One of my favorite readers directed me to the following comment:
I think people are paranoid,” former Grateful Dead member Mickey Hart told Reuters. “I think that if they speak out, they think they’re gonna get whacked by the government. It’s pretty oppressive now. Look at the Dixie Chicks. They got whacked.”
Suffering fools and stupidity is so exhausting. The Dixie Chicks did not get “whacked” by the government. If anyone “whacked” them it was their fans who like their music without political sermonizing, thank you very much. It was the country fans who chose in droves to stop buying their CDs and told DJ’s they didn’t want to hear them on the radio. Sorry, but George Bush can ‘t be blamed for this one.
As for being whacked, if five Grammy wins is being whacked, then I’ll bet there will be some other singers hoping someone decides to whack on them a bit. I didn’t watch the Grammy awards tonight, but was switching channels around 11 and kept the dial on CBS long enough to see the Dixie Chicks win for song of the year and for album of the year. I was a huge fan of their music back when they were a country act, before they became professional victims. When they said they didn’t want those fans that are also fans of people like Reba McIntyre, they lost their country base, and me, for good.
The wins tonight were widely predicted, and were not surprising considering who does the voting. The win that was the strangest was the win for best country album since the Chicks said this was NOT a country album and it got practically no play on country stations. That is what happens when those in the rock, pop, R&B, and other parts of the music industry are allowed to vote for best country album. Natalie Maines commented tonight, “I think people are using their freedom of speech with all these awards. We get the message.” She might want to remember who did the voting. It was not the fans — definitely not the country fans. Expect to see the same kind of freedom of speech at the Oscars in two weeks, when Hollywood sends a message by showering Al Gore with accolades.
The Grammys have a long tradition of giving their country category awards to artists with relatively little appeal to country fans, like k.d. lang, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Lucinda Williams. They also have a history of making political statements with their awards, most notably the bizarre award to Hillary Clinton for her narration of “It Takes a Village.”
Betsy Newmark makes an observation about the fans’ free speech rights:
The government didn’t “whack” the Dixie Chicks. Their fans did. Is the position of the cognoscenti now that fans can’t express their opinions of musical artists by deciding not to buy their music?
There were some fans that burned Chicks CDs and a small number of people that even made death threats for a short time following their anti-war statements, but most just stopped by their CDs and called radio stations to say they didn’t want to hear them. The Chicks, on the other hand, got featured on the covers of dozens, if not hundreds, of magazines as a result of their political rant and got incalculable free publicity in prime time interviews when this latest album was released. Country music fans were labeled haters or backward or ignorant if they so much as voiced disagreement with the Chicks. Country music stations that honored the preferences of their fans who called in droves saying they didn’t want to hear the Chicks, were accused of censorship. One group, the Chicks, got free publicity and awards for voicing their free speech — and it was definitely voiced — and made buckets of money as a result. The other group, the fans, got labeled as backward, ignorant haters and censors and didn’t make a dime. Now who did Hart say got whacked?
Update III: Urban Grounds notes the winnners at the most recent Country Music Association Awards and makes a good point:
Awarding the Dixie Chicks the Country Album of the Year was nothing more than a political jab at the Country Music industry and radio stations that have spurned the Chicks. It certainly didn’t reflect the albums most enjoyed or appreciated by actual country music listeners (such as Miranda Lambert’s Kerosene, Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts, or Josh Turner’s Your Man)…The Dixie Chicks weren’t even nominated for a single award in their own industry. But they won all the country awards at the Grammys. Riiiiiigghhhttt…
Carrie Underwood’s CD, which has produced at least four number one hit singles and shows no signs of stopping, is great and, in my opinion, deserved the win. But that is just the opinion of a country music fan, not a rich, liberal celebrity who thought the Chicks were hicks until they dissed the President.
Update IV: The suppression of the Chicks continues.
Update V: Libertas takes a look at some of the stats:
They went from selling tens of million of records to less than 2 million. They went from #1 hits to not being able to crack the Top 20. They went from filling arenas to cancelling tour dates and having to play in Canada. They went from winning awards for their work to winning consolation prizes prizes for their politics.
If they only understood it wasn’t their politics that cost them their audience — that it was their unbridled arrogance — they wouldn’t be taking those Grammys to Canada on their next tour. Of course, they might not have won those Grammys otherwise, because it appears they won big last night, not for their music, but instead for, “Best Performance By Rich White Beautiful Females Who Have Everything At Playing Whiney Liberal Victims.” Link via Ed Driscoll.