Freedom Folks

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Patriotism a Four Letter Word to Dixie Chicks

Source: Daily Telegraph (H/T Michelle Malkin)

With their origins as bouffant-haired ingénues playing bluegrass music long forgotten, the Chicks are in Miami to attend a Sony BMG conference, where their new album, Taking the Long Way, is high on the corporate agenda. It's their first release since the group weathered the storm of outrage triggered by Maines's expression of shame that President Bush was from her home state of Texas. Although they've sold 30 million albums, the company was concerned about their commercial future.

When Maines made her comment on March 10 2003, 10 days before Operation Iraqi Freedom unleashed "shock and awe" over Baghdad, the Dixie Chicks were probably the biggest act in country music.
Love that freedom of speech. But just because you are free to express your opinions doesn't mean there won't be consequences.

"The reaction was as if Natalie had said 'Death to the President' or something," says violinist and vocalist Maguire.

"It was the bullying and the scare factor," shudders banjo and guitar player Robison. "It was like the McCarthy days, and it was almost like the country was unrecognisable."
Death threats, or threats of any physical violence, for that matter? Definitely not acceptable. Running over Dixie Chicks CDs with a tractor? Silly, but certainly not illegal. Not buying or playing Dixie Chicks music? I have no problem with that -- and neither should the Dixie Chicks.

As musicians, you are selling a package, as they say in the industry. Your music is only part of the equation. Your image is another, arguably larger, part of how you are making a living -- or a fortune, in the case of the Dixie Chicks.

Doesn't it just make sense that if you're marketing your "package" to a largely conservative crowd, statements like that uttered by Maines might affect your bottom line? If I were successfully selling music that largely appealed to the Kos crowd, I wouldn't announce that I was ashamed to be from the same state as Cindy Sheehan unless I was prepared to take a hit at the cash register in exchange for sharing my opinion.

The Chicks can't hide their disgust at the lack of support they received from other country performers. "A lot of artists cashed in on being against what we said or what we stood for because that was promoting their career, which was a horrible thing to do," says Robison.

"A lot of pandering started going on, and you'd see soldiers and the American flag in every video. It became a sickening display of ultra-patriotism."
Will I lose Freedom Folks readers for expressing my response? I'm willing to risk it.

You self-centered, clueless, whiny bitches! Did it ever occur to you that we started seeing "soldiers and the American flag in every video" because WE WERE AT WAR? That a surge in showing patriotism might be in support of our soldiers who were risking and sacrificing their lives in a foreign land so that others might have the same freedoms you take for granted?

I was one of the many who would no longer purchase your CDs, and who turns the radio off when one of your songs comes on. Not because I don't like your music anymore -- it's as wonderful as it always was -- but because I can't listen to it without thinking of your completely arrogant assumption that it was all about you, and because of -- well, you say it best:

"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."
You don't have to be a patriot. No one ever said that you HAVE to be a patriot. It's a free country.

You're even free to condescendingly insult those who do care about patriotism...just don't stomp your feet like petulant children when they don't want to buy your music anymore.


Fun music industry facts!

Did you know Jake used to be a professional musician/roadie/studio musician/exotic dancer?

No? No matter, here is the funny with the Dixie Chicks. An artist makes very little money from a released album, most of that money is eaten up by advertising costs, production costs, and of course the bite the record company takes.

A bands real money comes from touring and ancillary prduct sales, T-shirts and all that kind of jazz. The Chicks can't sell tickets, so when folks suggest they aren't paying a price?

Wishful thinking.

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