The Paranoid Style At The Grammys

Regarding the Dixie Chicks’ Grammy wins last night, Lorie Byrd highlights this unintentionally hilarious quote by former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart:


I think people are paranoid,” former Grateful Dead member Mickey Hart told Reuters. “I think that if they speak out, they think they’re gonna get whacked by the government. It’s pretty oppressive now. Look at the Dixie Chicks. They got whacked.”

They did? Let’s see: magazine covers, Grammy Awards, a documentary movie. As Mary Katharine Ham wrote about the Dixie Chicks last fall, “Man, it’s rough being silenced”.

They did lose a wide swatch of their fanbase of course; I’m certainly no expert on country music, but I’d say that Lorie’s thoughts echo millions of her fellow country fans:

The Dixie Chicks did not get “whacked” by the government. If anyone “whacked” them it was their fans who like their music without political sermonizing, thank you very much. It was the country fans who chose in droves to stop buying their CDs and told DJ’s they didn’t want to hear them on the radio. Sorry, but George Bush can ‘t be blamed for this one.As for being whacked, if five Grammy wins is being whacked, then I’ll bet there will be some other singers hoping someone decides to whack on them a bit. I didn’t watch the Grammy awards tonight, but was switching channels around 11 and kept the dial on CBS long enough to see the Dixie Chicks win for song of the year and for album of the year. I was a huge fan of their music back when they were a country act, before they became professional victims. When they said they didn’t want those fans that are also fans of people like Reba McIntyre, they lost their country base, and me, for good.


What seems new though is the trend of celebrities attacking their own audiences–I thought that was strictly reserved for punk rockers, circa 1975. Or as I wrote last fall:

When entertainers were attacking President Reagan back in the 1980s, I don’t remember them slagging their audiences as well. Maybe because it’s not exactly the best way to build sympathy for your cause. And maybe because audiences didn’t have the tools to fight back then.

Libertas adds:

They went from selling tens of million of records to less than 2 million. They went from #1 hits to not being able to crack the Top 20. They went from filling arenas to cancelling tour dates and having to play in Canada. They went from winning awards for their work to winning consolation prizes prizes for their politics.

And that is the consolation prize: the current career path of the Dixie Chicks equals that of anti-American and/or anti-Bush actors such as Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Danny DeVito, Alec Baldwin, et al. Those actors have given up the brass ring of superstardom on the level of Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger during his pre-governator days, and Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise prior to their recent meltdowns. But they’ll never be without work. In a town as reactionary as Hollywood, it literally pays to toe the company line.


(Via Betsy Newmark.)

Update:Jonah, remember the words of ‘Thomas Jefferson’: Dissent is the highest form of patriotism, except when you dissent from the Dixie Chicks.”


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