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for March 25, 2003

Open Mouth, Insert Fiddle
by Stiffy Biceptz

Writing this column has gotten easier over the last year. At first I had to dig around for something interesting to say, but now ideas seem to arrive in the mail on a weekly if not daily basis. Take for example, this past week.
A few days ago, the shortest of the Dixie Chicks' trio said during a show in London that they (she) were (was) embarrassed by the fact that President George Bush was also from Texas. Being respectful of people who speak their minds regardless of whether Stiffy agrees or not, I said to myself, good for her for exercising her 1st Amendment rights. Then I said to myself, if this were Iraq, or many other places in the world, she'd be dead soon.
In my fertile mind I added her comments to the long list of other celebrity comments regarding the Iraq situation dispensed to us over the last few months. My mind then moved on to other pressing Issues.
The next day the littlest Chick was feverishly apologizing to anyone and everyone for what she said. She said, "the presidency deserves respect, and I shouldn't have been disrespectful." At that point, what little respect I had for her and her band went right in the garbage.
What pissed me off so much was that her apology came only when she, her band and their record label realized that their careers might have just died. The only reason for the apology was the fact that a significant number of her (writer's warning: several stereotypes approaching) largely white, Southern, conservative leaning fans had basically gone ballistic upon hearing what she had said. Within hours of her original statement, radio stations were boycotting the Chicks' music, and many fans had tossed their CD's into trashcans supplied by those same radio stations.
I didn't care that she slammed the President. I wouldn't buy any of their CD's anyway. But what became immediately clear was that she probably only said it to please the audience at the time, which it likely did. Its very doubtful she would have had the balls to say that at any American show, for precisely the same reason; they probably sell a lot more records in the US than in Europe. And besides, she might get shot. (Writer's warning. That was another stereotype.)
So the question now is, what does she really feel? Did she mean what she said? If she did, the damage to the ol' career might be fatal. If she didn't, that rates as one of the lowest, slimiest, things ever said to try to sell a few records. After that comment, they might want to change their name to the Euro Chics since that might be where they're most popular now. And if she did mean it, the knee jerk retraction doesn't say much for her character (motto: Free speech is great as long as it won't hurt my bank account.) Bob Dylan is rolling in his grave. Oh wait, he's still alive.
The Chicks would be well advised to keep their lightweight opinions to themselves, especially if they can't take the heat; failing that, they could try to learn from the Hollywood gang, who I respect for walking the walk after talking the talk. Seems odd to have actors displaying more character.

©2003 Stiffy Biceptz

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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