Monday, March 17, 2003
STICKING UP FOR THE DIXIE CHICKS
by Wayne Robins
What I want to know is, when is country radio going to apologize to Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks.
We're Dixie Chicks fans here in the Robins family. But thank god we live in New York City, where you're still free to express your opinion without country music radio, which apparently dictates much of America's etiquette, morality and social behavior, putting you in the pillories for a public whipping, the way they've done Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks.
Seems Natalie got a little carried away by the moment on tour in Europe last week, carried away by the torrential outpouring for peace that is regarded so contemptuously by the radical Bush administration. In London last Monday, Natalie, who hails from Lubbock, Texas, told her audience: "Just so you know, we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas."
Country music radio stations reacted as if Maines had called for a rolling back of the Bill of Rights. Of course, the attorney general, John Ashcroft, HAS called for a rolling back of the Bill of Rights, but country radio 1) is too dumb to notice, and 2) couldn't find enough of Ashcrofts records to make the publicity worthwhile.
If George Strait or Randy Travis had said the same thing about the Lone Star President, I suspect the anger would have been more muted, if it would have garnered any attention at all. George and Randy are men, after all. And if it's anything the men who run country radio can't stand it is an uppity woman. Not to mention three of them, economically independent because of the way they've carried country radio's ratings on their backs the last four years.
The reactions would be laughable if they didn't so seriously represent the strain of ignorance, isolationism, and knee-jerk patriotism that put the Bush regime in power. For Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld and their now-broken puppet Gen. Colin Powell not only hear no evil...they hear no pleas from the righteous, as Bush has turned away the leaders of every major religious body in the world. At least Tony Blair, who will someday write a memoir in which he will rue throwing his career away to support the Bushites, listened to the voices of the religious, who begged for peace. Bush wouldn't even make an appointment to humor them. Bush, one fears, hears the voice of god speaking to him in his solitude in the White House. There's no reasoning with the man.
So in Bossier City, Louisiana, near Barksdale Air Force Base "an estimated 150-200 people turned out for a Chicks Bash sponsored by a local radio station," according to Louisiana Gannett News. "A 33,000 pound, large-frame row crop tractor was used to smash a collection" of Dixie Chicks CDs and tapes.
Disproportionate? Hell, no. "Even as a child, you're taught 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all," according to the jukebox distributor who aided in the book burning...I mean, the CD crushing. The message was clear: Girls should stay in the kitchen and keep their mouths shut.
Bob Shannon, the program director of KRMD/ 101.1 FM, told the Monroe, La. News-Star that the Dixie Chicks may have the No. 1 country song in the United States right now with 'Travelin' Soldier,' but you won't hear it on KRMD. KRMD sponsored the tractor crush.
"Travelin' Soldier" is the patriotic tale of a small town hero who goes to Vietnam and comes home in a box.
In other local news, according to the Monroe, La. News-Star, a quiet peace vigil was held in a Monroe park.
A country station in Boise, Idaho responded to phone calls from outraged listeners and pulled Dixie Chicks songs from their playlist. "I don't think anybody disagrees with Natalie's right to free speech," said KIZN/92 FM program director Rich Summers. "What they disagree with is the venue she chose to express it , how she did it, where she did it..." Summers noted that everyone in their "Treasure Valley" listening area knows someone in the military, "and basically Natalie spat in their faces."
The Bill of Rights makes no such rigid conditions regarding the right to free speech as cited by Rich Summers, who was quoted on KBCI/Idaho Ch. 2 News. As for spitting in the face of the military, Maines' apology suggested just the opposite: Speaking as a mother, she wants "every possible alternative exhausted" before people start getting killed. I guess it's spittin' in the face of the young men and women from Idaho in the armed forces who want to be the first to die for their country in the Bushite holy war.
In other Boise news, Cameron Davis, the 23 year old son of the State Senate Majority Leader, was shot to death at a party. "When police arrived they found a large keg party going on with about 30 people still in attendance...witnesses said the suspect shot Davis after he threw a beer in Olsen's face." Police are seeking Vincent Craig Olsen, a white male with blue eyes and brown hair.
The two biggest Dixie Chicks fans in my home are myself, who named "Home" one of the top 13 or 14 CD's of 2002 here on Wayne's Words, and my youngest daughter, Jackie, who is eight. She usually puts herself to sleep by listening to "Home" on her "Hello Kitty" CD player.
But what the heck: I'm offering Jackie's copy of "Home," or her "An Evening With the Dixie Chicks" DVD for your bonfire. Come and get it, you big boys from Boise and Boissier City. Come here to New York and try to take my Dixie Chicks CD's and DVD's for your thought-burning fiesta. But I've got one warning for you small minded, small town savages: You'll have to pry those Dixie Chicks discs from my cold, dead fingers.
(c) Wayne Robins 2003. All rights reserved.