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.
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.