Pure and simple as a hammer to the forebrain

     
 

Dixie Chicks No Rebels
2003-03-19 12:02:03


Cackles of the Mad Reverend
 
I encourage you to drink wine and examine your motives for being such an aggressive and angry skeptic.
-- Ratsnatcher

 

Whatever happened to Grrrrrl Power? Did I fall asleep one night and wake up to tractable Southern women in their pre-Civil War form? Back in the social corsets of submission, seen and not really heard? Dangling before us like sugarplums, delicious and ripe, but lacking any real substance? Thanks to the Dixie Chicks, all these questions have been answered in a most ominous fashion.

Natalie Maines took a bold step last week in London, telling an audience there that she was ashamed to have President Bush as a fellow Texas native. My God, for a minute feminism took a quantum leap across the Mason Dixon line and around the world in the space of a light pulse! Grrrrl Power sprang from the menu as a jambalaya special would from listings of fried chicken and skirt steak. But like any menu options, it's ultimately up to the diners as to what sells. And so the revolution never got past the chopping block.

Within days, the Chicks were back in the coop, clucking away under the foot of their Man. That would be the infamous Money Man-the one who giveth sold out shows or taketh away hillside mansions. Maines couldn't apologize fast enough. Suddenly she had the utmost respect for Mr. President, as she would for any American President. She'd seen the light. She'd come around. Just like a good little girl should. No fight, no bite, no nothing.

Dissent is becoming increasingly un-American and Maine's quick heeling demonstrates this quite clearly. Once upon a time, transcendent musicians were considered part of the greater social conscience. Durable spines reinforced with spiritual and intellectual framework built pious cathedrals no sane person dared to assault. Record companies and radio stations, less incestuous than they are now, promoted this assembly, too, perhaps because a few liberals still held influential positions amid entertainment airwaves. But the worm turned on all that when the Towers fell. Days after, radio, television, and music executives offered their loyal support to the New American Cause. We've been living the brunt since.

About a decade ago, when MTV still mattered, dino-rockers Aerosmith did a political ad for Rock the Vote wherein Steven Tyler appealed to Nirvana's disenfranchised by encouraging them to support their "right to enjoy cruel and unusual punishment." Now the Real World has-been refuses to allow anti-war ads featuring teens who argue against the conflict. We get plenty of establishment blather like "Fraternity Life" and "Sorority Life," demonstrating how co-opted Beavis and Butthead's former network has become. An MTV that bucks the system is a wholly-owned corporate subsidiary that isn't with the program, and which threatens the mass market stability of its conglomerate parent.

Similarly, the History channel has also been lost. Rather than attempting even a modicum of balance, the network has utterly capitulated to the "war is noble" theme. On any weekday or night, a viewer may be subjected to such crucial historic moments as the development of machine guns or D-Day logistics. Nowhere are any documentaries about Ghandi, the late sixties American anti-war movement, or profiles in courage that don't involve men and their guns. Intellectuals and artists have vanished from history, leaving only soldiers and self-righteous bureaucrats as our architects and developers.

Into this perverse swill of degenerate nationalism dove li'l Ms. Natalie, showing the kind of spirit that Euros find lacking in most Americans. Maines said what a whole lot of us thought, and we're not even from Texas. Bush is an embarrassment to all Americans, but double trouble for the handful of intelligent beings from the Lone Star State. She'd had it up to her ten-gallon brim and a girl said what a girl had to say. Too bad she had her own words for breakfast later the same week.

What's really sickening about this is Maines' complete lack of integrity. Taking a stand means taking the heat that goes along with it, and giving that heat back when necessary. Rather than up the ante for newly budding feminists, the Dixie Chicks left the little girls holding a bluff. In hindsight, the whole thing looks like nothing more than a callous marketing move that went too far. Maines wasn't really criticizing the President. She was only fishing for more European record sales. That certainly would explain why she folded so fast at home, issuing that pathetic apology hand-crafted by Ari Fleisher himself. The girls will sing whatever song Big Daddy puts in their jukebox.

Far from resurrecting the Confederacy through free thinking and expression, the Chickies instead proved that the next revolution in honesty will not come from the South. Or country music, either. Between this and Toby Kieth's lame-brained "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," Nashville's really just singing the same old song about authority and its misuse. A new breed of Southern Gal could have made history by turning to her redneck detractors and saying, "Fuck you. In America, we can disagree. Don't want my albums? Fine with me." Not this time. Thanks to this stunning example of market-driven compliance and conformity, another shot at intelligent recovery from rampant paranoia got a big ol' glob of chaw spat in its eye.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

quadratic@pigdog.org


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