Monday, May 14, 2007

Speak Out and Sing

Not4nothin has been gone...for a while. The reason for that was because I felt I really didn't have anything profound to say. I have never used this site as an online journal of my daily life. I like to consider it more of an opinion site. Specifically my opinion and observances on things surrounding me. Why speak when everything coming out of your mouth should be coming out from a lower orifice?!

Well, it wasn't until about 2 weeks ago that the boyfriend and I popped in our latest rental from Netflix and watched 'Shut Up and Sing' that I felt I had something to say again. 'Shut Up and Sing' is a documentary following Emily Robison, Martie Maguire and Natalie Maines (better known as The Dixie Chicks) as they made their controversial comment speaking out against the president and war in Iraq. It documents the actual comment (which took place while on stage in London) and the 2 years following the comment.

I was familair with the comment (they were ashamed that the president of the United States was from their home state of Texas) but I had no idea of the backlash this comment caused. People burning, destroying and throwing away their Dixie Chick albums. Country music stations refusing to play any of their songs in an attempt to satisfy listeners who threatened to stop listening to their station if they did so. A drop in concert ticket sales. Death threats. An FBI escort to the stage at a concert in Dallas, Texas (their home state) because of the treat of being shot while performing live on stage.

Many thoughts entered and exited my mind as I watched this documentary. 'Yes, there are still people in this country who go to this extreme when dealing with an issue like this.' 'Yes, there are still people in this country who exude an extreme amount of hate when dealing with people they do not know personally but think they do.' 'Yes, there are actually people in this country who support the war and are a part of the president's 26% approval rating.' 'Remember Not4nothin, you no longer live in the section of the country who think this way.'

First of all, there is a well known amendment to the Bill of Rights which states, 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.' The irony is that this is the very first amendment. Now, I will say that the people protesting the Dixie Chicks comment have just as much liberty in protesting the comment as the group had in saying it. But nowhere in any document of the United States government does it say that death threats, hatred and passing on that hate to others is an acceptable form of retaliation or freedom of speech.

Lets look at one other celebrity who has spoken out against the war. Madonna. Her video for 'American Life' had to be altered becasue it originally featured a Bush look-alike catching a cigarette lighter which morphed into a grenade and exploded in his face. The result? An altered video and low album sales. To be followed up with the highest grossing tour in 2006 for a female artist ever.

I guess the main issue which boggles my mind is how quickly people in this country, and possibly even the world, can put people on a pedestal only to break them down and begin the process all over again. Especially when people do not live up to others expectations.

Examine the dixie chicks. 3 all-American white women, married, children, talented, easy on the eyes, independent, from America's heartland. Practically banished from the country music world because they had an opinion that differs from what is expected. And had to guts to voice it. I wonder what would have happened had a male performer, say Garth Brooks, made a similiar comment. Would there have been such an extremist backlash?

I stepped away from watching the movie as a complete pro-Dixie Chicker. I knew nothing of the group or their music but have a new found respect for them. I recently read that Natalie Maines, lead singer, was in NYC attending a performance of Broadway's 'Spring Awakening.' I am an avid theatre goer and told myself had I been at that performance and seen Ms. Maines I would have walked right up to her and said, 'I am a New Yorker and never bother celebrities but I needed to come up to you and say thank you. Thank you for having a voice and representing those of us who obviously have not been heard.'

Rock on Dixie Chicks. You may have lost some fans along the way but you have also gained one. Speak out and sing!


Blogger Vegas Princess said...

What a wonderful post. I too saw their documentary and not being an avid Dixie Chicks fan before viewing the film, I am now. I am thankful that they stood up for what they believe in and gave a voice to those of us who have not been heard.

1:20 AM  
Anonymous It's Me... Maven said...

Sorry you have been away so long!

I think you'd enjoy reading "Infidel," by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She's a Somali woman (actually the daughter of a warlord), who escaped to Europe, and has the balls to speak out against Islam and calling it what it is, when no man has the nerve to do it.

7:15 AM  

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