The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events
March 16, 2003
Return of the Ditzy
The Dixie Chicks have made a Texas-sized
mess for themselves.
Natalie Maines' remarks at a recent London
concert, in which she said the Chicks were ashamed that President Dubya
was from their home state of Texas, have unleashed a torrent of backlash
against the popular country trio. Fans are posting angry comments on
Internet message boards, flooding radio stations with complaints (one
station in Phoenix even took a poll to see if it should continue playing
Dixie Chicks songs), and more have publicly vowed to destroy or return
their Chicks' CDs and never buy another one.
One wonders what prompted Maines to say
such a thing in wartime on foreign soil. I suppose it's easier to trash
your president overseas, in front of a more receptive audience, and thus
gain more favor with the locals.
Of course, in these touchy times in which
celebrities flap their gums then quail in fright when people respond to
them, one must say that Maines and the other Chicks have every right to
believe as she does and tell the world all about it. It's called freedom,
and it's a wonderful thing. But her freedom does not somehow restrict the
freedom of others to slam her comments. Criticism is not oppression, as
several quivering leftists (especially on college campuses) assert.
In a very lame effort to quell this
backlash, on March 12 Natalie Maines published
a short explanation on the group's web site. It's pretty much the
usual twaddle, especially this little gem: "While we support our
troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war
with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be
A few problems here. First, I can think of
plenty of more frightening scenarios. War against Hitler was scary. The
Cold War was terrifying, with thousands of Soviet nukes pointed at the
U.S. and Europe. War in Korea was scary and horrifying in Vietnam. The
Civil War was a disaster. And I'm sure Maines is grateful that our
founding fathers risked their lives, fortunes, and honor to sign the
Declaration of Independence. That must have been very scary, because they
immediately declared themselves traitors. In fact, the British made it a
point to search for every man who signed that document and destroy their
homes and families. And, you may recall, the minor events on September 11,
2001, were a tad bit unsettling.
Second, it amuses me when pro-Saddam
protestors (please, don't call them anti-war or pro-peace. How many
marched to protest 9-11, or the Soviet war in Chechnya, or American
bombing in Kosovo and Iraq, and countless other conflicts?) cite the Iraqi
lives that may be lost in a war, when Iraqi lives are being destroyed now
by Saddam Hussein. Their protests only prolong Saddam's reign and the
oppression of the Iraqi people. If Maines were so concerned about the
deaths of innocent Iraqis, she'd support this war.
Finally, her statement implies that because
a course of action may be scary, it's somehow wrong. This is just ludicrous.
Many times, doing the right thing is scary, while doing the wrong thing is
easy and safe. It's scary for a rape victim to testify against her
attacker in court, but it's the right thing to do. It's scary for a
battered wife to leave her slimeball husband, but it's the right thing to
do. It's scary to confront a killer, but it's the right thing to do. It's
scary to risk your job by defying an illegal or immoral order, but it's
the right thing to do. It's scary to risk innocent lives by going to war,
but it's the right thing to do by preserving countless more lives.
When the March 12 statement proved rightly
unsatisfactory, Maines released
another one on March 14, in which she apologized to President Dubya
for her "disrespectful" remark and claims to love her country.
I don't doubt she loves her country. I'm
sure she's a "proud American," as she says. I'm sure she's
opposed to the war. But there are better ways to make those views known,
and better words in which to express those views.
I don't take much pleasure in slamming the
Chicks, to be honest. I'm a fan. When they first appeared, I noticed their
wardrobe, their attitudes, and just their style and immediately disliked
them and branded them the Ditzy Twits. I didn't care for their songs,
except for perhaps Wide
Open Spaces. Then in 1999 they released Fly,
with songs like Cowboy Take Me Away, Ready to Run, Cold
Day in July, and the incomparable and righteous Goodbye
Earl, and my defiance started to wither. I watched one of their
concerts on TV and grudgingly admitted they were extremely talented
musicians. They're also gorgeous (the fiddle player, Martie Maguire, is
the best-looking Chick, and I will entertain no disagreement or discussion
on this matter). My resistance to the Chicks became futile with Home,
their wonderful country/bluegrass album, and I had to admit that I was a
fan. My wife and I have all their CDs. I gave up their nickname, of which
I was quite proud.
I'll keep listening to their music. I don't
think they should be blacklisted, or shunned, or censored, or anything of
that sort. If you disagree and want to take a sledgehammer to your Chicks
CDs, feel free.
Having said that, I do believe they have
earned their original (now affectionate) moniker, and are once again the