Hate Me Baby One More Time

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Well, this is an interesting advertising strategy. On the website promoting a new documentary about the Dixie Chicks and Mainesgate (in 2003, Natalie Maines told a London audience "we're ashamed the president is from Texas" and… oh, you know this), readers are allowed to post on an "official fan blog." Not in the comments, but on the front page of the blog. And fitting the spirit of the movie, there's no screen for posting. So most of the entries look like this:

The reason for patriotism is this…people have sacrificed their lives for the continued existence of this country for almost two hundred and thirty years. It is a great gift that has been given. Because so many gave the ultimate gift, we all have the benefit of living in the best country in the world. Even if you don't acknowledge this gift, you should respect it. That respect is patriotism. Until that is understood by Maines and others who agree with her, The Dixie Chicks will be hated.

… dont be surprised if you offend people with your free speech, they may not buy what you have to sell. The Dixie Chicks really arent the wisest of business people are they?

Your washed up! Its all over, I suggest you gracefully fade away. You had a good thing going until you let your poor judgement get the best of all of you. Please just GO AWAY! I dont care about your political beliefs. Dont force them down my throat because you have money and the media to use as a platform. Again, please GO AWAY!

Who in the year 2006 wants to waste precious ire on the Dixie Chicks?

Jesse Walker was all over the Dixie Chicks controversy, most recently in a piece on the politics of country music.

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  1. David Weigel missed this classic comment:

    “dont make fun if are president you bitch”

    I guess this is a result of phonics based learning.

  2. “Who in the year 2006 wants to waste precious ire on the Dixie Chicks?”

    People who still pine for 2003, when the war was clean and pure, and wonder what the hell happened since.

  3. “Who in the year 2006 wants to waste precious ire on the Dixie Chicks?”

    I don’t know Dave, perhaps the same kind of person who would waste a hit and run post trying to make them look like victims.

    I don’t dislike Maines for being moron. Good God if I let artists political views affect my tastes I would be stuck listening to Ted Nugent records the rest of my life. I dislike Maines for being part of a cheese cake / beef cake, bad pop, bimbo act of the kind that has all but ruined country music over the last 20 years.

  4. My wife and I own the first three Dixie Chicks albums and we even saw them in concert a few years ago, but I doubt if we’ll be giving them any more of our money. Obviously, from thier record and concert sales, others feel the same way…

    It’s not just that being a moron blowhard is bad business practice if you want to sell country records, it’s also that their new stuff sucks.

  5. Where do you get that I’m “making them look like victims”? I think it’s funny that the documentary’s publicists are rolling out this goo-goo free speech campaign and finding out that people still hate the Chicks. The blog was clearly meant as a mosh pit for mash notes, not for 2003-style “you hurt our president’s feelings!” posts.

  6. I don’t get it. Is it pro-Chicks? Anti? Is it a redneck version of the “Snakes On A Plane” fiasco? A farce? Satire? Me very confused. Me certain only that the Chicks are brainless twits.

  7. I dislike Maines for being part of a cheese cake / beef cake, bad pop, bimbo act of the kind that has all but ruined country music over the last 20 years.

    Are you kidding? The Dixie Chicks are pretty much the only country group worth listening to…say what you want about Maines’ politics, she’s perhaps the best female vocalist of our time.

    To dismiss them as “bimbos” reveals a touch of sexism, as well.

  8. This is why blogs still maintain a caste system, with bloggers on the front page and commenters in the comments section.

    When commenters are allowed to post on the front page, you wind up in a bizarro universe where the heliocentric model is in doubt. Trust me, I’ve been there.

  9. I have exactly 2 thoughts on this whole thing, and I hope that I never have to think about it again:

    1: Musicians and performers are allowed to have whatever opinions they want. They can, because of free speech, then engage in speaking about whatever the hell they want to in any way they want to divulge their thoughts. I applaud their willingness to do so.

    2: Musicians (in general) are an incredibly stupid lot. I say this as a guy who used to be in a band that played with a lot of other bands and met tons of musicians and performers from all sorts of genres. I think that if people realized that their idolized celebs really ARE that thick and stupid, they just might stop paying so much attention to what those celebs have to say about whatever it is they feel like talking about. And as an aside, drummers are not always stupid. Thick, perhaps – but many of them have a better grasp on math than the majority of college students.

    That all said, there’s an old joke about drummers (which, as a guitarist, I relish) –

    How do you know if the stage is level?

    The drummer drools out of both sides of his mouth.

  10. Dave!

    “she’s perhaps the best female vocalist of our time.”

    ROTFLMAO! That’s good stuff. Did you mean to say the best female vocalist of the Dixie Chicks? Or at least the best in country-pop music?

