Every year for my boyfriend’s birthday I make him a scrapbook of the past year. While working on the scrapbook at a card table in the living room last night I watched the film, Shut Up and Sing which follows the Dixie Chicks from 2003 or 2006. It was an amazing documentary and extremely powerful in that it just sneaks up on you.
I’d never been a huge Dixie Chicks fan and Natalie’s comment in 2003 on the eve of war that she was ashamed President Bush was from Texas didn’t impact me one way or other other as:
1) I like country western music but am by no means a die-hard
2) I am used to entertainers sharing their views, liberal or otherwise
3) And it’s a free country, we’re supposed to encourage free speech
I knew there had been a huge backlash against the Dixie Chicks, driven by two very right wing political groups. Country music stations boycotted the Dixie Chicks for years. Country music fans burned and smashed their entire Dixie Chicks collection. The band was picketed, shamed, attacked, humiliated. But what I didn’t know was that this went on for years.
Watching the documentary, realizing that three women were viciously and violently attacked for expressing an opinion unnerved me. As I watched the film footage I had the eerie feeling I was back in South Africa before apartheid ended. It seemed that the US had come tragicially close to becoming a police state, censoring both music choices and free expression.
Why can’t a woman express disappointment in a political figure? Why can’t a woman feel shame without being ridiculed on nearly every tv network, as well as having a death sentence put on her head?
Over and over country music djs said the Dixie Chicks should just shut up and sing.
Bullshit. Shut up?
The moment we shut up, the moment women are silenced, is the moment we don’t matter.
We matter. We have minds. And we must voice our opinions–even nonpopular opinions. Balance comes from having a right, a left and a middle.
If you have a night to watch a great story, rent Shut UP And Sing, its interesting as well as inspiring. And if you want to hear some amazing music, look for their last album. It’s powerful stuff and an answer to the world that stomped all over them for daring to think and feel and disagree.
For one of my favorite songs–ever–check out the video clip.
16 Comments / Add Your Comment →
One of my friends filmed Shut Up and Sing. I am so proud of her for working on the film. She was with the DCs when they were ‘unloved’ although I have ALWAYS loved them.
Christine, I like you more and more. I loved that film. I love film anyway but that was so…so…honest and beautiful, powerful and well, just makes me even prouder of the Dixie Chicks at this year’s Grammys. They got some serious pats on the back and they deserved them.
OH yay! comments!
Umm. Well, I just posted a long comment on the myspace blog. ha. but yay you have a comment thing here now too!
Jane, I’ve never seen the documentry, but heard of it. I loved the song inspired by what happened to them and well pay back it was a hit, and they won a grammy for it…
I’m all for freedom of speech…but I think the American people spoke louder. If everyone thought what they did was so great, their records would have sold in spite of what the record stations did to them. It just goes to prove that even though we have the right to say what we want…we still have to mind our p’s and q’s…and what they did wasn’t pc! And our society cares so much about everyone being politically correct. Those that aren’t…pay. And they did, didn’t they?
I still haven’t seen “Shut Up and Sing,” but I look forward to it. I wasn’t a country fan, either, but I made an effort to go out and buy the Dixie Chicks’ CDs. I’v enjoyed them. I think they’re courageous. I also think it’s frightening when women are silenced simply because their opinions aren’t popular.
I have to disagree with a previous poster as well. Recording artists advertise their latest on radio stations around the country. When they are blackballed, their sales suffered as a result. Luckily, those who enjoyed the Dixie Chicks were more than happy to sell out their subsequent tour. We tried to get tickets and couldn’t get them.
I might also mention that some of the other country artists that bashed the Dixie Chicks for Natalie Mains’ comments are now recanting.
Hmmmmm…I wonder if TK is in that group? Freedom of Speech or just hit and run?
Dorothy, the great thing about the documentary is that you see just who squashed the Dixie Chicks, and it wasn’t her fans, it was a concerted push–a massive powerful wealthy steamshovel if you will–over them to make a point. If it had been a grassroots response, fine, but it wasn’t. The far right wouldn’t accept Natalie’s apology and insisted on creating a huge incident. They were trying to teach a lesson, and they did. They proved they’re bullies. Ugly and mean-spirited.
And to all my readers: I’ve never been pc and I refuse to ever be made to bow and scrape in a politically correct manner. I’m proud to be American, but part of being patriotic includes standing up for those who aren’t as strong, or as wealthy or as powerful. I can’t bear that in America we’re still not safe to speak our mind.
Natalie had a death threat made against her. For giving her opinion.
That’s something that we read about in other countries. It shouldn’t happen here.
Granted…what happened to the Chicks wasn’t right. And yes, they did pay. Dearly! Call it a “generational” thing if you must…but I feel she should not have used their concert to vent her opinions. Fans came to be entertained by their wonderful singing not her presidential critique. And what followed was even worse. Yes, I know, I know…it goes on ALL the time but that doesn’t make it right. Just because you have the floor doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want to. There is a time and a place for everything. At least, that is what I was taught. I still speak my mind; and yet, we can still agree to disagree.
Dorothy, I totally agree with your comment about it being a generational thing. I’m constantly getting shocked looks from my aunts at the things I’ll say. I think they’re stunned that I’d be so blunt, or so ‘honest’ in front of them, much less in public. Both my uncles’ wives were raised in the South, too, which I think adds to the layer and level of reserve. Being a West Coast California girl raised in the 70’s and 80’s it was pretty much free thinking and free speech since I was little. But then, I was also raised by two teachers and I was encouraged to voice my opinions, whether they were pc or not, and not everyone was raised the way I was.
And…It is because of the way you speak that I do so enjoy your blog! (Oh, and the pc comment was me being sarcastic…. Darn! I guess it didn’t come through in text…and it wasn’t even veiled!) Lol!
I had wanted to see Shut Up and Sing for the past year, and finally did the other night. It was terrific, primarily because the DC are so open and honest both throughout the film and on stage. By the end of the movie I actually felt close to them, as though I knew them beyond superficially. It was very odd, yet a wonderful feeling. I am a closet activist, as I haven’t yet broken through my east coast upbringing of ‘shut up and obey’. I adore seeing other women have that strength.
Excellent forum with fantastic references and reading…. well done indeed…
I wish you health!
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