Shut Up and Sing
What Natalie,like many on the left, fails to understand is that nothing in life is ever free. Freedom of speech has many limits: just try yelling "Fire" in a movie theatre or "Hijack" on a plane, or issue libelous or defamatory comments and watch where freedom of speech lands you.
All choices we make in life have consequences. When you exercise your right to "free speech" or "freedom of expression" there will always be consequences.
As The Dixie Chicks watched their careers tank, and revenues plummet- the inescapable result of the universal law of action/reaction and of Americans exercising their freedom of expression - panic set in and in an act of desperation and even more stupidity The Dixie Chicks chose to further insult country music fans and the Nashville music community when fiddle player Martie Maguire said the group "would rather have fans “who get it” instead of “people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith.”
And so in response to Martie's further insult, The Nashville Country Music Association members shut out The Dixie Chicks. But the uber- left wing NARAS aka The Recording Academy chose to "vindicate" the Dixie Chicks by not only nominating them in five categories but also by awarding them the three top Grammy's for Album, Record, and Song of the Year, as well as two other awards for best country album and best country group performance. As Alanis Morrisette once posited, "Isn't It Ironic?"
It is obvious that there exists an ideological divide between the Nashville music establishment and the membership that comprises NARAS, which clearly reflects the ideological divide that is growing deeper within the US.
When Joan Baez introduced The Dixie Chicks as "courageous" it proved just how blind and foolish the so called "intelligentsia and progressives" have always been and continue to remain.
I find it astounding, and yet not surprising, that Baez would be deluded enough to think for one moment that a US citizen living in the US, insulting her President and her core audience would be a courageous act. We do not jail, behead, or torture any citizen that does so. So what is it that Joan thinks The Dixie Chicks did that was so damn courageous?
Had The Dixie Chicks hailed from Iraq when Saddam reigned and insulted him, or if they hailed from Iran, Cuba, Syria, or North Korea and insulted President's Ahmadinejad, Castro, Bashar al-Assad, and Kim Jong-il, and had Natalie been hauled away to prison, while her family was tortured or also imprisoned, then Joan Baez description of "courageous" would have certainly been apt.
But, instead,The Dixie Chicks live in the land of the free thanks to the brave men and women of the US Military who are sacrificing their lives so that Natalie Maines can live in a country that allows her the freedom to insult the President. It is the men and women of the US Military that are courageous. Natalie Maines and The Dixie Chicks are just plain fucking stupid!
A piece in the New York Times quotes Jeff Ayeroff, a longtime music executive and an academy member, as saying that the resounding endorsement of the group reflected the fact that the academy represents
“the artist community, which was very angry at what radio did, because it was not very American."It would seem that insulting the President and your country music fan base, both directly and indirectly, is deemed "american", but when the Americans that run radio networks that have long supported the Dixie Chicks choose to respond at being bitch slapped by exercising the same American freedoms of expression and choice that Natalie Maines and The Dixie Chicks exercised - then left wing liberals like Jeff Ayeroff have the audacity to claim that this is "not very American".
The hypocrisy of the "left' never ends. Jeff is representative of the same group of misguided "progressive intelligentsia" that shakes hands with Castro while Cuban singers, poets, and journalists, who speak out against their President demanding the same freedoms that Americans enjoy, are still jailed and tortured.
While Natalie Maines initially issued an apology to the President and the country for her remarks she later went on to retract that apology stating,
"I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President, but I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever".
According to Neal Portnow, President of NARAS, the Dixie Chicks
“made a great album this year, and their music and their commentary resonated with our membership, as it did with the entire nation."
I don't know what's more inane--- that they have been hailed by the "left" as " bold symbols for freedom of expression" or the lie that they made a great album with "commentary" that resonated with the ENTIRE nation". Get the fuck over yourself Neal, the album barely sold two million copies, received more airplay on radio and tv in Canada than in the US, and their concerts drew smaller audiences , wiile the southern leg of their US tour was canceled.
I attended the screening of the Barbara Koppel documentary that chronicles their fall from grace. The Dixie Chicks were told to 'Shut Up and Sing" and they did, penning a song of defiance that still got more airplay in Canada than the US.
So while The Dixie Chicks may feel vindicated about their "five sweep win" at the 2007 Grammy Awards, the truth is that Natalie, Markie, and Emily will always live with sad reality that their vindication was nothing more an expression of NARAS' left leaning ideology.