  11. Roger Waters spend no less than half an hour a night on his recent tour criticizing the administration, the war, etc.
    Ministry has now done two albums full of vulgarities aimed at the president, including lyrics about him fisting Laura.
    Rumor is GWAR are releasing a song about how the president is controlled by an alien demon posing as his penis.

    So where are their documentaries?

  12. The best female vocalist of our time (really) is Jewel. For some reason, she doesn’t ever show much range on her albums, but if you see her in concert, you will be shocked at her talent.

    If you doubt me, ask yourself how an unknown 16 year old from the bush of Alaska could get awarded a full scholarship to study opera at one of the country’s best music schools?

  13. Musicians (in general) are an incredibly stupid lot.

    Agreed. Except keyboardists. We’re geniuses.

  14. I certainly can’t argue with the Dixie Chicks right to say what they please. I can disagree with the financial wisdom of an entertainer/commercial spokesman taking a controversial stand on any issue. Michael Jordan said it best. “Republicans buy sneakers too.”

  15. “Obviously, from thier record and concert sales, others feel the same way…”

    I know! Thank the lord that it took a whole 4 weeks for their latest album to go platinum. Obviously nobody is listening to those Commie Bastard Chicks. And don’t give me no “shouldn’t we at least give them the benefit of the doubt because they were absolutely correct about how stupid the Iraq war was.” The job of American citizens is to support the President whenever he wants to go into the stupidest war of our time. That’s being a patriot. (Sorry, this is a terrible satire. Please go back and imagine numerous spelling errors.)

  16. The Dixie Chicks are more popular post-hysteria than pre-.

    Apparently, they’re sufficiently stupid businesspeople to make sure that the vulgar jingoism that made them so popular is displayed front and center on their web site.

    Suckers.

  17. I saw a preview for this “documentary” in a theater a couple weeks ago. The first and only thought I had was, how can you stretch this little newsbyte into a full-length fucking documentary?

    Here’s a summary: country music is populated with many flag-waving red-staters who love Bush and his war. A certain (not-too-bright) country star says something detrimental about Bush on stage. The country music and conservative punditry scenes subsequently explode with ire for said country star. Bad stuff happens, crazy people threaten them, radio stations won’t play their songs, people boycott their records. The end.

    I’ve not seen such a vapid plotline since “Big Kahuna”.

    Hey, John, why don’t you lay the fuck off Weigel. Every time he says anything about anything, you make unsubstantiated claims that he’s sucking the democrats’ cocks. The above post didn’t make the dixie chicks seem like victims to me. It made their blog manager seem silly. Have you nothing better to do than hound Dave Weigel?

  18. Joe,

    Don’t act like this was a big plan. They stumbled into this shit because the country has nothing better to worry about than what some country singer says on stage. Now they’re milking it by turning it into a krunkumentary. It could have easily gone the other way—but the only thing that speaks to their business prowess is the fact that they could turn this non-story into a documentary, portraying themselves as victims.

  19. Far as I can tell, mainstream “country” music of today is nothing more than ’70s soft rock minus the cocaine and libido. Ain’t that exciting?

    Country music seems to be best when it is by, and about, drunken losers. And I don’t mean that in a negative way.

  20. Lots of hubris from the GOPers. They thought they could get around the rule that there is no bad publicity.

  21. So, they are more popular now? Really? It took about 3 seconds to prove, once again, that joe is either ignorant or a liar.

    Their last four albums went platinum: 12 times, then 10 times, then 6 times, then once. Seems like the controversy really helped thier sales. I mean, negative 83% growth in sales is quite an accomplishment.

    Plus, if you check out their wikipedia page, you’ll notice that “a number of shows were cancelled due to poor sales, and in Houston, Texas, tickets never even went on sale when local radio stations refused to accept advertising for the event”.

  22. Evan!,

    They certainly stumbled into the controversy when Maines made her famous remarks.

    But they have been brilliantly milking the publicity ever since.

    “Now they’re milking it by turning it into a krunkumentary. It could have easily gone the other way—but the only thing that speaks to their business prowess is the fact that they could turn this non-story into a documentary, portraying themselves as victims.”

    Which is my point.

  23. Lemur,

    “Their last four albums went platinum: 12 times, then 10 times, then 6 times, then once.”

    You mean albums that have been on the shelves longer sell more? You mean their back catalogue is selling well, in addition to their recent release?

    Wow, you really got me there.

    But yes, their surge in popularity in the blue states has been offset by a decline in their popularity in the red. Which makes a strategy of highlighting the hostility they get from Red America an even better move.

    Houston, you say?

