Guest Author - Kathy Lyngholm
Freedom of speech or career suicide? It was the sound bite heard around the world. On March 10, 2003 Dixie Chicks lead singer, Natalie Maines, spoke her opinion on George W. Bush while in England and landed the group in what seemingly was serious trouble. Now violinist, Martie Maguire has reportedly given an interview that says they no longer feel part of the country music family.
Country music has always had the reputation for being very conservative and the reaction to Natalie Maines comment does nothing to dispel this reputation. Country radio stations are still not playing Dixie Chicks music, and if there are stations playing the music, it seems to be their older, before the controversy efforts. According the interview Martie Maguire says that country artists pretty much turned their backs on the Chicks, that the only person that has said anything nice about them has been Merle Haggard. The support that they have received has come from the rock community according to Martie. It seems that most country artists have come out on the other side of this argument. Further, Martie says that the Chicks now feel more a part of the rock and roll family. They felt shutout of the country music awards with only 2 nominations, especially since they did win 3 awards at the Grammyís. To further fuel speculation, Natalie has now posted a letter on the Dixie Chicks website
saying that Martie never said any of the things that the original interview says she did. Did she or didn't she?
To further the problem, Natalie Maines and Toby Keith have had words, enough that both CMT and Country Weekly both ran special articles on the feud that seems to have erupted. My question becomes, how come it is freedom of speech when Natalie says what she feels and it isn't when Toby says what he feels? Is it good form to come out on the award show with a shirt that from all appearances is a dig at Toby? In Natalie and the Chicks defense, they do say that the shirt didn't stand for what everyone thought it did. It obviously upset Toby enough that he wasn't able to attend the rest of the show and to pick up his award for Entertainer of the year.
Are country music fans so deep rooted in their conservative ways that they canít handle it when someone comes out with an opposing view? Or do they just believe that supporting their president and country are more important? What do you think?