Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I really need to take a moment and talk about the Dixie Chicks. Yeah, I'll get to other aspects of this topic, but I really want to get to the issue that's first on everyone's mind when they think of the Dixie Chicks. What the devil were the photographer/stylist/makeup artists up to when they did the make up for the cover shoot for that new cd?

These are not inherently attractive women - let's be honest - and they need all the help they can get, especially now that they all seem like they need a cheeseburger and to be forced to attend a Daughters of the Confederacy meeting. The cover shoot is sort of a sepia toned image with very dark, smudged smoky eye makeup, which makes them look like disembodied bewigged skulls floating above couture-clad stick insects. Empty eyesockets in photos freak me out. It's very strange.

No doubt Natalie Maines' latest ravings are simply another bid to remain relevant in a notoriously fickle market. However, I'm sick of the fence-straddling, and I'm going to call it out when I see it. The published quote from the latest flap is as follows:

"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."

OK, let's peel just a few layers of the irony onion here. Dixie is by definition the states of the Southern and Southeastern US that joined the Confederacy during the US Civil War. Shit. It's just a place, what's the big deal? Why are they not called the "Botswana Maidens," the "Lithuanian Lasses" or the Cantonese--?? I'll stop now. Uh, why are they called the Dixie Chicks? Because when it serves their purpose (like to sell concert tickets and cds) they are stepping up to cash in on the sense of place, pride and regionalism of the people who are considered to be the traditional backbone of the country-music fan base. However, if there's a political point to be made, they are willing to go on record as being above such petty bourgeois concepts such as patriotism and regionalism. Um, ok.

Furthermore, derisively invoking the words "this land is our land" most notably used in the form of the song of the same title by the universally esteemed American folk balladeer Woody Guthrie raised my eyebrows into full-throttle mode. Shit, unfortunate choice of words, I'd say. That song didn't say "golly, what a great country to be white in" or "join your local KKK" or "isn't it great we drove the Indians out so we could wallow in the decadent abundance of this land we intend to ride hard and put up wet." No, Woody Guthrie was dirt-poor and saying that although he had nothing but his guitar and the next train he would hitch a ride on, this land was every bit his as much as any Carnegie or Hearst or Rockefeller, and by golly, he was going to stand up and say so. Guthrie's music was about universality, not exclusivity, and I think for a group like TDC with their folksy roots to go off on such a poorly worded harangue is short-sighted and self-contradictory. Guthrie's song ended "this land was made for you and me," the you in that equation being the collective of everyone who comes here. Even if she didn't intend to quote WG, any former folkie should know better than this horrid faux pas.

And to go back to the old 2003 saw from TDC concert in London in which they whined about our president - some of the most acutely intelligent people I know are from the UK, and they don't assume that we all voted for Bush any more than we can assume they all voted for Thatcher. I know that some in that audience appreciated their comments at that moment, but that statement was tantamount to saying "we know y'all are probably just too thick to know that we didn't all vote for the same guy, so, uh, we want you to know we didn't."

In any case, it makes them seem more nakedly cloying to trade on an image they give lip service to decrying. By all means, trash this country and everything it stands for, protest deposing Saddam Hussein - suck his dick if you like - but before you go shooting your mouth off half-cocked, please invest in a higher-memory irony chip, bitches!

telegraph article on Dixie Chicks


Anonymous said...

screw those bitches... God bless America!!! YEEEE HAWWWW!!!

starbender said...

U mean the Chixie Dicks???
I believe in free speach---but--- when it comes 2 BASHING my country-
If U live in the U.S.
and don't like it here---

Anonymous said...

Although I had no problem with Natalie's dissing of Dubya, I was surprised on how shocked -SHOCKED I tell you, that Natalie was about the backlash from her fans. Most people, and especially Ms. Maines it seems, don't know the difference between jingoism and patriotism, and the C&W demographic is not known for freethought or non-ideological skepticism. Salt of the earth, C&W fans may be but they tend to still think that the Anti Sedition Act is still active no matter what a sitting president's transgressions or competency (unless he is a democrat and his trangression involves denying a blowjob).
Thoreau didn't bitch when he was jailed for civil disobediance; he knew that suffering for his actions were all a part of the deal.
I do have to take umbrage at the suggestion that anyone wanted Hussein left in power ; it was at what COST deposing him would be accomplished. I'm speaking of the cost of human life (our soldiers; innocent civilian "casualties") as well as the depletion of military resources (Iran, anyone?) should the war prove intractable (it has), and then the horrendous financial cost as well. SInce the entire necessity for immediate invasion was based upon WMDs that could not be found by Blick, et al; and.... ahem (climbing... down... off.... soap...box....)
Let's just say we could have waited and Hussein couldn't have killed as many as have died since we "liberated" them. Yes, I want to see any and all despotic bastards like Hussien wiped off the face of the earth, but not in a blindly jingoistic (and possibly lucrative) furor with no exit strategy and using Colin Powell (The administrations' most trusted voice of reason at that time) to authenticate the unauthencatible (sp?)(you get the idea); and you'll never guess who's still running free in Afganistan. Perhaps Natalie was unable to convey all this gravitas in her stage patter in that English arena between "Earl Had To Die" and " Wide Open Spaces" .
I gree whole heartedly that Natalie, like Alanis, has a poor grasp of irony; but unlike Alanis, she is not capable of expressing herself beyond that of an average fifth grader - ironically, much like the majority of her former fans.