  24. Natalie Maines is not better than Tish Hinjosa or Kasey Chambers in my opinion, but certainly better known. The Dixie Chicks have not always been a crossover pop act. The new albumn seems to me to be top 40 radio crap, but their earlier stuff has a pretty good singer/songwriter vibe. Natalies father is a legend in the Texas singer/songwriter market and one of the other girls is married to either Charlie or Bruce Robinson. The song “Wide Open Spaces” was written and originally performed by an Amarillo, TX artist named Susan Gibson. Worth 99 cents to download her version, if this kind of music is your thing.

    That Toby Keith flag-waving, rah-rah bull is not real country music.

  25. I thought that they did take a substantial hit after the Bush-sucks stuff started. The fact that most people have forgotten about the matter should tell us what, exactly? That we have the collective memory of a lobotomized lab rat? On Elmo-supplied meth? I’ve always suspected that.

    Remember, they said what they said to an audience that might not care for such talk. Not a smart move, anyway you spin it. Of course, Bush’s popularity has moved down since then, too, which means fewer people with memories will bother freaking out. I’m surprised that the web site got the number of negative hits that it apparently did.

    joe, I don’t think they’re doing anything brilliant. What choice do they have but to ride the wave out? If they retract anything, they won’t gain lost fans. However, the ones they’ve gained by their politic statements may be ephemeral, especially once Bush is gone, so I think they’ve traded a solid core fan base for one that may be more fickle. This isn’t about politics, it’s about the entertainment business.

    I will note that the hail-the-U.S. arm of country doesn’t represent all of country. It never has. There have been a few country singers who weren’t happy with the status quo.

  26. “Country & Western Music” is an oxymoron. With the emphasis on ‘moron’.

    Bach!

  27. Joe:

    The Chicks’ CD and concert ticket sales have dropped signifigantly since 2003. You can look it up. Country radio airplay of their current stuff is practically nonexistent, and they have by design embraced a new audience for their music. Granted, the huge success they achieved earlier (sellouts everywhere, one album moving more than 10 million units) was unsustainable, but calling them more popular now than three years ago is absolutely incorrect.

  28. Yeah, sure, joe – those 28 million copies of their earlier albums were all sold post-controversy. You’re an idiot. If you suppose that all 1 million copies of thier newest album were purchased by new fans, and that each of those new fans also purchased a copy of each of thier prior albums, that would still mean they sold 24 million copies pre-controversy and 5 million albums post. That comes out to an average of 7 million copies per album pre-controversy and 1 millin copies post.

    Explain again how this helped them? Learn some math, you fool.

  29. If you doubt me, ask yourself how an unknown 16 year old from the bush of Alaska could get awarded a full scholarship to study opera at one of the country’s best music schools?

    Why… by being the greatest female vocalist of our time, of course!!

  30. Pro Lib,

    They have to ride it out, but they are doing so brilliantly. They could have tried snivelling apologies and gone from second-tier to fourth-tier country stars. Instead, they’ve transformed themselves into second tier pop stars, which is a much larger marke to occupy.

    And musically, they’ve gone from flashy “hot country” to more eternal roots country.

  31. A long, long time ago, when I was a kid, I wore a button for a candidate everywhere I went. Around that same time, my Catholic grade school tasked the students with selling candy bars. I went door-to-door in my neighborhood selling them.

    The most important visit that I ever made was to a guy who refused to buy a candy bar. He said a number of things to me about my poor presentation skills. He also said “I like that candidate just as much as you do. But most people in this neighborhood don’t. So take off the button when you’re selling candy bars.”

    I think this may have some relevance to the issue of dissing a candidate that your audience likes.

  32. Most acts that peak early see a decline in sales much like that of the Dixie Chicks. It would be pretty hard to separate the sales lost from their politics with the sales lost because people are simply no longer interested in their bland soft-rock/country.
    Remember the band Bush? They are doing much worse.

  33. Yeah, sure, joe – those 28 million copies of their earlier albums were all sold post-controversy. You’re an idiot. … Explain again how this helped them? Learn some math, you fool.

    Alright. The Joe vs. Hit & Runners war now officially has nothing to do with politics.

  34. joe,

    Methinks your political support of them is clouding your musical judgment. I’d make the same criticism of them if they were libertarians, preaching limited government and civil liberties. The fact is, most people buy music for the music, not for the associated politics. There have been times where that was less true, but I don’t think this is one of them. Sure, there’s the hardcore audience out there–witness Toby Keith–but I think you have to win people over with your music, whatever your politics are.

