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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Shut Up & Sing!

And Also: An author of an upcoming book on the myth of tort suits run riot has a tasty blog (h/t Washington Monthly). See here for an "accord" to an argument in support of the Afghan War as compared to the one in Iraq. I see much merit in the points made by the original article though think more thought had to be put in the authorization. Can we please make this mandatory from now on? Remember to set back your clocks.

[H]ow in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter
Sayin' that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over.

-- "Not Ready to Make Nice"

There is a book out there entitled Shut Up and Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN are Subverting America by Laura Ingraham, which Publishers Weekly over at Amazon notes: "To the author of this vociferous but ill-supported right wing screed, membership in the elite is not an objective position of wealth, power or influence." We are also told that it was published by Regnery Publishing (supplier of chunks of loud mouth conservative propaganda), which gives the knowledgeable fair warning of what it likely offers.

The Amazon entry also notes that it was published in September, 2003, which is notable since the title clearly references an event (that the index suggests is directly addressed by about five pages of the text) that took place only six months before. On March 10, the leader singer of the popular country music (with an independent streak) group the Dixie Chicks noted in between songs at a London concert that "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." This after connecting it to the upcoming war that said president was shoving down our throats.

This was reported by the British press, soon becoming a major controversy in the U.S. with the help of the usual right wing troublemakers. It had a particularly strong effect though in that country music radio stations -- as a result of listener complaints -- stopped playing their songs. We also had public demonstrations where their CDs were destroyed or tossed in the trash. Various shades of the complaint -- criticizing "our" president, doing so overseas, etc.

They did play at a scheduled Southern locale booking, so clearly it is not like all listeners were APPALLED by what Natalie Maines (who I'd think showed signs of liberal politics before then ... the group also has a song out concerning killing a wife abuser) said. But, it did have serious economic consequences. It also suggests a certain culture clash. People like myself are rather appalled that a single line of criticism, one as war many found horrendous was upon us, was deemed so horrible. Is this our America?

A group that had just played at the Super Bowl, so typically Southern country that Hank Hill of King of The Hill praised them, would become persona non grata because of one remark? Well, sure, when Toby Keith put Maines together with Saddam for her sins, some gas was tossed on the fire by the resulting feud. But, the documentary Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing reaffirms the basic problem with the controversy.

A dislike of the values that many of us find basic to what we love about this country. Sure, there also is the point that the "pox on both their houses" line simply is b.s. We see this in campaign advertising. We see this when congressional scholars from the center/right speak of the "broken branch," underlining that the Republicans broke it considerably more than the obviously with sin Democrats.

But, how in the hell are people supposed to be all shocked when a singer known for being a bit outspoken basically speaks her mind? And, not exactly in extended fashion ... just a passing remark that apparently is somehow treasonous. Criticism of the President is treasonous? Talking about not ready to make nice. The documentary btw is largely a sort of behind the scenes deal that could fit well on VH1 (the documentary mentions MTV is too "young" for them, but VH1 would still find them appropriate), which has a "Storytellers" (music plus a bit of commentary) feature starring the band Saturday night at 9PM. We see their family -- cute babies -- and some behind the scenes strategy sessions.

You know, beautiful (with an interesting look, especially the eyes) smart talented babes with families of whom this country should be proud. And, again, many are. True enough they are so "controversial" that major networks do not want to air [preview link provided] ads for the documentary. But, the fact nothing much good is on network t.v. is not news, is it? Sheesh ... Lorelai is back with Christopher for crying out loud!

No shock CW doesn't want to air it. As to DC, they survived, and now apparently realize that some of their fans only wanted them to be a wee bit outspoken. And, hey, I know many musicians have a certain "brand," and country/bluegrass music fans down South don't want certain things from their "talent" any more than let's say U2 fans in different sort of way. But, NM wasn't out there on the street protesting or something. And, again, I doubt her views were not noticeably liberal in other ways too. She isn't dumb -- they didn't realize such a comment would cause so much trouble. It shouldn't have.

Anyway, I enjoyed the documentary, a well made effort by a pro at this sort of thing. It's in limited release, but worth a watch ... or there's the VH1 deal. Their official website is here. See also, this ACLU advertisement starring Natalie Maines.

And, speak up and sing!