Question to the peanut gallery - how many people here know the history of the musical group the Dixie Chicks, prior to what happened in London, and how many people know all of what Ms. Maines actually said at the concert in question? Also, do we really know that all
C&W radio stations aren't playing the band or do we assume this because we heard about it some place?
First, I know that I don't know what Natilie Maines said exactly - I've just read the highlights of what she said, that hit the major news sites. Going by the reported comments, I wasn't that impressed with her views. She didn't say she didn't support the War because it was wrong but that she didn't support it because she didn't like how it made Europeans not like her, because she was an American. Then she changed her mind and tried to appologies several times for her comment and then, after realizing she wasn't going to be forgiven, decided to go back to her first viewpoint and decided to diss fellow C&W singer Toby Keith for being too Hawkish in one of his songs in a recent interview (in other words, she can express her views but he needs to tone it down because she disagrees with him?)
. Personally I find Ms. Maines a rather shallow person who doesn't have much conviction to her own views, if she's going to back down so quickly from them. IMO had she stuck to her guns, the C&W community boycott wouldn't have been quite as succesful as it seems to have been (but that is a "seems to" because I've not seen any hard facts to back up that it really has worked all that well).
That said, IMO I'm not too sure that what happened here really had anything to do with Free Speech and might instead have been a moment of "the straw that broke the camels back" instead. This is where the history of the Dixie Chicks comes into play. Due to the bands winning the Grammys in February, CMT did a show chronicling their history. I actually saw that show several times and what struck me about the band was that A) this is a band that had been controversial for years, though not in the political sense (actually I don't think they'd ever made their politics all that clear in the past) and B) that Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, the two sisters who make up the majority in the band, have a ruthless streak when it comes to making the band succesful and keeping control over things. I also thought sisters kicking the original lead singer out of the band, just one day after they finally got the major recording contract the three of them had been pursuing for almost ten years, was pretty darn cold
Anyway, the Dixie Chicks started out as a accoustic, ultra traditional, Bluegrass quartet and have ended up being a C&W/Pop cross over trio. That's a huge
shift in music, fan base, and overall public persona. As well, the World Tour the band is now on looks to have been constructed to help distance them from their country roots, with the band having planned to support PETA in a ad campaign (an campagin nixed after London) and having all of the opening acts in the U.S. being folk or pop/rock (a very unusual for C&W artists to do). I don't think with all of this going on it's all that big of a surprise that their fans are possibly fed up with the bands never ending re-invention. IMO, C&W music fans aren't that naive and they may have finally realized after London that the band was pretty much tossing them out for greener pastures, so to speak, and it was time for they, the fans, to let them know what they thought about it.
I realize what I'm thinking here is just a theory but I'm not sure I'm that far off the mark. I've lived most of my life around C&W music fans and they tend to be very loyal to their band and artists but also expect that loyalty to be returned. IMO I think the Dixie Chicks don't really have that loyalty to return back (at least at the moment) but instead are focused on having the most profitable and diverse career they can have. While I have nothing against a band doing that (more power to them), I also can't fault their fans for feeling betrayed. Yet I do think the media, in a frenzy to show how they band is being "slighted," has skipped over this aspect of what is going on.
PS: Interesting URL I found to a OpEd type piece on the situation http://www.cmt.com/n...ne.032003.jhtml
PPS: I should explain why I watched the Dixie Chick history show to begin with, seeing I don't listen to their music
. My brother-in-law is a fan (or was - I've not asked him his opinion on this controversy) and mentioned to me that he thought Natalie was a better singer than the original lady she replaced. I could tell from the way he said it that there was something controversal going on, so I decided to watch the CMT show and find out about the band. While I think my B-in-law is probably correct that the band did the right thing creatively by letting the original singer go, I was really bothered by the fact that according to her, she was never given a chance to try and change her style before being given the boot (on top of this she was obviously older and less photogentic than the sisters or Ms. Maines are and the cynic in me had to wonder if she was really let go because of her singing style or because she wasn't really commercial enough to get to the next level of success the sisters were aiming for