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December 16, 2012

This post is essentially a plug for a movie that I love starring three women who I believe are badass, talented and wholly inspiring: the Dixie Chicks in Shut Up And Sing (watch the trailer here).

Back in the Dark Ages of the Bush Administration, part deux, the global sentiment regarding U.S. politics, specifically our asinine, unilateral occupation of a sovereign nation (that was not at all linked to the 9/11 attacks on the WTC), was at best bleak and at worst downright hostile. There were many here in the States feeling the same way; however, and we are quick to forget, there was a time when anyone who spoke out against the actions of the President and/or his administration was chastised as being anti-American (i.e. “You’re either with us, or against us.”). Without making any excuses, it was all a very emotionally-charged time for our society and Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine does a fine job explicating exactly what was going on in a more critical way than what I am willing to delve into in this post.

Anyway, we have this really volatile atmosphere mixed with all sorts of nationalism and patriotism and grief; it was a messy time. And, in the midst of all of this, the Dixie Chicks are on their Top of the World tour, doing a gig in London on March 10, 2003, just 10 days or so before the official start to the “War in Iraq.” Natalie, the lead singer, makes the following mid-set comment to raucous applause:

“Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

What started as a behind-the-scenes film about their tour transformed, in that moment, into one of my favorite, poignant, telling anecdotal glimpse into what life in America was like during that time; it’s a honest vignette. From Wikipedia: “The film follows the Dixie Chicks, an extremely successful all-woman Texas-based country music trio, over a three-year period of intense public scrutiny, fan backlash, physical threats, and pressure from both corporate and conservative political elements in the United States.” Sure,

The financial successes that the Dixie Chicks enjoyed prior to that day in 2003 are undoubtedly gone in whirlwind of immediate and systemic blowback from the conservative-controlled media outlets, especially in radio. But I believe that the Chicks are enjoying the much more deeply fulfilling satisfaction of being true to what it is inside of them that made them musicians in the first place: the desire to express themselves and share their stories and their truths.

And they have some damn good music to show for it. Watch this: Not Ready to Make Nice.

Forget, sounds good
Forgive, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

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One thought on “Shut Up and Sing

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