Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing (2006)

Posted: April 17, 2011 in Uncategorized
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DVD: Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing (Full Screen Edition)

Ugly America cuts loose on the country / pop girl band. A bit of recent American history shows what inbred redneck fascism looks like, and how irrational it is at its core.

The Dixie Chicks showed courage in the face of death threats, boycotts, hate speech and open season on Fox News (sic). The attacks were coordinated by freerepublic.com, the militant super-ignorant wing of American politics. Free republic successfully got the country rabble all riled up and venting their two minutes hate toward the band.

It was all quite ugly, but the Chicks faced up to it and stood tall at their 2003 concert series. Surrounded by 20,000 in an arena, where some faction was hostile and there purely to disrupt, it took guts to go on and face the crowds.

“Natalie Maines will be shot dead July 6 in Dallas Texas.”

This was the 2003 death threat received by the band.

The willingness of the American right to embrace terrorism allegedly in some vague “war against terrorism” never ceases to amaze. As the Iraq war had nothing to do with terrorism at all, but was sold as “disarming” Saddam Hussein of weapons he didn’t have, the entire war could be considered a brutal unprovoked war crime. So what are these people about, beside some red, white and blue drenched pretense at bullying the world? The bullying, closer to home, is directed at anyone who disagrees: anti-war voices, political opponents. Bullies are terrorists, the mindset is the same: might makes right.

As for the Dixie Chicks, I would have preferred them to take a stronger stance than they did, and to not apologize for their 2003 comments (which Natalie Maines did retract the apology by the end of the film). Still, no one knows what they would have done in their place.
In a way, the film shows us a glimpse of a media creation a “brand” called the Dixie Chicks, and its public relations strategies. As a corporate product, their value rose and fell… and rose again. Not such a big story there.

But the band has an intoxicating, unique sound that rose above the standard country music genre. This crossover, and Natalie’s quite talented voice, elevated them. They wound up at a higher place than they would have otherwise, in my opinion. They progressed as artists, as citizens, and their later music impresses me more than their earlier works.

In the end, the Dixie Chicks were not silenced. For that bit of heroism, we should give them a listen.

  1. John O'Leary says:

    Great post. Great film. Just watched it this week. There was Bill O’Reilly saying “They ought to be slapped around.” America at its finest.

    I’m going to be writing up the Chicks in my upcoming book, “Business Lessons From Rock”, as an example of a small business team that danced to its own beat. As Time Magazine wrote, “One country and one form of music aren’t enough to contain them or stifle their passion. They’ll sing but they won’t shut up.” And we’re all better off for it.

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