The music industry awarded an armload of Grammys to the Dixie Chicks on Sunday night, in what was celebrated as a blow for freedom of speech as much as tunefulness. The endorsement was about three years too late. The awards — including for the trio’s fittingly titled album “Taking the Long Way” and the song “Not Ready to Make Nice” — ended a desolate period in which their music was boycotted and banned by country music stations, their CDs were burned and smashed, and group members’ lives were threatened.Yeah, tons of vindication to go around...:)
The Chicks’ offense was geographic but labeled unpatriotic. The lead singer, Natalie Maines, told a 2003 London concert crowd that she was ashamed that President Bush was from her home state, Texas. She briefly apologized to fans, then quickly took it back, reclaiming her right to oppose the Iraq war and criticize the president.
Had Ms. Maines been a senator at the time, she might now be a shoo-in candidate for president.
The gutsy group beat back the campaign by conglomerate radio chains to obliterate them and did it with little support from fellow artists, who apparently feared getting Dixie-Chicked themselves. The band reinvented itself, taking on a pop style, reclaiming some old fans and finding new ones — a lot of them. Meanwhile, Mr. Bush’s polls plummeted to Nixonian levels. Suddenly, the industry found the courage to really, really like them again.
We’ve seen this sort of political calibration by the arts before. Lillian Hellman scalded an Academy Awards ceremony in 1977, 25 years after she defied the House Un-American Activities Committee. The film industry, she said, responded to Washington’s red-baiting and blacklisting with all the “force and courage of a bowl of mashed potatoes.”
There must be a Dixie Chicks song in there somewhere. (emphasis added)
On that last point regarding a song... there is one...it's called "Bitter End," directed at their country music pals in particular and it's on Taking the Long Way...:)