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.Um...how 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."
No comments for the above....it just made me "lol".
Maquire says she is not trying to say the country music audience is mostly rednecks.
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.
Yes, President Bush said as much, when asked by Tom Brokaw what he thought of your remark:
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."
"[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.