    Still, I do agree that they did a smarter thing by sticking to their guns. The audience they lost, they lost for a while, regardless of any apologies they might have attempted. Well, except maybe if they claimed to have been drunk at the time, were molested by priests, and promised to get baptized and go to Iraq to preach Bush’s gospel as penance 😉

  35. Re musicians’ intelligence. I am a drummer, and sometimes pretend to play bass. All I can say is,
    Drummer MAD! Drummer SMASH!
    BTW-What do you call someone who spends all his time hanging around musicians?

    A drummer.

  36. They certainly stumbled into the controversy when Maines made her famous remarks. But they have been brilliantly milking the publicity ever since.

    Joe has it exactly. People forget that originally, Maines apologized for her remark, saying, “As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect.” It’s only after the Dixie Chicks started getting sympathetic responses and positive attention in the press over it that they started posturing about how bold and defiant (and victimized) they were. This was really only a continuation of the audience-pandering where Maines only started voicing her opposition to the war during concerts in the UK.

    I was never outraged by the Chicks even when I supported the war (and had never been a fan beforehand), but I found the smug pandering a bit much.

  37. “Ministry has now done two albums full of vulgarities aimed at the president, including lyrics about him fisting Laura.”

    Unfortunately both albums sucked. Now, on the other hand, Bush-bashing gave KMFDM a new lease on life- World War III and Hau Ruck were their best albums in a decade (sending Skold packing and brining on Ray Watts didn’t hurt either).

    Green Day has also become more popular than they’ve been in years through American Idiot.

    Then again, industrial and punk-pop fans aren’t known for being Republicans, though there are exceptions (like me, until 2002).

  38. I dunno. Wasn’t it Groucho Marx who said, “I wouldn’t belong to any club that would have me as a member.”? The same principle applies to the Chicks. They’re probably happy not to have fans who are such jingoistic dolts. But not so idealistic not to miss the cash, I would guess. They’re right to offend the yahoos. They just did it unintentionally and never saw the brouhaha coming.

  39. “The fact is, most people buy music for the music, not for the associated politics.”

    This is actually why I bought a Milli Vanilli CD AFTER they were unmasked. I figured it would be tough to find in the future, and I liked their stuff, no matter who did it.

  40. You are a very angry, unpleasant person Lemur. You misstate my positions, and I’m not going to take the bait.

    Kevin,

    “Country radio airplay of their current stuff is practically nonexistent, and they have by design embraced a new audience for their music.” On the other hand, they are getting adult contemporary and Top 40 airplay, as well as a Time Magazine cover. Perhaps “more popular” is an overstatement, but would they be attracting this much attention, or still be a relevant act, if they still doing what they were doing in 2002 (which was what they were doing in 1995, but to a smaller audience)?

    As I said, their switch from one audience to another may not have been intentional, but their response to the conditions has been very effective. Given that they’ve decided to embrace their role as targets of the venom of jingoists, enlisting said jingoists to play along with their PR campaign on the front of their web page is a pretty shrewd move. It’s certainly not going to hurt them with their new audience.

  41. “””1: Musicians and performers are allowed to have whatever opinions they want. They can, because of free speech, then engage in speaking about whatever the hell they want to in any way they want to divulge their thoughts. I applaud their willingness to do so.””””

    Song writers have always been social critics. To stop listening to an artist because of that is silly.

    The Iraq war has been worthy of criticism since its 2nd month.

    Being that the Iraq war is what it is, was it so wrong for them to critize Bush then? I think many Republican secretly agree with them now.

    Let’s be honest George Jr. isn’t the smartest branch on the tree. I think if Jeb ran for the Whitehouse his campaign slogan could be “vote for me I’m the smart one.

  42. Pro Libertate,

    I haven’t said anything about the Dixie Chicks’ music. Just their marketing.

    I don’t listen to bands whose most interesting feature is their marketing.

  43. I will note that the hail-the-U.S. arm of country doesn’t represent all of country. It never has. There have been a few country singers who weren’t happy with the status quo.

    Indeed. And most of them didn’t “stumble into” it and milk it as a marketing strategy.

  44. TrickyVic,

    Ain’t that the truth. In an alternative universe, Jeb won the presidency and actually did a halfway decent job. He’s almost libertarian at times, the bastard. The scuttlebutt I’ve heard suggested that there was some problem that arose that kept him from running for POTUS. Supposedly, it was Jeb, not George, that was the heir apparent to begin with. I find that quite plausible, given the polished intelligence of Jeb, versus the, the, whatever George has.

    Too bad that it worked out the way it did. In any event, I’m not voting for another Bush, however much I may like him. I’m still surprised that I’m typing that, because I was positively indignant that he was being foisted on us as a candidate when he first ran. Go figure.

  45. Green Day has also become more popular than they’ve been in years through American Idiot.

    Ugh, don’t remind me! (Though, I’ll admit that “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” has been the only Green Day song I can listen to.)

