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Sid & Nancy (and Martie, Emily & Natalie)

You don't like the sound of the truth coming from my mouth

“Still, it seems to me that the Dixie Chicks are operating now less in the realm of country music than they are in the realm of punk.”

Great article (requires subscription or day pass) in today’s Salon about the Chicks and how they stood up to Diane Sawyer’s idiotic, party-line questioning. Not backing down, says Charles Taylor, is a quality belonging more to the punk ethic than the Grand Ol’ Opry. Branding themselves on the cover of Entertainment Weekly with epithets like “Dixie Sluts” is reminiscent of riot grrl bands like Bikini Kill or Sleater-Kinney showing up with “bitch” and “slut” written on themselves. Excellent point.

My respect for the Chicks has certainly grown in recent months. I liked them already – amazing musicians, great performers, individuals in a country-clone land – but their political bravery is really impressive. There are moments in everyone’s life in which you have the choice to speak out or back down. The stakes are different each time – maybe it’s a friendship, or your social standing at work, or your job – for the Chicks the stakes are both higher and lower. They have a lot more success than most people, so they stand to lose a lot. But because they have so much success, they’re insulated from the effects of a fall. (If Natalie is driven into the poorhouse (unlikely), I’m sure she can bunk with Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins for a while.)

Still, the choice the Chicks made – to stand behind their right to speak out and to question authority (to speak truth to power) – is significant. It’s brave to speak out when the powers that be are painting the issues in black and white. It’s brave to speak out and remind everyone that there are a thousand shades of gray, and a million other colors in the world. I respect the Chicks for that – and I respect everyone else who refuses to let political hardliners (on either side) relieve us of our duty to think independently.

{ 6 } Comments

  1. Courtney | April 29, 2003 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Could not agree more.

    I always look to find lyrics which typify or help sum up a situation. For this one, I will choose one of the Chicks’ own (or, actually a cover song on Home, written by Patty Griffin). Instead of Diane Sawyer calling the segment: “Landslide”, it should have been “Truth No. 2″…

    “You don’t like the sound of the truth
    Coming from my mouth

    I don’t think that I’m afraid anymore say that I would rather die trying”

    I hoping that country artists like the Chicks will continue to bring diversity to country music and shake up Music City. (I only hope that Terri Clark is the next in line to stir up the Nashville establishment!)

  2. M | April 29, 2003 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Excellent choice, Court! (I used that quote for the alt text on the pic of the Chicks above)

  3. Courtney | April 29, 2003 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    You know, I had only floated over the URL links! I should have known we’d be on the same page.

    And let me just say how much I love this sentence:

    “It’s brave to speak out and remind everyone that there are a thousand shades of gray, and a million other colors in the world.”

    Sheer prose.

    I’m feeling the need to put bumper stickers on my car!!

  4. Kelly | April 29, 2003 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Cheers again to the Dixie Chicks — I’m sorry I missed the interview. A country singer speaking her mind is definitely rarer than such comments from rock ‘n’ roll, which is almost always going against the system. (Yet Johnny Ramone said “God Bless President Bush” when the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Who’d have thought that Bush would have the Ramones in his corner but not the Dixie Chicks? Is this the gender gap at play?)

    That said, have we seen any signs that Terri Clark might be a Nashville rebel-in-waiting? Or is that just a fond hope?

  5. M | April 29, 2003 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    It’s a weird, weird world. Bush may have Johnny in his corner, but somehow I think he would never have gotten a shout-out from Joey…

  6. Courtney | April 29, 2003 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t this fun?

    It’s like our own chat room that the WHOLE WORLD can read!

    Kitty, are you there? Join in!!!

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