Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I wanted to write an article about the Dixie Chicks and free speech, complete with links and quotes and all that shit, but unfortunately, I missed the boat by a few months and I’m having a hard time finding all the articles that I read back when their album came out.

Anyway, I’m gonna wing it.

Maybe you don’t like the Dixie Chicks, maybe you don’t like what they had to say about the president, but I don’t see how you can’t admire them for sticking up for what they believe in.

I’m not here to debate whether it was right or wrong, publicity-mongering or people genuinely sticking up for what they believe in, I’m just going to assume that they do feel the way they claim. Seeing as they’re being shunned by country music as a whole and canceling tour dates left and right, I can’t see why they would hold on to such an unpopular stance if they didn’t stand behind it.

That said, here is how I view what happened:

They spoke their minds. They mouthed off, they were flapping their gums, whatever you want to call it.

In the immediate backlash, they apologized. I have a feeling this has more to do with their PR machine putting pressure on them than a genuine feeling of remorse, but that’s really my point here.

They basically back-tracked at this point, saying they weren’t sorry. Country music went nuts. They were banned from different stations, DJs got fired for playing their music. I don’t know if there was a Goebbels-style “CD burning” ceremony anywhere, but I wouldn’t put it past anyone.

What I want to talk about is the immense pressure put upon them by numerous sources to apologize and take back what they said.

If you haven’t agreed with anything I’ve said so far, you can’t doubt that this pressure existed. As a multi-platinum selling act, they were responsible for making a lot of people a lot of money. And those people weren’t ready to say, “good for you, stand up for what you believe in, even if it costs us all a ton of cash.”

I’m not even saying they should. There’s nothing wrong with looking out for your own interests, I guess. Not in business, anyway.

All I’m saying is that with all this pressure to shut the hell up and make friendly with people again, the Dixie Chicks told everyone to fuck off.

In this day and age, that is rare. It takes balls and I applaud them for it.

The articles I made reference to at the beginning were mostly along the lines of different program directors for the big country stations across the country saying it was a ‘fuck you’ to the fans that they released a song called “Not Ready to Make Nice” as their first single.

“Release something else,” was the predominant philosophy. Get the people into Walmart to buy the album and let them discover that song on their own – or not.

“Why do you have to cause trouble like this?” the parties with a vested interest seemed to be saying.

Here’s the thing: it is a big fuck you to their fans. But if your fans are willing to ditch you that fast, don’t they deserve a fuck you?

Everybody has the right to their own opinion and if your opinion is that what the Dixie Chicks said was wrong, then exercise that right by not buying their albums. Call the radio stations and request they not be played. But then don’t sit there and scratch your heads when they suddenly don’t want to be your friends anymore.

That’s the part of the equation that these program directors and record executives missed. I saw plenty of criticism against the Dixie Chicks for being surprised that people didn’t want to buy their albums,

I found this quote from President Bush on Wikipedia:

"[T]he Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say ... They shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out ... Freedom 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 true enough, but it goes both ways. Why is it OK for the “fans”/DJs/program directors/record executives to have their feelings hurt when the Dixie Chicks suddenly tell them to shove it, that they’re not going to play their game anymore?

And that’s what it is: a sense of betrayal. “Here’s our advice, you didn’t take it, well fuck you too.” Again, I wish I had one of these articles to quote, because there is an attitude pervading all the statements I read that smacks of bitterness.

Why am I making such a big deal about this? Because people often talk about defending free speech, but few people ever do anything about it. It seems that you’re more likely to get people to help you if you’re a Neo-Nazi and you want to hold a rally than you are if you’re dissenting from the party line in this country.

I am reminded, over and over again, of the book “The Chocolate War”. This sense of “just bow to the pressure and everything will go away and be all right again”.

Ask Howard Stern about this. For a while, he was pretty much on his own. Unfortunately for America, he is in increasingly large company. Now you can ask the Dixie Chicks.

The problem with this administration and the climate of the country, in general, is not that we’re going to war with Iraq. It’s the attitude that to speak out against the war is “un-American” and more importantly, the idea that a philosophy like that is acceptable in a free society.

It is not.

People with the courage to stand up for what they believe in, regardless of the validity of what they’re saying, are a dying breed.

Am I saying that every idiot with some crackpot theory about 9/11 be applauded for their bravery? No. But we should recognize their right to say it? I think we have to. Because who are we going to entrust with the authority to sort out the crackpots from the dissident voices that make sense? The government? I hope you see the lunacy of that idea.


Blogger perkyrich said...

Everyone one thinks the Dixie Chicks are great heroines for "not backing down." However, they must realize that the very man they loathe has NEVER backed down either. Bush has remained vigilant and does exactly what he says and also stands up for what he believes in. I don't hear the Chicks saying that "they don't agree with him, but it's great that he won't back down." They really don't see freedom as a two way street.
Also, this situation has been such a part of their identity, what will they do when 2008 rolls around and Bush is gone?
Finally, in their song "not ready to make nice" she sings of "how could a mother teach a daughter to hate a perfect stranger?" Well I'm sure the Chicks are not teaching their children not to hate Bush because they don't really know him. And for that matter, Bush is as much a stranger to the Chicks. (and don't say that because he's in pulblic office everyone knows him, because the same can be said for the chicks being in the spotlight too.)

The bottom line is, you don't let thousands of people make you very rich and then once you're at the top, look down and say, "fuck you" we don't care if you like us and we don't want you as fans anymore. If those "fans they don't want" weren't there in the first place we would be having this conversation, and short of a few visits to a Texas county fair, must of us would be saying "dixie who?"

7:05 AM  
Blogger Mike Mongo said...

