I just finished watching Shut Up & Sing, the documentary about the Dixie Chicks following the controversy of Natalie Maine’s comments about President Bush in 2003 on the eve of the invasion of Iraq.
All I have to say is that this diehard punk rock chick is the Dixie Chicks’ newest fan!
And that’s not easy for me to admit since I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to distance myself from country music. My mom was a country music DJ most of my childhood and I was born in Southern Illinois farm country — just about the most conservative, Midwestern place in America. Better believe most of my family are diehard country fans and most of them are pretty damn conservative. I’d say like most non-fans of country music, I’ve played into the stereotypes of it being the bastion of silly songs and conservative types. So it takes a lot for me to cheer for “country.”
The documentary was moving, feminist, pro-family, patriotic, political and dare I say punk rock. I thought the film-makers did a good job of blending media reports, footage of Bush administration speeches (and lies) as well as interviews with fans (the angry and the loyal) and radio station DJs.
Even before this movie though, I really felt for the Dixie Chicks during the after-math of that London show. And when I first heard about Maines’ comments in 2003, I was so happy someone famous had finally got the balls to say something publicly. It was great to see people marching in protest around the world, but sometimes it takes a celebrity to really get the ball rolling. And remember, in the days after 9/11, so many of those who have made protest music lately (Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow) were silent. (At least I had solace in the punk bands like NOFX, and later Green Day!)
I say, rock on Dixie Chicks! You inspire me!