Sunday, October 15, 2006

I'm not ready to make nice: Shut up and sing

Remember the hissy fit wingers threw after the Dixie Chick's Natalie Maines had the nerve to dis poor wittle GWBushie in March of '03:
Country stations across the United States have pulled the Chicks from playlists following reports that lead singer Natalie Maines said in a concert in London earlier this week that she was "ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

. . .

One station in Kansas City, Missouri held a Dixie "chicken toss" party Friday morning, where Chick critics were encouraged to dump the group's tapes, CDs and concert tickets into trash cans.

Houston country station KILT pulled the band's records from its playlist -- at least temporarily -- after 77 percent of people polled on its Web site said they supported the move.

"We've got them off the air for right now," said Jeff Garrison, program director at KILT, which is owned by Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting Corp.

They have a new documentary coming out, called Shut Up And Sing:

Early reviews for the movie are giving it kudos for being a great documentary with an almost unbelievable amount of behind-the-scenes access to the Dixie Chicks’ professional and personal lives. Directed by Academy-Award winning documentary maker Barbara Kopple and Cecelia Peck, the movie chronicles the Dixie Chicks from the now infamous offhand remark on stage in London in March 2003 to the present. The Weinstein Company is distributing the film which is currently slated for theatrical release in the U.S. in November. International release dates are to be announced.

View the trailer here.

Of course the manufactured outrage fed red meat to bloodthirsty winger pundits and jingoistic rednecks. My friend Howie Klien says:
According to a story from sent to RRC by former Reprise president Howie Klein, "Phone calls originating from Republican Party headquarters in Washington went out to country stations, urging them to remove the Chicks from their playlists.The 'alternative concert' [to the Dixie Chicks' tour opener] is actually the work of the South Carolina Republican Party and party officials are helping promote the concert.We received a call from 'Gallagher's Army,' urging us to support the alternative concert. Caller ID backtraced the call to South Carolina GOP headquarters."

And this from Paul Krugman (Yes, that Paul Krugman):
The Dixie Chicks were labled "Traitors to Country Music" after lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." Maines's comment angered so many fans that protesters destroyed a heap of Dixie Chicks CDs with a 33,000-pound tractor.

At least that's what you've been lead to think. Now, Paul Krugman at the New York Times claims that the pro-war, anti-Dixie Chick rallies have been organized by a large Texas media corporation, Clear Channel Communications, which oversees over 1,200 stations with "iron-fisted centralized control." According to Krugman, Clear Channel has clear ties to the current administration: Tom Hicks, Clear Channel's vice chairman, purchased the Texas Rangers from then-Governor Bush, and, along with Clear Channel chairman Lowry Mays, Mr. Hicks utilized his position on the University of Texas Investment Management Company to invest heavily in Republican or Bush-involved enterprises. In other words, Krugman argues, this is a case of businesses doing favors for politicians, in exchange for the business-friendly policies this administration has been known to favor.

How accurate is this? Krugman has been known for being fairly anti-Bush. But if his accusations are true, this is an uncomfortable example of central political influence over one of the big media corporations that now control much of our information.

Krugman's op-ed column is here.

Further proof of a coordinated action by Right Wingers to supress the Dixie Chicks can be found here:

Oh, and ├╝ber-rocker Pat Boone said at WorldNutDaily:
"I have four daughters, and I taught them to respect their elders, even if they weren't president of the United States," Boone told Fox News host Neil Cavuto today. "I think it's outrageous for any of these performers to be bashing our president the way they are."

Sure, dude. Of course that could only lead to ridiculous criticism, and death threats, clearly by a freedom-loving American:
"There was one specific death threat on Natalie. [It] had a time, had a place, had a weapon. I mean, everything," banjo player Emily Robison recalls. "This was at our show in Dallas. 'You will be shot dead at your show in Dallas' on whatever the date was," she says.

The FBI and the Texas Rangers were brought in, says Maines. "We flew in on a jet … and we went straight from the police cars to the stage and straight from the stage back to the police cars and back to the plane. So, you know, it was all surreal. But at that stage everything was surreal," she remembers.

Also, for a little more about free speech and the Chicks, read this link:
“Freedom of speech is also supposed to be a Canadian tradition, but not so, ironically, at the September 12 world premiere of the new Barbara Kopple film “Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing,” which documents the group’s 2003 world tour and the fallout from their anti-war comments.”
And in case anyone, anyone! ever doubts the patriotism of these women, watch, and more importantly listen to them sing The Star Spangled Banner. If you are not moved, then your soul is dead: