Shut Up and Sing
Directors: Barbara Kopple and Cecelia Peck
Released: November 10, 2006
This is a documentary about the Dixie Chicks and the aftermath of lead singer Natalie Maine's "anti-American" comment and how that pretty much ruined their career. From about 1998-2003 they were one of the most popular groups, country or not and of course they had that huge hit, "Goodbye Earl". I love the Dixie Chicks. I have all of their albums. My favorite is their second album, Fly. That has "Goodbye Earl" on it along with some of my other favorites, "Cowboy Take Me Away" and "Cold Day in July." Unfortunately since some people are idiots and take everything way too personal, their career hasn't been the same since the "controversial" statement Maines made.
Okay, so I'm sure everyone knows what happened, but allow me to recap it. In 2003, during a concert in London, Maines said she was against the war (like a lot of celebrities were) and said she was ashamed to be from the same state as the President. Now if she had just said the first comment, there might have been a few grumbles (from their hugely conservative fanbase), but I don't think they would have suffered from the massive boycott and plummeting ratings that they did just for saying that they were ashamed Bush was from Texas. That's the reason everyone got into such a hissy fit. And when I say everyone, I'm talking about the extreme right wingers as I'm sure there were conservative Dixie Chicks fan who didn't get into such an uproar over what they said. I cannot stand the extreme right wingers. And to be fair and unbiased, I also cannot stand extreme left wingers...they both need to calm down! But it was the only extreme right wingers that were angry and upset over what Natalie Maines said. First of all, while she was serious about being against the war, when she made the quip about Bush being from the same state as her, you could tell it was said as a joke. (They showed footage of that moment at the concert). One of the London papers wrote about it, then it became this huge global news item. And second of all, WHO CARES? She didn't say she wasn't proud to be an American or wished the President dead or anything. What she said really wasn't that bad, but unfortunately since their fan base is mostly made up of Republicans (with a few exceptions of course!), it got out of hand.
Sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robinson are the other "Chicks" and while they supported Natalie and her comments and stood beside her (as she got most of the vitriolic attacks), you could tell they wished Natalie had kept her mouth shut or had spun it a different way. One of them suggested they apologize and said it was meant as a joke (which it was), but Natalie refused. When her manager suggested they try to put up a video of one of their new songs on CMTV, she refused, saying it was a lost cause since that audience didn't want to listen to their music. Not that I blame her, why bother trying to win over an audience that you can't win back, but you can tell she was making all the decisions.
The people they offended would burn their CDs which is fine, it's your property, do what you want with it, but they would also call in radio stations that played their music and told them they would boycott the station if they didn't stop playing Dixie Chick music. If I had been a DJ, I would have told that person to go suck an egg and would play nonstop Dixie Chick music. But alas, there's a lot of crazy right wing people out there and a lot of them called in with threats of boycotting country radio stations across the country and they had to listen to the people because they would lose a lot of ratings. I remember after Chris Brown beat up Rihanna (neither one I can stand), the top 40 stations didn't play his music for, like, maybe a month, but now you'll hear his (crappy) songs every once in awhile. You don't hear his songs as often as Rihanna's (equally crappy) or Katy Perry's or Lady Gaga's songs, but they still do play them. With the Dixie Chicks, who never assaulted anybody, I don't think I've ever heard their songs on the radio again, especially a country station. They might have played their single about the whole ordeal from their 2006 (and most recent) album, "Not Ready To Make Nice" on a non-country station a few times. I don't listen to country stations that much, but I've never come across a Dixie Chick song. If anyone has heard any, I'd love to know.
That 2006 album was also their most recent so it's been awhile since they've made an album. They are still together (I had to check the Wiki!) and I hope they do make more music because they always have great songs. They did win the Grammy for Best Album of the Year in 2007 and "Not Ready to Make Nice" won Record of the Year. Natalie Maines made a comment about how if this debacle had never happened, they never would have gotten to be on the cover of Entertainment Weekly or interviewed by Diane Sawyer. I guess it's true what they say about there being no such thing as bad press!