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Thread: Shut up & Sing

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    FORT Fogey Cornedbeef's Avatar
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    Shut up & Sing

    http://www.hollywood.com/

    On stage at a 2003 London concert, Natalie Maines, lead singer of Texan trio the Dixie Chicks, spoke these 15 words to a small audience at the start of their sold-out international tour: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." The comment was delivered on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq, and drew cheers from the decidedly anti-war and anti-Bush British crowd. It was an off-the-cuff remark typical of the lead singer's temperament. Natalie, and fellow Dixie Chicks Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, thought little of it. But history and this film demonstrate that at this heightened moment of political polarization in the United States, many people did care, and empowered this simple, yet loaded remark to carry serious and longstanding ramifications. The documentary shows the band from their peak of popularity as the national-anthem-singing darlings of country music and top-selling female recording artists of all time, through the now infamous anti-Bush comment, and on through the days, months and years of mayhem. The film also follows the lives and careers of the musicians through the writing and recording of their first album since "the incident"--and three years of political attack, making music, birthing babies, bonding, death threats, and laughter.

    Director Credit
    Barbara Kopple Director
    Cecilia Peck Director

    Cast Credit
    Natalie Maines
    Martie Maguire
    Emily Robison
    Simon Renshaw

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    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    I'm definitely looking forward to this one.

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    Dreamer rt1ky's Avatar
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    Oops! I thought this was a thread about artist who need to shut up and sing or quit trying to act and stick to singing.

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    FORT Fogey
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    Re: Shut up & Sing

    Starz is showing this movie this month, and I took advantage of that and watched it last night. I think the marketers of the movie are absolutely brillant -- they managed to turn a promotional film for a new album into a perceived documentary about free speech. And it shocked me that they left in the number of hints about what it really was in the movie. Early on, in the immediate aftermath of Natalie's comment before the protests really got going, they showed their manager saying "Wouldn't it be great if we could get people burning their CDs and threatening boycotts?" To me, that admitted that they took an unexpected event and turned it in to a great opportunity for publicity.

    They also made comments on the film about how without "the comment" they'd never be on the cover of Entertainment Weekly or other magazines, get the news coverage that they did, etc. Seeing those behind the scenes snippets really did lead me to believe that the way the Chicks presented their victim status through the whole thing was more of a publicity move than their sincere feelings.

    With the movie itself, they saw an opportunity to introduce their music to a brand new audience, and they took it. The film is truly edited to highlight the creation of each new song on their album. I'd say the majority of the tracks from Long Way Home are in the movie -- most in long forms. They took the approach of promoting album via film and TV rather than radio. Their album sales indicate that it was a smart move. Their concert sales indicate that it's not a method that will continually be used in the music industry.

    In the end, I think that Martie and Emily came out of the movie very likable, with good music-focused heads on their shoulders. Natalie, I'm not so sure. I think there were some underlying messages in the scene where they were talking to a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers which were not necessarily all that kind to Natalie.

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    Re: Shut up & Sing

    Quote Originally Posted by rt1ky;2210513;
    Oops! I thought this was a thread about artist who need to shut up and sing or quit trying to act and stick to singing.
    More like "Shut up and keep your political veiws to yourself!"

    Sorry, I am one of the boycotting Americans...

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    Fool... but no pity. Krom's Avatar
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    Re: Shut up & Sing

    Quote Originally Posted by ProudTVJunkie;2565215;
    More like "Shut up and keep your political veiws to yourself!"

    Sorry, I am one of the boycotting Americans...
    My problem with that is that music has long been intertwined with politics. There'd be no folk music otherwise, and Rock & Roll would have been much less interesting. So by telling her to keep her political views to herself, people were disrespecting a musical tradition as much or moreso that she was disrespecting a sitting President. True, it would have been even more connected if she'd actually been singing her views instead of speaking them, but honestly, all people had to do was make a personal decision not to buy her products anymore. Organized "boycotts" transcend personal consumer decisions to apply pressure on other people. To me that crosses a line which makes it much different from merely not wanting to buy something yourself. It makes it about organized punishment for disagreeing with a point of view, not a personal decision to not support someone you don't respect.

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    FORT Fogey
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    Re: Shut up & Sing

    Krom, normally I would agree with you. However, in this case, its now somewhat documented that the Dixie Chicks were behind a lot of that movement for publicity's sake. Natalie's original statement was rather simple -- not a great deal of depth like we seen in a lot of political music. She then backed away from that statement, and the team behind the group managed to keep it alive for 2 or 3 years reaping every bit of publicity from it that they could. Therefore, I'm inclined to say that this whole thing was far more about publicity than it was politics.

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    Re: Shut up & Sing

    Quote Originally Posted by Krom;2566189;
    My problem with that is that music has long been intertwined with politics. There'd be no folk music otherwise, and Rock & Roll would have been much less interesting. So by telling her to keep her political views to herself, people were disrespecting a musical tradition as much or moreso that she was disrespecting a sitting President. True, it would have been even more connected if she'd actually been singing her views instead of speaking them, but honestly, all people had to do was make a personal decision not to buy her products anymore. Organized "boycotts" transcend personal consumer decisions to apply pressure on other people. To me that crosses a line which makes it much different from merely not wanting to buy something yourself. It makes it about organized punishment for disagreeing with a point of view, not a personal decision to not support someone you don't respect.


    I agree that music has had an element of protest about it or we wouldn't have some of the forms of music that we have.

    I also agree with prominent entertainers being activists and sharing their political views. That's the way movements get started. Look at what Redford's done for the enviroment through his Sundance channel.
    so many people are so apolitical these days that getting famous people to air their views, I think helps get messages across that might otherwise be ignored.
    Que me amat, amet et canem meum
    (Who loves me will love my dog also)

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    FORT Fogey
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    Re: Shut up & Sing

    Quote Originally Posted by myrosiedog;2566597;


    I agree that music has had an element of protest about it or we wouldn't have some of the forms of music that we have.

    I also agree with prominent entertainers being activists and sharing their political views. That's the way movements get started. Look at what Redford's done for the enviroment through his Sundance channel.
    so many people are so apolitical these days that getting famous people to air their views, I think helps get messages across that might otherwise be ignored.

    Do you draw a distinction between an artist expressing his or her political views from the heart, and a performer using a political platform for purposes of self-promotion?

  10. #10
    Fool... but no pity. Krom's Avatar
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    Re: Shut up & Sing

    Quote Originally Posted by Veruka;2566291;
    Krom, normally I would agree with you. However, in this case, its now somewhat documented that the Dixie Chicks were behind a lot of that movement for publicity's sake. Natalie's original statement was rather simple -- not a great deal of depth like we seen in a lot of political music. She then backed away from that statement, and the team behind the group managed to keep it alive for 2 or 3 years reaping every bit of publicity from it that they could. Therefore, I'm inclined to say that this whole thing was far more about publicity than it was politics.
    I think that's pretty hard to prove. A term like "documented" takes on a pretty large burden. Maybe there are tapes of them talking about the issue during that time, maybe there's a heck of a lot of "F them" words from them we know about, and maybe its pretty obvious that Natalie Maines can't keep her mouth shut, even when its to her benefit (although with her husband's new level of publicity lately for Heroes, its been amazing how little we've heard from her on that publicity tour), but proving it was all a deliberate move simply to get press (something with their previous career track they hardly needed) is something else entirely. They may have not been happy or smart enough to keep silent while accusations were flying around, but that's different from deliberately creating the situation.

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