    What really gets me is that they’ve been around long enough that they have a whole generation of fans who think they invented punk. I heard a radio DJ call them the inventors of punk once!

    AUGH!

  46. Me either, joe. Good for you. Though I will confess that when Shania Twain first came out, I’d watch her on CMT. . .with the mute on. But maybe that was less marketing and more something else. I did the same thing with Jewel. Nowadays, I don’t let such considerations affect my TV watching 🙂 And I never actually listened to music for that reason or, as you say, for marketing. I’ve always hated the heavily pre-packaged crap that the studios love so much these days. Except, of course, when I didn’t. Everyone has guilty musical pleasures, right?

  47. have you guys seen the trailer for shut up and sing? i saw it this morning while tying my shoes. i was flabbergasted.

    the only thing missing were some roman centurions and a handful of nails.

  48. The pro-war right has done a fine job of guilt-by-associationing here: If you’re against the war, you’re in league with liberals.

    And, let’s face it, some of the liberals against the war are pretty damned stupid. Cindy Sheehan has got to be one of the most vapid, unappealing shills ever to get into the clutches of a public-relations firm.

    Unfortunately, being libertarian and anti-war gets us slapped with the GBA label, and libertarians have enough public-image problems as it is. In the pro-war minds, it puts us in league with the proto-communist far-left nutburger brigade, with whom NOBODY should associate.

    Sometimes, the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy. Where are the non-Marxist, anti-war groups? And how can they get past the “anti-war = pansy liberal” PR tag?

  49. Song writers have always been social critics. To stop listening to an artist because of that is silly.

    Actually, song writers have always mostly bitched about losing or not having a woman (or man), rejoiced at having a woman (or man), or bitched about their woman (or man). Occasionally, some writers will engage in social criticism. 🙂

    But personally, I think the best, most sincere, and most convincing recent anti-war song remains Faithless’ “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

  50. “she’s perhaps the best female vocalist of our time.”

    may god have mercy on your soul!

    -cat power
    -dresden dolls
    -etc

  51. Happy Rhodes. Anneke Van Giersberg. Nell Sigland.
    Marcela Bovio. Monica Richards. Candice Night. Lisa Gerrard. Melora Creager.

  52. When commenters are allowed to post on the front page, you wind up in a bizarro universe where the heliocentric model is in doubt. Trust me, I’ve been there.

    I can vouch. I don’t think the sun spins around the Earth any more than the Earth spins around the sun because I don’t think there is any preferred frame of reference for observing the relative motion. If your vantage point is the center of the earth, then the sun spins around the Earth. If your vanatge point is the center of the sun, then the Earth spins around the sun.

    The idea that anyone could dispute what I have just said in the preceding paragraph, in this day and age, is mindboggling to me. Still once you get onto the Internet, you quickly discover that the problem is that the kind of people who run blog-style-boards are usually not savvy enuf to understand what is said in the previous paragraph. In order to save them embarrassment and cognitive dissonance, it is better that things like the previous paragraph be buried in the comments so the other bloggers can remain complacent in their ignorance and do important things like keeping everybody up to date on the doings of America’s favourite superhero, Jack Bauer.

  53. So is it that certain Republicans are stupid and certain Democrats are clueless…or is it the other way around?

  54. Googling Natalie Maines and company can be dangerous. ChicksWithDicks.com is NOT safe for work.

    (Sorry, I couldn’t resist using that joke one more time. Think of it as recycling.)

  55. Ain’t that the truth. In an alternative universe, Jeb won the presidency and actually did a halfway decent job. He’s almost libertarian at times, the bastard. The scuttlebutt I’ve heard suggested that there was some problem that arose that kept him from running for POTUS.

    Some problem = Noelle.

    Oh, to think that one crackhead political princess might have saved us this administration.

  56. “Cindy Sheehan has got to be one of the most vapid, unappealing shills ever to get into the clutches of a public-relations firm.”

    To put it kindly, Cindy Sheehan is neither terribly sophisticated in her analysis of politics, nor very well served by the people working to indoctrinate her.

    She is popular among people who oppose the war not because of her political analysis, but because of her activism, and the visuals it produces.

    If you read what liberal blogs were saying about her, they tended to be very short on quoting passages in which she explained her political viewpoint, and very long on her bio, and on drawing attention to the venom that was hurled at her.

    I think she’s a nice lady, and I feel sorry for her. I’m certainly not going to ever vote for her, though.

  57. Joe wrote: “They could have tried snivelling apologies and gone from second-tier to fourth-tier country stars. Instead, they’ve transformed themselves into second tier pop stars, which is a much larger marke(t) to occupy.”

