May 25, 2006

Some thoughts on celebrity culture and politics.

The Dixie Chicks have released a new album and the press still can't get over the controversy of three years ago. What's even more interesting is that most of the public can't either.

When their lead singer criticized the President on stage in London years ago I thought it would turn out to be a non issue. Many artists critique our miserable excuse for a leader before and during the Iraq war.

How wrong I was. Talking heads such as Bill O'Reilly slammed the band. Many came out and dismissed their comments as cowardly. Toby Keith decided he needed to get into the fray
and started a ridiculous public feud with The Dixie Chicks. Country music stations, which normally appeal to a conservative fan base, pulled their songs from airplay.

Even I felt the backlash. The company I work for was hosting some content from The Dixie Chicks even displaying them on the front page of one of our sites. I received numerous emails from rabid neocons demanding that we pull all mention of them from our web sites or we would face a boycott. Some even called this company traitors for giving time to the so called upatriotic band.

The whole issue was asinine to me, but yet now that they have a new album they seem to be receiving huge notoriety among the left wing community. Most of the political blogs I read are mostly liberal, but yet I find their Dixie worship pretty stupid. I encourage people to speak out against our elected leaders, but I don't believe the band really thought they were going to garner that much heat. If they did critique the President knowing the cost it may cause their careers, well my outlook may change.

I support what they did; however I will not sit there and blindly buy an album of music that I don't particularly care for because they made one comment against everyone's least favorite elected official. If you read the posts and comments on websites like Crooks & Liars, a website I enjoy BTW, you'd think you were almost un-American for not purchasing their music. I've read many a kiss ass review of their recent mediocre performance of a simpleton song on Letterman. I wonder how many of them even gave a thought to their music before they spoke out against Bush. Granted the band is at times very talented; however I feel we should be supporting the art when purchasing it before the politics.

Robert DeNiro is a huge Hillary Clinton supporter, yet you won't see me burning my Deer Hunter, Goodfellas, or Raging Bull DVDs. If the Pussycat Dolls came out against Wal-Mart, which may cost them a ton of revenue if the company decided to pull their CDs, you won't hear me rocking out to 'Don't Cha.'

I do find it funny that the conservatives who worked so hard to have The Dixie Chicks removed from Clear Channel stations have effectively guaranteed them getting a huge fan base with the left. I can understand liberals wanting heroes in the art community, but we need to endorse dissenting politicians, scholars, and common everyday folk before we throw our money at millionaire celebrities to act as our voice.

"Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas," Natalie Maines


Scott said...

Great post. It really is pretty crazy that the Conservatives get going so crazy over these sort of things. Nuts!


jinsane said...

Now that Ms. Maines has publicly recanted her apology, I can't wait to see how this new album sells! I don't really have an opinion as to whether she was right or wrong. I really don't care. I'm just curious to see how her big ass mouth affects their career!