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The Dixie Chicks

Just a brief comment regarding the Dixie Chicks. As no one has been threatening to sling their boney arses in jail, I do rather think the ‘fighting against censorship’ and ‘striking a blow for free speech’ meme that is floating around is a bit odd.

They freely said what they wanted, as have the people who freely slagged them off for doing so… that they may have suffered negative commercial consequences for this entirely fair use of their gobs is neither here nor there regarding their right to sound off.

That we have the liberty to speak our minds is vital and an objective right, the absence of which means tyranny pure and simple… but that does not always make it a good idea. You may think your boss is a stupid malodorous clown, and you cannot be sent to jail for saying that to him whilst the entire office listens, however…

36 comments to The Dixie Chicks

  • Who the fuck are the Dixie Chicks?

  • S. Weasel

    Oh, America has always been full of idiots who believe the first amendment guarantees them the right to say anything they want anywhere they want with no consequences. Anyone who’s ever held a job knows this isn’t so, but that class doesn’t include many celebrities. Any time a famous Lefty gets popped for saying something stupid, count on it — he or she will be scratching pentagrams on the floor and invoking the tired old shade of Joe McCarthy before you can say “Hollywood blacklist.”

    What’s interesting about this one is how it’s adopted bits of another Lefty cliché — a wicked, evil Big Corporation is behind it all. You know…people smoke because Big Tobacco told them to, and we went to war in Iraq because Big Oil wanted us to, and thousands of flag-waving country music fans couldn’t possibly have decided to boycott the Chicks all by themselves. Big Radio is behind it. Specifically, Clear Channel Communications, which owns about 1,200 stations.

    “Some of” their stations were “among the first” to call for a boycott. Pretty damning, huh?

  • Aaron Ardvark

    Patrick obviously lives under a rock somewhere :-)

  • Elizabeth

    I really liked the Dixie Chicks music. However, in my mind their voices are now forever tainted with the echo of stupidity.

    What bothered me most was the comment made by Natalie while in Europe, catering to a European audience and either lied about or truthfully confessed that her entire perception about a possible war with Iraq was based on media reports while IN Europe over a two week time span.

    Now she is complaining that she does not want to experience the consequences of her own actions. But we are all accountable for every decision we make. Either she will learn or become more and more of an angry chick, just as Garofalo seems to be.

    Thinking of Janine Garofalo, did she have to step outside of her own personality to play the role of the mean angry short chick in Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion?

  • Catherine

    For all of their complaining, tears, they got a prime time intervew which I didn’t watch, and being talked about all over for being naked on entertainment weekly with such slogans as “Saddam Slut” painted on them, they are getting a LOT of publicity for pandering to a foreign audience. That’s why I think the tears are “crockodile” because if they wanted this thing to die, they wouldn’t be posing in the nude, whining about their dissent being crushed.

    S. Weasel got it right. They yap and when the fans who gave them the microphone complain, they whine McCarthyism or that their patriotism is being questioned. Jessica Lange told a reporter in Spain that she hates Bush, then comes to America afterwards on Letterman (while he was out with Shingles and they had has beens on) to complain about her rights. She got more publicity for this than she has for anything in 20 years!

    Meanwhile, Janine Garafalo said she was just a C-list comedian/actress before and she said all the morning news programs that have had her on have made her bonafide semi-famous.

    Not bad for all of their suffering. Poor babies…

  • Catherine

    For all of their complaining, tears, they got a prime time intervew which I didn’t watch, and being talked about all over for being naked on entertainment weekly with such slogans as “Saddam Slut” painted on them, they are getting a LOT of publicity for pandering to a foreign audience. That’s why I think the tears are “crockodile” because if they wanted this thing to die, they wouldn’t be posing in the nude, whining about their dissent being crushed.

    S. Weasel got it right. They yap and when the fans who gave them the microphone complain, they whine McCarthyism or that their patriotism is being questioned. Jessica Lange told a reporter in Spain that she hates Bush, then comes to America afterwards on Letterman (while he was out with Shingles and they had has beens on) to complain about her rights. She got more publicity for this than she has for anything in 20 years!

    Meanwhile, Janine Garafalo said she was just a C-list comedian/actress before and she said all the morning news programs that have had her on have made her bonafide semi-famous.