    The Dixie Chicks were not “second-tier country stars” at the time of the remarks. They were far and away the biggest country group in the world.

    Also, there was no subsequent “transformation” to pop star, second tier or otherwise. The Chicks were already a blockbuster crossover phenomenon and had enjoyed massive across-the-board success for several years. They had scored NINE top 40 singles in the Billboard Hot 100 (i.e., the pop charts) by 2002, a year before all this Bush-bash stuff even happened.

    “Pop phenomenon” was the boilerplate characterization of the Dixie Chicks for quite some time.

    If anything, the Dixie Chicks have fallen from first-tier country act and first-tier pop act to second-tier in both.

    This is basic, elemental stuff, the kind of stuff that’s taken for granted by anyone who’s tuned in to American popular culture.

  58. Lemur:

    (1) Which Country singer sells more CD’s now than they did 5 or 6 years ago? Zero, I suspect. Your “trend” analysis is misleading. You are comparing pre- and post- Napster CD sales. Even today, digital sales are what put the DixieChicks at the top of the Billboard charts. Mariah Carey didn’t make any political statements, and her CD sales are down.

    (2) Their music is clearly not as innovative as it may have been in 1992. I think that the overall effect of the brouhaha was to make them pop stars as opposed to merely country-pop stars. While I don’t think her comments were the result of any planned business decision, I tend to think that the publicity was highly valuable for them. I don’t think you would have heard people say Maines is the best female vocalist 10 years ago. They were a novelty act back then. Now they have cultural relevance (and perhaps a longer tail) thanks to the asswing right.

  59. And musically, they’ve gone from flashy “hot country” to more eternal roots country.

    joe,

    Have you ever listened to any country music? Have you ever heard Hank Williams, Jimmy Rodgers, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Chet Atkins, Loretta Lynn, Buck Owens, George Jones..? Good lord, man! I could go on.

    I like the Dixie Chicks. Their slick country rock is very well done. I bought my wife their most recent album. There are some good tunes on it. They are talented vocalists and musicians. If I care at all about their politics, I like that they are willing to send a big F-U to the fans they view as bigoted pricks. Read the lyrics on that last album. They dis the bible belt, too. None of that really matters however, unless the album is good. It is good, not great, but good. But it is NOT roots country.

  60. Chris S.,

    You know, I didn’t think about that. Just looking at the situation from the strategic viewpoint, I would say that Bush could manage the situation to keep her problems from damaging his campaign. But, if she were my daughter, I’d avoid running to protect her from the media circus.

    joe,

    That’s pretty much how I see Sheehan. Very few people agree with all of her politics, but I don’t see her as some evil person, either. She’s useful for the Democrats as a figurehead of sorts, but she’s someone they’d rather was seen, not heard.

  61. I’m not saying Sheehan is evil, although it is amazing to view her transformation from what she was a couple of yeas ago, into the anti-war hood ornament slash Hugo Chavez hugger she has become. I feel sorry for her, getting talked into being a flack for Democrats. Reminds me of Peter Sellers’ Chance the Gardener character in “Being There”.

  62. To dismiss them as “bimbos” reveals a touch of sexism, as well.

    I couldnt agree more. For shame.

    For in truth, they are high-quality pieces of ass.

    JG

  63. Being unpatriotic is only a crime where evil people rule. Those who have claimed the Dixie Chicks were treasonous are backing the principles of dictators.

  64. The best female vocalist of our time (really) is Jewel.

    You are sorely misguided. Jewel is a piece of yodeling crap.

    Uh, try Kate Bush.

  65. Eric writes: “This was really only a continuation of the audience-pandering where Maines only started voicing her opposition to the war during concerts in the UK.”

    The UK concerts were the first on the tour, which started around the time the war started. That’s why she spoke up then.

    There were no prior shows in the US.

  66. The lead singer of Evanesence… ooh, my.

  67. Dave Weigel,

    Opening the film’s blog to haters actually seems like a genius move.

    Someone might well hear about the movie and wonder what the big deal is, after all, isn’t that ancient history? Surely it all blew over long ago, right?

    But the blog posts make it clear that there is *still* a lot of hostility, and *still* a lot of people who want them to shut up.

  68. If joe wants to listen to shitty-ass pop/country “music” who am I to stop him?

  69. highnumber,

    I actually got three undergraduate credits for the course “History of 20th Century American Popular Music;” grew up listening to my parents Kenny Rogers 8 tracks, own the “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?” soundtrack and some Johnny Cash, and am an annual attendee of the Lowell Folk Festival, the largest free folk festival in the world, which features at least two bluegrass/country-folk/old-time-whatever you want to call it music acts every year. I’d say I’ve heard about half of the acts you listed.

