Today I saw Shut Up & Sing, a lively documentary that follows the Dixie Chicks from their controversial anti-war comment to the present day.
I'll admit it—I'm not a fan of country music. I've never bought a Dixie Chicks record. I probably couldn't name one of their albums if my life depended on it, but after watching this I almost want to just on principle.
A few months prior to the start of the war in Iraq, lead singer Natalie Maines said "We're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas" during a show in England. The London-based newspaper The Guardian printed the quote and soon the American right-wing group the Free Republic got a hold of it and led a national boycott of their music.
Ridiculous. And wildly hypocritical.
Here they are "defending" a war that is allegedly taking place to "liberate" a country so they can enjoy the same freedoms that we do, and these so-called patriots are denying the Dixie Chicks their freedom of speech (and freedom of security since Maines received death threats as a result of speaking her mind). It's also hypocritical because it hurt the business of the Dixie Chicks, a business which is ultimately stimulating the American economy when it does well.
It was refreshing to see Republican John McCain cracking down on the radio suits who originally ordered the boycott during congressional hearings, but it was nauseating watching these three lovely ladies see their career crumble before them because they acted like...Americans.
Every journalism teacher should show this film in class and every fan of the first amendment should buy a Dixie Chicks album. Just to show their patriotism.