For Dixie Chicks, rebellion’s a good business

by Staff

At one time, the Dixie Chicks were simply three women who sang country music. They had carved out a nice niche for themselves as one of the most popular female groups ever. Their first two albums combined sold more than 22 million copies.

Then, in 2003, lead singer Natalie Maines said at a concert in London, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.”

Now the Dixie Chicks have become a modern-day icon for freedom of speech.

Some Americans got mad at the Dixie Chicks for this comment – actually, furious was more like it. The response from several radio stations owned by Cumulus Media Inc. was to ban the women from the airwaves. Cumulus Media also organized a celebration to smash the Dixie Chick CDs. It was a modern-day version of book burning.

If the main issue surrounding the Dixie Chicks really is freedom of speech, then it needs to be defined and interpreted. Article 19 of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

This means that the Dixie Chicks are free to express their opinion of President Bush. This also means that any opponents they encounter along the way are free to express their opinions of the Dixie Chicks. Opposing opinions are nothing new.

The scary thing is that the Dixie Chicks received death threats for being unpatriotic. Some threats were so specific as to state a time, place and weapon. What were these people thinking? The world would be a mighty small place if I was able to kill anyone who disagreed with me. Not that I would want to because then I would have no one to argue with.

Maines obviously has an opinion on the state of America. An average female citizen with an opinion isn’t news. But a celebrity female with an opinion does qualify as news, especially when the opinion is contrary to the belief of the majority of Americans. Why does what she thinks of our president even matter? Does simply being a popular singer turn someone into a role model? Or does the media create this identity?

At first, Maines attempted a recant of her statement – apologizing for being disrespectful. But it was too late. She had insulted the president while on foreign soil 10 days before America would invade Iraq. When forgiveness was no longer an option, Maines and the Dixie Chicks decided to rebel. Rebellion is an especially appealing path to take when there are profits to be made.

If Maines’ comment had been simply ignored, the Dixie Chicks might have played themselves out by now. When I think of the music group, I no longer think about the great music they are capable of making, now I see only a trio of rebels with a political agenda.

I’ve always had the utmost respect for rebels. These women are a symbol for anyone who has ever wanted to curse someone who made them angry, no matter what authority they held – even if it means dealing with the repercussions. As a rebel, that just adds more fuel to the fire.

The Dixie Chicks’ are still able to earn a living. It’s easier for them now that the president’s ratings have gone down. According to the recent USA Today/Gallup Poll taken from Nov. 9-12, 61 percent of registered voters have an unfavorable opinion regarding President Bush. This is significantly higher than a poll taken Jan. 31 to Feb. 22, 2003, which gave an unfavorable opinion of him at only 32 percent, according to

The Dixie Chicks’ latest single, “Not Ready to Make Nice,” capitalizes on their ostracism during the past three years.

The group’s most recent endeavor is a documentary about their experiences since the infamous 2003 comment titled “Shut Up and Sing.” The film opened in San Diego on Nov. 17. This time, Maines calls Bush,s “A dumb f**k.” I’m not surprised that NBC refused to air the trailer. This just adds another log to the inferno of rebellion.

-Camille Clasby is a marketing junior.

-This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec. Send e-mail to Anonymous letters will not be printed – include your full name, major and year in school.