    So yes, I am reasonably familiar with traditional country music, fare moreso than with the watered down, Eagles-ish dreck given that appellation on most country radio.

    The Libertarian Guy,

    Chavez supporter = Democrat? ‘Kay, dude.

    My nomination for best contemporary female vocalist is Polly Jean Harvey.

  70. The best female vocalist of our time is Kelly Clarkson. She proved it by winning American Idol. I can’t believe we’re still even having this discussion.

  71. mediageek,

    It’s bad enough that you regularly attribute beliefs and actions to me that I have never engaged in, but I’m going to have to draw the line at those that I have specifically renounced. I don’t listen to the Dixie Chicks, and have only commented on their marketing strategy.

    Please, read gooder.

    highnumber, the Dixie Chicks may not be recording “Railroading and Boxcarring,” but they have certainly moved in the direction of roots country.

  72. Uh, John: Ted Nugent took meth for a couple weeks & walked around in crapped & pissed in pants for days to get out of the draft……bragged about it, afterwards. He isnt so much a hunter than someone who brags about killing animals, a different thing.
    Ill take the dixie chicks in a heartbeat over that chickenhawk clown, but then, like you said, you prefer his politics…

  73. Best female singer of our time?
    There are dozens of soul, country, and gospel singers who, hands down, are better singers than anyone mentioned on this page. I will not consider who is the best technically speaking, but as far as having a great voice and making the right choices when singing, Neko Case, Mary J Blige, N’Dea Davenport, Dee C. Lee, Carleen Anderson, Kelly Hogan, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris (she’s been around since the early 70s, but she belongs to our time, too), even Macy Gray and Ms Dynamite, they all blow Jewel out of the water.
    I have heard her live. They ALL blow Jewel out of the water.

  74. The Libertarian Guy:
    People usually admire Castro and Chavez (Che Guevara anyone?) because they are defiant. They are willing to stand up to bullshit US policy. In Castro’s case, the embargo is terrible policy and many admire him for not caving in. Chavez, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to stand for anything other than mixing piss and vinegar in with his oil.

  75. Let’s all take a moment to remember what Melissa Spence, Graduate Student, told The Onion back in 2003:

    “Lost in this whole controversy is one important point: That the Dixie Chicks’ music profoundly blows.”

  76. Maybe so, Lamar, but there are also those who genuinely think Castro and Chavez are geniuses whose policies should be implemented here. One comes to mind:

    ?It?s a new day. Communism is dead. It?s even dead in Cuba. I hate to say it, it?s dead.? – Barbara Boxer, senator from California

    Except it ISN’T dead.

    My point here, again, is for the NON-liberal anti-war movement to distance itself from the anti-war leftists. We have enough of their idiotic social policies as it is, and much as I despise what the conservatives have turned into… well, it’s a no-win either way, really.

  77. Rumor is GWAR are releasing a song about how the president is controlled by an alien demon posing as his penis.
    I always knew that Dubya was in league with the Cuttlefish of Cthulhu!

  78. Wow, joe, you done told me.

  79. Wait a minnit! Jewel SINGS?
    She had me with her extended topless scenes in a Civil War shoot-em-up a few years back……..

  80. the Dixie Chicks may not be recording “Railroading and Boxcarring,” but they have certainly moved in the direction of roots country.

    Maybe you’ve got me beat with your 3 credit hours of the “History of 20th Century American Popular Music,” but no, uh-uh, nowayjose, not at all, no-siree-bob, they are not moving closer to roots. Like I said, I think they are all right, but the closest analogues are the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt. That is not a bad thing. There is a place for slick country rock. (and, no, it ain’t the toilet.) They are capable of rootsy coountry, but that is not where they are at, and it does not seem to be where they are headed. I would not mind hearing it from them. Now that they work with Rick Rubin, maybe he can strip them down, I mean strip down their sound, and give us an album like the ones he produced for Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond.

  81. Heh, THANK you, Smacky. I still get new stuff out of that Ninth Wave section of Hounds of Love even after listening to it for years.

    If she came out and said she hated W, it would be audible only to dolphins, oversampled with the chimes of Chartres cathedral, and be spoken in a language she’d invented herself.

  82. Except it ISN’T dead.”

    So, if America doesn’t trade with them, they are still communist? Sure, it is still communist, like China is communist. Did you know that Cuba is the second most popular tourist destination for Europeans? It got to be that way because they moved away from a centrally planned economy in 1989-1990. They recogized private property, legalized use of the US Dollar and allowed private self-employment. It isn’t a perfect state, but communism is dead even in Cuba.

  83. “… the Dixie Chicks may not be recording ‘Railroading and Boxcarring,’ but they have certainly moved in the direction of roots country.”

