Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Dixie Chicks and Finding Your Voice

So the Dixie Chicks seem to be selling more concert tickets north of the Mason Dixon line then they are in the Old Confederacy, their traditional constituency. Not too surprising, considering the negative comments their lead singer, Natalie Maines made in 2003 about President Bush while on tour in London. What is surprising is that she is sticking by her opinions and that the band has even incorporated their politics into their new album - Taking the Long Way. Finding their political voice, the Dixie Chicks seem to have figured out who and what they want to be. Take a listen - their sound may still be familiar but the words are all about leaving what was for something new, something more - maybe their traditional audience for a new one.

Although many red state country radio stations had been boycotting the band since 2003, it was assumed that all would be forgiven eventually, especially with the release of a new album. Hearing the new album, many stations have refused to play it saying it does not represent the views or mores of their audiences, even going so far as to refuse paid advertisements for their tour. Like so many who control different forms of media today, those programming these stations are more interested in making their listeners choices for them instead of just presenting the content and letting the listeners decide. So "who cares", you ask? Unless you're an old or new fan of the Dixie Chicks or of President Bush, you probably do not care.

Why do I care. I am neither an avid Dixie Chicks fan nor an avid fan of President Bush. I care because I see this situation as symptomatic of the political climate in the country today playing out on a smaller scale. "You're either with me, or against me." One instance of disagreement and we are blind or deaf to anything else that someone might say on any other issue. If you are willing to accept gay marriage than you can not possibly be a "values voter". If you support the war effort in Iraq, you could not possibly have a valid opinion on the budget deficit or stem cell research or funding for higher education.

And yet there is no real movement in this country to seek any sort of middle way. Not since the Civil Rights Movement and maybe even the Civil War has the nation been so intellectually and geographically divided. Are mainstream Republicans really happy to be members of a party who believes in kicking ass and asking questions later; are they really more interested in repeated debates on gay marriage over debating how to make our high schools more competitive internationally. Will mainstream Democrats not understand that faith plays a large role in the fabric of this country and was the reason many of our ancestors emigrated here in the first place? Although I believe in the causes of feminism and environmentalism, etc., Democrats must stop being pulled in thirty different directions and decide what is good for America and not for Latinos, or gays, or environmentalists separately. More importantly, these groups better realize that they need to find some common ground amongst each other to make any sort of credible opposition to the current ruling classes.

I know that there are those who would argue that steadfast principles are more important than reaching a consensus. I would argue that principles are for individuals to guide their personal lives and aiming for consensus is a principle because achieving consensus leads to action which leads to problem solving.

What I find puzzling and unsettling is that too many are willing to let others opinions form the basis of their beliefs instead of individually examining the facts. The news is hardly news anymore; it is constant analysis and opinion. And although that is also some of what I offer here in this blog, I would at least implore you to think for yourself. I intend what I write to be a starting point for a discussion and debate and have no desire to do your thinking for you. This is by no means a talking points blog.

The final point I would make is that a willingness to honestly examine facts would actually better enable us to achieve political and social consensus where opinions only provide cover to those more interested in intellectual dishonesty, dogma, and ultimately, the status quo.

Anyway, I thank the Dixie Chicks for allowing me to use them to make my points... and do take a listen, for both the music and the words.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Indigo Bubbles said...

Great post (and site!) I've been thinking about the Dixie Chicks a lot - actually you can't escape them. I liked their music (just 2 or 3 songs that crossed over) and I have to admire their guts. Also, they said their record company never gave them a hard time.I wonder if it's because you have more artistic-freedom-of-speech types in that field?

Not that I'm big on country music, but have you heard Gretchen Wilson? Check out them lyrics: Politically Uncorrect

(shouldn't it be 'incorrect'?? So she's grammatically incorrect as well). This song irritates me to no end b/c it's sooo extreme and stereotypical. But, Gretchen is proud to be a redneck and doesn't mind stereotypes.

Anyway, scary stuff happening in the US these days, like you said. The political climate is playing out in the country music theater.

Friday, June 23, 2006  
Blogger MyView said...

Thanks for reading and thanks for the kind words. I think country music has fallen victim to the political climate in the country where simplistic expressions of love of country are confused for patriotism. I hope that real country music lovers would be able to base their appreciation of country music less on their personal politics and more on a love of the art and craft of making music.

I look forward to reading your future blogs.

Friday, July 07, 2006  

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