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Monday, June 12, 2006

The Gospel According to the Dixie Chicks - by Ralph Nader

Who would have thought when the Dixie Chicks were selling more than 10 million copies each of "Wide Open Spaces" (1998) and "Fly" (1999) that they would become the most controversial band in America?
 
Even more improbable was the likelihood that three young women would have the strength of character and personality to stand their ground after the continuing uproar against them by scores of radio DJs and many of their fans.
 
What provoked the furor was a single sentence by their lead singer-Natalie Maines-uttered onstage in London ten days before Bush's illegal, unconstitutional and fabricated invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003.
 
Here is what Ms. Maines, a native Texan, said: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."
 
Those fifteen words must have cost her and her fellow players, Emily Robinson and Martie Maguire, at least three million dollars a word so far. Most bands would have retreated, begged for forgiveness and eaten humble pie.
 
Not these ladies of steel. After taking some time out-Ms. Robison and Ms. Maguire had twins-the Dixie Chicks have come back with their new album "Taking the Long Way" which has topped the charts in its first two weeks. "We could have pandered," said Ms. Maines to the New York Times. They did just the opposite. No apologies. Words of defiance and staying true to themselves flow through the lyrics.
 
In composing their songs, the remarkable Dixie Chicks told their record company that "We need to approach everything like not one radio station is going to play one single song."
 
Conviction triumphed over commercialism. Ms. Maines, when asked about country radio, retorted "Do you really think we're going to make an album for you and trust the future of our career to people who turned on us in a day?"
 
Well, it's probably what many in the music industry thought they would do. Especially the DJs who boycotted playing their records after The Incident in 2003. You can imagine what these DJs thought when they first heard the first single "Not Ready to Make Nice," which cries, "I'm not ready to back down/I'm still mad as hell."
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