    You keep making declarations about stuff you clearly know nothing about.

    The Dixie Chicks haven’t “certainly” moved in a roots-country direction. They’ve moved away from it. The group’s whole schtick early on — which won them lots of critical love — was putting a pop sheen on a very rootsy foundation.

    That’s what they were heralded for: “Wow, somebody’s putting banjos, fiddles and twang in a modern country song!” It’s what defined the Dixie Chicks. They became popular at pop and “hot country” radio despite those rootsy leanings — that’s what was so interesting and unusual about the group as a cultural phenomenon.

    If anything, the new (post-Bush-bash) album is their least rootsy of all. The boiled-down critical assessment here is that the Chicks are doing the Southern California country-rock thing.

    Everything I’ve just outlined is conventional wisdom. Now, you may disagree on some personal basis, like, “No, my ear hears far more rootsiness in the new album.” Which would be fine. But it would be such a radical view that you would practically have to say, “Now, I know that’s contrary to the conventional wisdom.”

    But that’s irrelevant anyway, because you just told us your qualifications for assessing the Dixie Chicks’ body of work:

    “I don’t listen to the Dixie Chicks.”

  84. Then if it’s dead, Castro should free his people and not imprison them if they piss him off.

    Communism isn’t completely dead, Lamar; it’s in hibernation, being kept alive by Kim Jong until it can be revived for another go ’round. Hell, we have morsels of it here in America – farm subsidies, price controls, welfare, the “tax the shit out of rich people” mentality espoused by Democrats…

    Would that there were a way to kill it and keep it dead, though. That would be sweet, although it would royally piss off the Hildabeast.

  85. joe, 11:17 am: And musically, they’ve gone from flashy “hot country” to more eternal roots country.

    joe, 11:36 am: I haven’t said anything about the Dixie Chicks’ music. Just their marketing.

  86. Hell, we have morsels of it here in America – farm subsidies, price controls, welfare, the “tax the shit out of rich people” mentality espoused by Democrats…

    Don’t forget the war on drugs. I think that might be the most communisty (a new word!?) of all of them.

  87. I forgot that one, Les… probably b/c both wings of the RepubliCrat party fail to do anything about abuse of forfeiture and seizure, or any of the other atrocities allowed by them in the WoD.

    There again, though, is something similar to my point about “anti-war = candyass commie-lib” mentality: If you’re against any part of the War on (most) Drugs, you’re pegged as a liberal. And nobody in their right mind – pardon the pun – wants to associate with that lot.

  88. Castro is a repressive, totalitarian son of a bitch. We agree on that. I will never agree with you that Fidel Castro is the greatest female singer of all time.

  89. How do you know that, Lamar? Fidel might have a FINE set of pipes! Maybe he can get a gig as the front-man for a revived “Rage Against the Machine” lineup…

  90. The UK concerts were the first on the tour, which started around the time the war started. That’s why she spoke up then.

    There were no prior shows in the US.

    And she was mute before that tour?

  91. Um, Castro no es una mujer. Don’t ask me how I know. His pipes are mighty fine, though.

  92. Rage Against the Machine kicked tremendous amounts of ass. Their politics sucked tremendous amounts of ass.

  93. “Castro no es una mujer”
    Ay, tienes razon. Senor Castro es una puta.

  94. El Jefe es muy feo.

  95. Communism is dead.

    It’s just that a lot of people are locked inside the mausoleum.

  96. “To put it kindly, Cindy Sheehan is neither terribly sophisticated in her analysis of politics, nor very well served by the people working to indoctrinate her.”

    that is a very nice way of putting it, which i shall have to remember the next time i want a soft but accurate way of describing her.

    i still remember dems i knew getting really upset at the daily kos policy recommendation post (from what, like 3 years ago) about sheehan (i.e. calling her mother sheehan, etc) – i can only judge from their reaction that they are truly naive or so deeply partisan they think politics is something only the other guy does.

    but yeah, her handlers fucked up big time. she’s basically a non-entity at this point because they didn’t stop her from opening her mouth on anything other than bush and the war.

  97. Eric writes: “And she was mute before that tour?”

    I imagine she was busy rehearsing.

    What, you can’t genuinely speak in opposition to the war unless you go well out of your way to do so? She’s a fake unless she held a press conference? What bollocks.

  98. “I did not, I repeat did not, have musical relations with the Dixie Chicks.”

    -joe

  99. Can’t somebody, please, post the 100th comment?

  100. ‘Scuse me. I’m looking for a musicology class. Is this Dixie Chicks 101?

  101. No, this is Dixie Chicks 102. You want the blog across the hall.

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