phlegmfatale said...

anonymous - *GRIN*

nongirlfriend - You know, I am sick of the polarization that involves people dismissing other people as worthless and stupid because they don't agree on a political candidate. After 8 years of Republican sackcloth and ashes '93 - 2000, Democrats sure are shitty losers. I have way more respect for music/film/art people when I can consider their work on its own merit without considering their political agenda. I tend to avoid political art/film/music, because it's a mutable thing that speaks to me of external forces rather than the timeless aspects which make art profound. Just my opinion.

starbender - I find it odd that disgruntled folk go to another country to whine about this one.

Hey Al, and welcome as always.
Yeah, their incredulity at the backlash of DC fans was surprising - I thought they WANTED to be provocative.
At least we can respect Thoreau for not being whorishly vapid and whining when facing the logical consequences of his actions. Here's to dignity!
I really must disagree with you about the Hussein thing - I have heard people essentially say that Hussein is a saint compared to Dubya, and that he had the right to do whatever he wanted in his own country (presumably including the genocide of Kurds). Maybe you haven't encountered anyone of that opinion, but I have and on more than one occasion, and frankly, that is a frightening degree of denial about Hussein's culpability for instituting cruelty and murder as a means of controlling a terrified populace.
Generally, I avoid the topic of Iraq because being an artist, most people I know/encounter/am friends with have such rote and predictable abhorrence for all things conservative that reasoned discussion is not even a possibility - and these people think they are open-minded. I don't agree with the premise of WMDs as a valid reason to invade Iraq, but I do believe getting Hussein out was an important objective. I don't agree that Iraq is worse without him, but this WOULD inevitably be a sticky wicket because there must be plenty other reprobates eager to rush in and fill the void of the deposed dictator. Based on mass graves of Kurds, I believe fewer innocents are dead in Iraq than would have suffered and died if he and his evil sons continued unabated these past years. As for insurgents and al quaeda (sp) who have died since 2003, frankly, blowing them the fuck up was/is just a fringe benefit for the good people of Iraq.
Iran is ripe for revolution - they have a very young and very well-educated populace, and in my opinion as the secular aspect of their society grows, they will be less and less tolerant of zealots who want everyone to have a drab and devout life. In the case of Iran, the people have enough sense of freedom ( 1979 wasn't THAT long ago) and given a little latitude, they will be able to overthrow their hardline, inflexible rulers. There was no such possibility with the people of Iraq.
Let's discuss this in 20 years - if the world has gone utterly into the shitter because of what this administration has done, I will be honest and stand up and admit that I misjudged the situation. I don't anticipate needing to apologize, though.

phlegmfatale said...

Oh, and thanks again for reading and commenting on my blog, Al - I think you're incredibly interesting and I value your opinions. You make a lot of sense, and your wit always makes for entertaining reading, no matter the subject.

Dick said...

Are any of these bitches from Texas?
If so, I'm revoking their citizenship right now.
All of them should be bitch slapped repeatedly until they get it.

Becky said...

I couldn't agree more with your comment above. Though I don't believe the WMD was THE reason to invade Iraq (I agree with your reasons), my step-dad knew people still in the Army (he was retired) that found the evidence of WMD that had been removed, only the media has chosen not to tell the story. Too often, people mistake an evil thug with being stupid, and it's not too much to assume that when the UN announced their parade through to inspect, that he had the senses to get rid of the stuff.

Back to the Dixie Chicks, my favorite bit of irony is that they act like people don't have the right to have their own reactions, like not buying their music anymore. Apparently, freedom of expression goes only one direction. I get tired of celebrities spouting their mouths off without much basis in fact, and when they act like it's the trendy thing to do or to gain attention.

phlegmfatale said...

dick - surely they are from Oklahoma!

becky - odd thing is, I've been seeing rumblings online that there IS evidence of WMDs. Isn't that interesting? Indeed, Saddam had plenty of time to stash the crap - no doubt Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins were calling him up to alert him of the badguy weapons inspectors on their way.
That's true - they DON'T respect any opinion but their own. They need to realize that more than half the voting populace of the USA re-elected Bush, so they need to drink a big cup of STFU.

basscheez - well-said - it's just a desperate bid to remain relevant when these people speak out on "important" issues. My brother-in-law said the most hilarious thing when one of the myriad Kennedy brouhahas erupted - something to the effect of "before I decide on anything, I consider what the Kennedys thing of the issue."
People who pretend to cry and emote for a living (actors, performers) are the least stable among us, and the last people who should be broadcasting their opinions, particularly on the subject of economics. Tards!

Anonymous said...

I think these girls do need help in the beauty dept., and they are going for "high fashion" and clearly get their high fashion information from the same place I do: The decidedly un-high fashion America's Next Top Model.

Great point about regionalism/ patriotism. I kind of like their music, but in private shame like my love for Barbara Streisand.