Dixie Chicks redux

I’ve gotten a couple of strong reactions from my review of Barbara Kopple’s documentary on the Dixie Chicks “Shut Up and Sing.” I was frustrated by the film by illuminating me on the whole phenomenon of “being Dixie Chick-ed,” and my review was not a good one. Some people took that to mean I threw my lot with the red-staters on the whole controversy, which is laughably false.

'Shut Up and Sing'It’s distressing enough to be mistaken for a Bush apologist — anyone who’s spent more than five minutes with me knows that’s about as plausible as calling Ralph Nader a gangsta rapper. But there seems to be a bit of willful misinterpretation going on. One writer said, “I admit to being as much a supporter of the Dixie Chicks as you are a detractor, although you didn’t bother to admit to being a detractor.” Another said, “I don’t know what Bush ever did for any of you – besides send our troops to war based on lies, and repeatedly attacked the US Constitution – that makes you love him so much.”

Folks, if I’m a Bush lover, then the man’s got fewer friends than O.J. Simpson. “Shut Up and Sing” suffers, in my view, from being too much about the Dixie Chicks and their lives, and not enough about what happened to them out in the heartland. Was this a grassroots reaction? Or a corporate PR campaign? Did the Bush administration use the controversy to play to their “base”? Who else has been Dixie-Chicked either since Bush took office or before? Where’s the historical context? I’d rather have learned a little about that than have visited with the Chicks’ babies.

They’re courageous women to have stuck to their guns and their music is pretty good. I just wish the film would have had a larger focus.


3 thoughts on “Dixie Chicks redux

  1. Speaking of country singers of the female persuasion, would it be too much of a stretch to mention that your eulogy to Kate Wolf was reprinted in the Sentinel 10 years ago tomorrow (Dec. 6)? (It’s on my kitchen bookcase next to the Kate Wolf Music Festival poster.)

    More recently, you recalled your less-than-blissful time on the North Coast, when you listened to a lot of Kate Wolf (and maybe burned out on her). If you haven’t listened to her for a long time, maybe you’d be ready now.

    As for the Dixie Chicks, I didn’t see the movie, but if there’s a lot of baby pictures, I appreciate the warning. Maybe that was to reassure Bush supporters that “family values” aren’t the target.

    It’s funny being mistaken for a Bush supporter, eh? Same thing happens to me. If I ever cross your path, ask me to tell you my favorite Bush joke.

    Best regards.

  2. A song by Dr Bruce L. Thiessen, aka, Dr. BLT of Bakersfield, California, dubbed a “Dixie Chicks dissin’ ditty,” that also pays tribute to Merle Haggard’s fighting side is climbing this chart, jumping over 1200 notches in one week to land at number 243 this week:


    The Dr. BLT song that proceeded it, Neil Young (Have you Forgotten), hit #1 on this chart back in July of 2006 and now rests at #155. It was also named the # 8 Best Record of 2006 by Blogcritics magazine writer, Al Barger here:


    The Merle Haggard tribute song can be heard and downloaded for free at the site of the chart or here.

    Merle Hasn’t Lost His Fightin’ Side
    Dr BLT
    words and music by Dr Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT (c) 2007
    [audio src="http://www.drblt.net/music/MerleVeryLast.mp3" /]

    “Sonically, Dr. BLT offers up a mix of country, folk and rockabilly, while vocally he tends to come off as a Dylan with clear diction. No, scratch that. I liked the line so much I had to include it, but Dr. B’s voice is smoother and clearer than that. Especially on what I think is the best cut, “Merle Hasn’t Lost His Fighting Side.” I hear slight hints toward country legend John Anderson in that one.” (Junkyard Blog)
    Bryan Preston, National Review Writer

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