There is an in between: as so many have commented regarding the Dixie Chicks (now over 300 comments), we don’t necessarily agree with what Natalie Maines had to say about the president and the war, but she had every right to say it.
Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences, but criticism should focus on the CONTENT of what she said, rather than on the fact that she said it. Defenders of the war should concentrate on making the case FOR the war rather than wasting time on boycotting those who disagree – it’s the message not the messenger.
For example, this personal attack from Toby Keith seems vindictive and misguided:
- “Are there any angry Americans in Alabama tonight?” Keith asked the crowd.
“Thank you for your patriotism and support of my song. I’m angry about a lot of things.”
With U.S. troops fighting and dying in Iraq, Keith was ready to unload.
“These antiwar protesters on the corner – ” Keith said to boos and flag-waving from the crowd, “our soldiers are dying over there so they’ll have the right to stand on the corner. This war has been inevitable, and it looks anti-American to the troops when they see these protests. We need to support them.
“I’m also angry about a singer in a band called the Dixie Chicks,” Keith said, again drawing a loud chorus of boos from a crowd VBC officials estimated at 7,025.
Keith wasn’t going to let this one pass. Natalie Maines, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, recently criticized President Bush’s decision to go to war and said she was ashamed to be from the same state – Texas – as Bush. Maines also criticized Keith when he wrote “The Angry American,” actually “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.”
“She felt a need to tell the L.A. Times my song was ignorant and you were ignorant if you listened to it,” Keith said. “She was also recently on a European tour where there was an antiwar flavor and said some things about President Bush and the war.
“So, what do I think about her?” Keith asked.
About that time, a photo of Maines and Saddam Hussein together popped up to the delight of the crowd.
“How do I feel besides laughing my a– off?” Keith said. [Huntsville Times]
Talk about overkill and straw men, or women in this case: Keith can wave the flag and talk up support for the troops and the war all he wants, but equating Maines with Saddam is just as cheap a shot as Michael Moore delivered at the Oscars, but I guess it gets you an audience with the president:
- March 25, 2003: Toby Keith and Darryl Worley will perform for President George W. Bush and military personnel and families at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. Wednesday morning.
Keith and Worley will perform acoustic sets at the base, the home of the U.S. Central Command, where plans were hatched for the Iraqi war.
Keith was picked after administration advance teams saw Keith perform in concert last week. Worley was selected due to his big hit, “Have You Forgotten?” [Country Standard Time]
In other C&W pro-war news:
- March 24, 2003: Bocephus is fighting in the war against Iraq. During an interview with NBC-TV’s “Weekend Today” host David Bloom, a tank commander, unidentified in a press release, said from Kuwait that he had painted the name ‘Bocephus’ on the side of his M-1 A1 Abrams tank as a tribute to Hank Williams Jr.
Williams was pleased by the tribute. He said from his Paris, Tenn. home, ” “Turn out Saddam’s lights in Baghdad, son, and get back home quick. You’re a man whose hand I want to personally shake.”
….March 19, 2003: The Warren Brothers are back with a gripping new song from songwriter Tom Douglas, “Hey Mr. President,” that takes a look at the pressures and problems the president faces in turbulent times.
Written in August 2002 and recorded in February with producers Tim McGraw and Byron Gallimore, the song reflects on what a tough job the president has as seen through the eyes of the common man. The Warrens sing, “I’m not Democrat, I’m not Republican, I’m just an American.”
“Hey Mr. President” will be available on the Warren Brothers’ third album for BNA, which they are currently in the midst of recording. McGraw is co-producer. The Warrens opened for the Soul 2 Soul Tour two years ago of Faith Hill and McGraw. The new album is due out in late spring.
….March 18, 2003: Clint Black will perform his new song, “I Raq & Roll,” (pronounced “I Rock & Roll”) in front of a national television audience for the first time this Saturday, March 22 on CMT Grand Ole Opry Live at 8 p.m. eastern/Pacific.
The song, penned from the perspective of a soldier, was written by Black and long time collaborator and band member Hayden Nicholas. Black debuted the song before 60,000 fans at Rodeo Houston last week and received a standing ovation after replacing Lynyrd Skynyrd, who had to cancel their appearance due to lead guitarist, Gary Rossington’s recent open heart surgery.
In an interview after his Rodeo Houston performance, Black said, “I’m a peace loving man and I thank our troops and the veterans before them for the freedom they have given all of us. As the father of a 22-month old girl, Lily Pearl, I want my child to grow up with the same sense of peace and confidence that I enjoyed.”
To make this appearance at the Houston Rodeo, Black left the recording studio, where he’s been working on a new album. The singer also took a break from his consulting duties at “Nashville Star”, a new country-themed talent search program that airs each Saturday night at 9 p.m. eastern on the USA Network. Black will produce the winner’s album, which will be released on the Sony Music Nashville label.
The Opry show repeats Saturday at 11 p.m. eastern/Pacific and 11 a.m., Sunday, March 23. “I Raq and Roll” is at radio now and can be downloaded in its entirety, along with lyrics, at Clint Black. [click for the link and Al Barger’s review]