    Not bad for all of their suffering. Poor babies…

  • The United States Constitution can be summed up in one word… No. It was designed to establish the Federal governments limitations to local governments. The federalist papers were written at the time of ratification by the colonies/states to ‘sell’ that document and the resultant discussions resulted in the inclusion of the Bill of Rights to establish the Federal governments limitations to individual citizens.
    So the first lie of the Hollywood Celiberals is that anyone is ‘suppressing dissent’…

    But the Dixie Chicks are special… or rather especially stupid.
    First… they spoke out in a very public forum in Germany and England while Germany screwed America and England struggled to ‘do the right thing’. This upset alot of people in the States because they contributed nothing to the dialogue beyond the simple pandering to their audience with the standard leftist fare of ‘Bush is so stupid’…
    Second… the pandering. If they are so willing to pander to these Eunichs then when they wrap themselves in the American flag as ‘country music’ artists or sing the national anthem at the Super-Bowl are they not pandering?
    Finally… they did it at the height of their popularity. Sheryl Crow is also a country music ‘cross-over’ and said stupid things but her career is over… what does she have to lose?

    So… stupid remarks, in the worst place, at the worst time, that insult their core audience. Country music fans are called ‘country’ because they are flag waving patriots and President Bush was elected by Rural America in a defeat of the urban candidate Gore… Rural Country America discovered it was despised by the very Dixie Chicks it supported…

    So it stopped supporting them… end of story.

  • Jenn

    The sherrif’s quote at the end of this article suggests the claims of vandalism are false.

  • Jenn

    The sheriff’s quote at the end of this article suggests the claims of vandalism are false.

  • I am with Patrick on this one….never heard of Dixie Chicks until today and I don’t live under a rock!!!

  • I had never heard of them either.

    Mind you, surely there is a line between people quite reasonably telling them their views are stupid or inappropriate, and death threats?

    If the death threats bit is real & not invented, I would set that bit well apart from them not getting their songs played.

  • set

    Read this week’s The Onion. Go to the What do you Think section. I agree with the Graduate Student’s assessment of the situation.

  • Byron

    What the Dixie Chicks are learning, hopefully, is that the Constitution grants them the right to free speech, but not the right to sell records, be rich, or even make any money at all. They’re also learning that their fans owe them nothing and they owe their fans everything.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    The funny thing is that many of the people who are shrieking now about free speech were perfectly willing back in 1998 to call for boycotts of Reggie White when he made his controversial comments about gays when addressing the Wisconsin legislature several years back.

    (At the time, my thinking was “Good on Reggie!” I realized that the politicians were trying to exploit his status as a famous football player, and he did something (albeit inadvertantly) that said “bug off” to their attempts at exploiting him. We need more people to treat politicians this way.)

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    The funny thing is that many of the people who are shrieking now about free speech were perfectly willing back in 1998 to call for boycotts of Reggie White when he made his controversial comments about gays when addressing the Wisconsin legislature several years back.

    (At the time, my thinking was “Good on Reggie!” I realized that the politicians were trying to exploit his status as a famous football player, and he did something (albeit inadvertantly) that said “bug off” to their attempts at exploiting him. We need more people to treat politicians this way.)

  • Yeah I agree with you for the most part – and really I have no great interest in anything the dixie chicks have to say, on iraq, on texas, on gwb, on music. They said their bit, got famous, got criticised and apologised. Who cares? The thing that causes me slight concern is the banality of their words, something like, “we’re ashamed gwb is from texas”, and the extreme reaction which it seemed to spark. The extreme reaction it seems to me was flamed by the media anxious for an enemy within to berate and many, many people seem to have been suckered into going along with it all.

    The role of the media is one that interests me. In the UK our broadcast media is regulated to ensure impartiality in news output whereas our print media is not. The result is that you can trust the TV news wheras you need to read two or three newspapers to get a semblance of balance. Is it not as bad for a corporation to corrupt the people as it is for a state to control the media output?

  • The Dixie Chicks should meet Robin Page.

  • …the Constitution grants them the right to free speech…

    Everytime I see that in America I grimace. A constitution is a product of a state and what the state giveth, the state may taketh away. The right was never the constitution’s (which is to say, the state’s) to grant, it was yours the day you were born.

  • Oh Paul, Paul, Paul… I am a-pauled (sorry).

    Firstly if you think that “in the UK our broadcast media is regulated to ensure impartiality in news output”, what regulation did you have in mind that you think ensures that? Were you under the impression SkyNews, ITV and the BBC all put the same spin on things?

    Secondly, I assume you are not a regular reader of Biased BBC then?

    The notion of the state regulating-for-fairness is rather like a brothel holding a ‘screwing-for-virginity’ festival.

  • Byron

    A constitution is a product of a state and what the state giveth, the state may taketh away. The right was never the constitution’s (which is to say, the state’s) to grant, it was yours the day you were born.

    Actually, there are no inalienable rights. Rights are a product of civilization and human idealism, not nature. The only natural rights are that those who have the wealth and/or power make the rules. America is a complete aberation in that GW had the power yet willingly chose to grant universal rights to his country, and guaranteed those rights in its government’s constitution. Rights are for government to grant or the people to demand, but there is no natural right to or guarantee of them.

