' "
See there? What did I tell ya? Clever marketing ploy at a time when they know President Bush's disapproval rating is low and support for the war here at home is low. Capitalizing on "the Incident" of 2003.....Good girls.

I'd like to think that I scored the bullseye.

Freedom Eden feathers them as wel, and has more from Time Magazinel.


Blogger Mary said...

WS, I wrote about the Chicks, too.

I reacted the exact same way to the opening of the TIME piece.

That's an unusual beginning for TIME, a bit edgy. Probably trying to compete with the New Media.


Free speech is best answered with more free speech.

Maines and the Chicks can say whatever they want and so can I.

End of story.

Monday, May 22, 2006 1:03:00 PM  
Blogger mormonbradybunchdad said...

Love how everyone says President Bush's approval rating is so low yet the Congress's approval rating is even lower. Read it here:

And I have 4 Dixie Hick's CDs that I haven't listened to since that fat Texas cow got diarrhea of the mouth about the Pres.

In the immortal words of me "Screw the Dixie Hicks!!"

Monday, May 22, 2006 2:16:00 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

I gasped when Ms Maines opened her mouth too.

However, it's been a while. They are obviously answering the following that is left for them.

Yes as always marketing is involved and the country is ripe for another "Joan Biaz" type of protest.

off the subject Word. :)

From the moderate, Me! I came across a great commentary by George WIll, my favorite conservative. It gave me a feeling of relief that Mr. Wills knows the discomfort I've been feeling lately. Thought I'd share. Who Isnt a Values Voter?

Monday, May 22, 2006 3:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I truly think, regardless of polls, they are doing more harm to themselves than good. They should stick to singing, something they actually know how to do, and leave politics to those who know something about it. But no... they are simply babbling to get the MSM to focus on them.

I agree with mormonbradybunchdad (bet he has a big family) :)
""Screw the Dixie Hicks!!"

Monday, May 22, 2006 5:03:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Thanks for the article, Sheila. I've actually never really thought about the term. Probably because it hasn't been part of my own lexicon yet.

The thing is, it's not the only word phrase that gets ratified and accepted into our language. Take pro-life and pro-choice. Each side seeks to define itself in positive language. The converse of "pro-life" implies the other side must be "pro-death" or "anti-life"; Most people are "anti-war" and want peace. I believe those who are in "the peace movement" should include military warriors who do what they do, because they believe in it is military might that keeps the peace, and allows a society to remain free.

I think this post might appeal to you. It's a very important article that every blogger should read.

Monday, May 22, 2006 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Great fisking, wordsmith!
And spot on.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 3:01:00 AM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Hi Word,

I read that article on "Emoticons" in our brains when it came out. I was so stunned by it I sent it to everyone I knew. That article actually changed my approach to how I would react to certain personalities on certain shows and writings by certain people.

Since then I've "devolved" back into a person that has been "Listening" to everyone and "Evaluating" everything.

If I get hot over a subject I reread it an hour later say, to see if I actually read the intent right an try to separate myself from the emotion so that I can face fact.

I've caught myself, a few times, at misinterpreting because of this "EMOTICON" of politics lodged in our brains. Very interesting.

I think George Will's point on "Value Voters" is important too.
There are responsiblilties on both parties toward human dignity. The RNC's original intent at Conservative/Liberal and Right/Red/Left/blue has morphed into actual prejudices that people are not wanting to admit. hatred, prejudice, political bigotry abound on the web and in your living rooms.

Now I'm not SAYING everyone who read this, that it's not DNC's fault either. BUT, let's face it. It took alwile for US to catch up, because you guys were smarter with the use of labels as personal attacks on the average citizen. Pure and simple.

WE are now ATTACKING each other as lustily as we can. We in fact have a cold war inside the United States.

So, George Wills courage on pointing out the newest label "Values Voter" as all inclusive, instead of being specifically for the Conservative voter, was spot on.

His point should be contemplated for a moment by everyone in the US without the "Emoticon" tunred on.

Thanks for the thoughts. :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 3:38:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

They have every right to say what they want, but in the process of bashing the President, they have also offended some of their own fans not to mention many in the country music business. So, when their sales diminish or their tickets don't sell, they really won't have anyone to blame but themselves.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 9:51:00 AM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

These mindless Dixietwits obviously do not care if they offend their fans.

But don't you love it when folks like this say and do things that offend their fans then scream about a "chill wind is blowing in this nation" suggesting that if we DARE to object we are somehow complicit in a silencing of dissent.

Frankly, you can say whatever you want. But I am getting tired of paying for it. It's the same reason I object to taxpayer funds being used for PBS.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 12:40:00 PM  

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