May 25, 2006

Is Jane Fonda a Dixie Chick?

Picked up the Dixie Chicks cd the other day. It is pretty good. Well written songs, well crafted and produced, it has grabbed my attention. For how long, we shall see.

But I am still mulling over the whole controversy. Think what you will of the Chicks musically, the fuss over their words "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas" seems pretty tame by any political standard. I don't care if those words were uttered on "foreign soil," they are still tame--especially compared to many things that Republicans like Tom DeLay uttered about Clinton.

We had a friend over for dinner last weekend and she was reading the Jane Fonda bio. Fonda contends that the whole trip to Hanoi was an attempt to stop Americans from bombing farmers and was in no way intended to turn out like it did. She completely understands why people hated her visit and resented her posing with NVA and asserts that was completely manipulated by the NVA and certainly not intentional on her part.

I have relatives who still say her name with hatred. I remember a student who's father would turn around all Fonda's video boxes in the rental store.

I understand that--to a point. But remember that in the decades after the Civil War, former soldiers on both sides memorialized battle together. That is, people who shot at each other, who presumably killed friends and comrades in arms--all gathered together to recreate Pickett's charge.

Yet, hatred of someone like Jane Fonda persists some 40 years after the fact. Given the over-reaction by some country fans to the Dixie Chicks, one starts to wonder--is there a gender issue here? Did the Chicks cross some imaginary line? Had they been men, would anyone still care? Sure, some don't like Steve Earle, but I am not aware of any boycotts against him, and he is far more radical than the Chicks.

The New York Times has the best explanation so far, but it is not very convincing, nor does it make more sympathetic to country music fans.
"'Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.' --snip--
This is a fight about the identity of country music. There's a contract that binds country singers to their fans, and the Dixie Chicks have broken it.
By the time Ms. Maines made her statement in 2003, many were already questioning the trio's commitment: would they leave their old supporters behind?For mistrustful listeners in search of an answer, Ms. Maines's comments provided one.
Forget about President Bush: she had used the words 'ashamed' and 'Texas' in the same sentence, and she had done it on foreign soil. She meant to insult the president, but some former fans thought they heard her insulting Texans, and therefore Southerners, and therefore nonmetropolitan listeners everywhere.
It seems to me that this kind of response just furthers the anti-South response of many.

Anyway, it is a good cd. FWIW

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