  • Paul,

    Please do not hesitate to correct me if I am misreading you, but you appear to be in favour of ‘regulation’ of the media to ensure ‘impartiality’.

    Regulation made by whom? Enforced by whom? Is that not state control of the media? If no, then what is?

  • Jenn

    In a recent interview with President Bush, Tom Brokaw asked the President if he was concerned about the effect the backlash against anti-war celebrities was having on free speech. President Bush’s response was to say that freedom of speech was a two-way street, and that it was too bad the Dixie Chicks got their feelings hurt. It was quite an amusing moment.

    Paul:

    I believe the reason why there was such an “extreme reaction” to the Chicks in particular is that they poisoned the well from which they draw. Sure, there are tons of people who are annoyed by Martin Sheen, Janine Garafalo, etc., but the large portion of those celebrities’ fans are probably either indifferent or also liberal. Though the Dixie Chicks are much more mainstream now, their biggest fan base is the flag waving Country Music crowd. This crowd can be overly sensitive about what they see as unpatriotic. This is the same crowd that would also be hypersensitive about what they perceive as someone airing their dirty laundry in the neighbor’s yard. Yes, they probably overreacted, but I think that’s exactly why the Chicks have gotten such a hard time. The fans felt betrayed and made a big stink about it, and then the media ran with it.

    For the rest of you who haven’t heard of the Dixie Chicks:

    The Dixie Chicks are very well known in the U.S., but they’re probably only popular overseas to Bluegrass and Country fans. They’ve become a lot more mainstream lately because of their cover of Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide,” which has been played on pop radio stations. It’s not for everyone, but their music is very good. I haven’t ran over my Chicks CDs with a tractor, but, to let my annoyance over their whining wear off, I’ll probably wait a while longer before I pop one into my stereo.

  • Susan

    Freedom of speech does not exist in Hollywood! The William Morris Agency, talent representive for numerous “free speech”? entertainers have taken action to shut down the blog site “Boycott Hollywood” This power play exhibited by the entertainment industry sounds like the
    Dr. Laura boycott syndrome, as long as entertainers rule the world, there will be no free speech.

  • Byron wrote:
    Actually, there are no inalienable rights. Rights are a product of civilization and human idealism, not nature. The only natural rights are that those who have the wealth and/or power make the rules. America is a complete aberation in that GW had the power yet willingly chose to grant universal rights to his country, and guaranteed those rights in its government’s constitution. Rights are for government to grant or the people to demand, but there is no natural right to or guarantee of them.

    If rights may be defined only in social context, it does not follow that they are therefore gifts of the state. It also does not mean that rights are not real or absolute. That some people have more power than others is merely an observation: it is true but justifies nothing. (Some people commit murder. In what relativistic universe does the fact that people do something justify it?) Even slaves have rights, though these rights are not recognized by the slaveholders. Rights may be violated but cannot be alienated. Might does not make right.

  • Actually, there are no inalienable rights.

    You are confusing several quite different things. I never said rights were inalienable, just that their origin are objective… clearly if you threaten to rob me, you have alienated your right to not have be bash you in the head.

    However rights are indeed derived objectively from reason… it is the manner in which they are exercised and protected (or not) that is a facet of ‘civilization’ not unrelated to utilitarian matters like ‘who has the guns’… but that does not change the underlying objective facts upon which rights are based.

    And pleeeeease, gimme a break. The USA is not unique with regard to the exercise of a modicum of liberty now, nor was it in 1776, or 1876 or 1976… Whilst I am a great admirer of many aspects of the American branch of Anglosphere culture both now and historically, let us not forget that Jefferson was a great thinker but also owned slaves as well.

  • Boycott Hollywood

    Three cheers for Hollywood >:-|

  • Boycott Hollywood

    Three cheers for Hollywood >:-|

  • John J. Coupal

    It’s important to note that the so-called right to free speech is not coupled with a mandated responsibility for “an audience” to either listen to, or be pleased with, the speech.

    What choices do YOU have when hearing speech you don’t like?

    The Dixie Chicks are learning what some of those choces are.

  • Sam Boogliodemus

    Why are there so many double postings?
    What’s up with that?

  • I said it ‘interests me’ which I hereby widen in scope to ‘confuses me’, ‘confounds me’ or ‘concerns me’!

    I’m not a regular reader of Biased-BBC although I do read Andrew Sullivan from time to time. I admit to being torn between (what i see as) benign state regulation in the form of the ITC Programme Code and BBC Guidelines on Impartiality and a system where the state has no role in regulation thus enabling corporations to promote a partial agenda.