Interesting piece. However as to the comment by perkyrich, George has never "stood up" to "back down" in the first place. All George has done is react, and regularly back-pedal. As for the Dixie Chicks offending the fans who got them where they are today, each of us rises to positions of some influence, be it small or great or otherwise, and THEN uses that influence. Not before, but after.

11:18 AM  
Blogger perkyrich said...

Has never stood up? Are you joking? Have you missed the multiple press conferences where he reitterates over and over his stance on Iraq? Not pulling out before the job is done, IS standing up. There is no back-peddaling there. If he did, we wouldn't still be over there.
Also, you never touched base on what will happen in 2008 when he is gone. You can only sing about how you were "wronged" for so long. And furthermore, if you have watched ANY Chicks interviews you would see who REALLY does the back-peddaling. "We were mis-quoted, that was taken out of context" seems to be stated ALOT by the chicks...(direct quotes from their interview on Lary King in regards to their latest interview in Time magazine"
Sounds to me the chicks are learning how to eat crow. And they may be "using their influence" as you state, but that still doesn't make what they did (thumbing off fans) right or make the little girls who had parnets fork over Lots of money for CDs and concert tickets feel any better.

4:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where I can find the FUTK t-shirts?

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In the immediate backlash, they apologized. I have a feeling this has more to do with their PR machine putting pressure on them than a genuine feeling of remorse, but that’s really my point here." seems they backed off there.......

and anyways those dixie "chicks" (and i use that term loosely) didnt even diss the President in the U.S., where they would have been booed off the stage, they did it behind AMerica's back in France, a anti-Bush country. Good job you freaking idiots, way to be heroes! Those Dixie Hicks are busy dissing the troops and Bush while men like Toby Keith take time to go sing for the troops increasing morale. The Dixie Chicks should go in a category with Kerry and Kinky Friedman, as some of the greatest losers ever. And ever since the Hicks put out ANOTHER country sing, which they promised never to do again, (again...another backtrack....couldnt make it anywhere else?) the American people will stand up and forget the Hicks, and they will run to their French fans..because Americans realize that backstabbing your country by dissing it in another country is unforgivable....especially when no real remorse is evidenced

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, their comment was made in Britian, not France. Big difference. Second of all, the whole point of going into Iraq was supposed to be to promote democracy. (not oil ;) ) Anyway, part of what makes our country great it freedom of speech, so why is it so bad that they spoke their mind. A wise mad once said, I don't agree with what he is saying, but I will defend his right to say it. Not that I am saying I don't agree with the Dixie Chicks. I love them.

1:13 PM  
Blogger chixfan01 said...

okay, first off, if anyone listens to the lyrics of not ready to make nice, i dont hear a fuck you directed to the fans at all, it is a fuck you to assholes like Mike berlak and steve goss at clear channel, the CMA's and country weekly, and all the people who smashed their albums or whatever.

As to perkyrich (obviously republican) and his/her comment about what about 2008? They were the top selling female group in music history BEFORE the incident, so I'm pretty fucking sure they have the musical talent to go on LONG after your so-called elected president is gone. what a puppet.

The comment was made in London, on a night where thousands and thousands of war protesters were out in the streets protesting a war that should never have happened it the first place. maybe they were wrong (i don't think so) but for fuck sakes you fucking republican americans are so fucking whiney if anyone disses the moron its pathetic. you didnt hear any canadians whining about people imitating jean chretiens disfigured face did you? why? because we dont wave our flag like a bunch of backwoods yoohoos.

8:25 PM  
Blogger chixfan01 said...

and when did they ever promise never to put out a song again anonymous? because i've never heard that

8:28 PM  
Blogger chixfan01 said...

anonymous #1

re" where to find the FUTK shirt, i made my own (well took a shirt to a print shop)

Thinking now i will make a F.U.G.B. shirt

8:31 PM  
Blogger perkyrich said...

well, chicks fan, let me tell you something, I AM CANADIAN, so there goes that theory. How can you even begin to compare jean cretien's ugly mug to a president at war time. I'm not whinning, by the way, and this war was not about oil. You are very ignorant, but when you get most of your news from CBC what can I expect? ps. the lyrics for "Not ready to make nice" are about their statements towards the president, they have said so multiple times in multiple interviews. You are very ignorant in the true sense of the word "lack of knowledge."

12:21 PM  
Blogger perkyrich said...

Also, funny, Martie and Emily are booting Natalie out of the group because she can't keep her mouth shut, and their album sales and ticket sales are WAY down. Infact, they had to cancel MAJOR tour stops in the states liek Nashville for weenie cities like, St. John New Brunswick to "Accomidate Demand?" Give me a break. They should've made Natalie eat her own words and "shut up and sing."

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it in our country these days we value strong and wrong...over weak and right?

President Bush thinks he has a direct line to God. Osama Bin Laden thinks the same thing. Are we just destined to destroy ourselves because of the vainglorious ambitions of two spoiled rich kids who suddenly found themselves in power after they found Jesus/Allah?

No thanks. I'm interested in asserting my rights as an American. If I want to say I'm embarassed to be American because of the's my right. Remember he was installed, not elected by a majority the first time around.

"Everyone one thinks the Dixie Chicks are great heroines for "not backing down." However, they must realize that the very man they loathe has NEVER backed down either. Bush has remained vigilant and does exactly what he says and also stands up for what he believes in"

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Author, the whole premise of the article comes down to this:

"That’s true enough, but it goes both ways. Why is it OK for the “fans”/DJs/program directors/record executives to have their feelings hurt when the Dixie Chicks suddenly tell them to shove it, that they’re not going to play their game anymore?"

Sorry, I don't see it. What I do see is those same people irritated that the DC come out and act like it is about freedom of speech. WHen clearly they can say what they want and noone has argued otherwise. The worst straw-man argument EVER.

Shame on you for following for it.

12:31 PM  

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