    Instinctively I go for the state not having a role, letting market forces rule, but I am conscious of a general decline in the quality of programming which results when the money is made by programming for quantity of viewers rather than quality of output. I believe that Minorities must be protected and that outcome is not achieved by the marketplace.

    The notion of the state regulating-for-fairness is rather like a brothel holding a ‘screwing-for-virginity’ festival.

    So how should it work? What would be a better system?

  • I said it ‘interests me’ which I hereby widen in scope to ‘confuses me’, ‘confounds me’ or ‘concerns me’!

    I’m not a regular reader of Biased-BBC although I do read Andrew Sullivan from time to time. I admit to being torn between (what i see as) benign state regulation in the form of the ITC Programme Code and BBC Guidelines on Impartiality and a system where the state has no role in regulation thus enabling corporations to promote a partial agenda.

    Instinctively I go for the state not having a role, letting market forces rule, but I am conscious of a general decline in the quality of programming which results when the money is made by programming for quantity of viewers rather than quality of output. I believe that Minorities must be protected and that outcome is not achieved by the marketplace.

    The notion of the state regulating-for-fairness is rather like a brothel holding a ‘screwing-for-virginity’ festival.

    So how should it work? What would be a better system?

  • CRL

    I do not care about the Dixie Chicks. I am not a fan and have never actually heard any of their music. I also firmly believe that they reap what they sow — they have the right to say whatever they like, but they (and celebrities in general) should also know that they are a commodity, a product — not policymakers, not “great thinkers,” they are a product, and their words will drive the market worth of that product up and down. They miscalculated their fan base — whatever principle they were voicing is immaterial to me. Their statement neither offends me nor cheers me up. (Or whatever.) It’s their opinion. (Not mine, btw.)

    The problem with the way the “Chicks” were handled isn’t that they wanted people to say only nice things to them — it’s that the State Legislature decided to force them to put on a free concert in South Carolina for the troops, “to apologize to President Bush.” This was a goverment mandate. (The results of this action are currently up in the air — no concert has yet been scheduled.) But you can’t tell me that proper libertarians would agree with this kind of government interference. Of COURSE free speech does not mean freedom from the consequences of your speech. This in not in question at all, at least not for me. But free speech SHOULD bloody well mean that you are not required to apologize when you are not sorry (and you haven’t actually committed a crime). They are a commodity, as I have said, and a free concert is basically a donation of their time, which is to me equivalent to a monetary fine.

    The measure was introduced by Representative Catherine Ceips, and the South Carolina House of Representatives passed it 50-35.

    Quote: “A free concert for troops would be a good way for Maines to show she’s sorry and could address concerns of people who say they don’t want the group to perform in South Carolina at all. I think it’s an olive branch to the Dixie Chicks.”

    Here’s the link.

    http://launch.yahoo.com/read/news.asp?contentID=212720

  • CRL

    Perry: And pleeeeease, gimme a break. The USA is not unique with regard to the exercise of a modicum of liberty now, nor was it in 1776, or 1876 or 1976… Whilst I am a great admirer of many aspects of the American branch of Anglosphere culture both now and historically, let us not forget that Jefferson was a great thinker but also owned slaves as well.
    ————————–
    As a black person and an American as well, I always find that statement particularly annoying — not because it is without truth or merit, but because it’s generally pulled out just to stop a conversation.

    I’m not accusing Perry, per se, or directly, or whatever — I’m actually thinking of a good friend of mine who recently pulled that one on me. And her purpose was not to decry slavery for the evil it was and the effect it had on some of my ancestors and on modern times, or how we can learn from the past and live our lives better in the present — it was basically just to point out that “America is not that great.” Subtext: England is better. She’s English. I love her, but am still annoyed. Not even getting into the extremely international nature of the slave trade, or that Jefferson was “British” before he was ever “American.”)

    Two hundred years from now, people are going to find our society horrible because we ate animals or some other such dreadful and barbaric practice that will never have occured to our primitive ancient minds. It’s going to dreadfully offend their enlightened futuristic sensibilities. Does that undermine every good idea we ever did, or negate the validity of every positive thing we’ve done? Yeah, Jefforson had slaves — so did everybody. If I can get over it, anybody can, I would think.

    However, at least Perry acknowledged that he was a great thinker, which is atypical. I appreciate it. (And I do see how the American tendency to believe, and repeat, loudly and often, that we are the only “free society” in the world, in the history of the world, could get annoying. It always throws me when a Prez is referred to as the “leader of the Free World.”)

    (Caveat: Yes I too eat animals and they are delicious.)

  • I think the most accurate statement about the unsanctioned citizen referendum of 1776-1781 is that Jefferson et. al. advanced liberty but did not perfect it.

  • I’m not sure that one could truly characterize Natalie Maines arse as “bony”.