Monday, February 12, 2007

The Dixie Chicks: Not Ready to Make Sense

Last night, the Dixie Chicks seemed to get a measure of revenge over her critics by winning five Grammy awards for their CD "Taking the Long Way Home," including Best Album. In one of the acceptance speeches, head Chick Natalie Maines said the following:

I think people are using their freedom of speech tonight with all of these awards. We get the message.

No, Natalie, you don't. And you continue to miss the point.

You didn't endure what you did to uphold freedom of speech. You never lost it. You were allowed to speak your minds and clarify your statements all you wanted without anyone stopping you. In fact, after your comments in Britain, Natalie, you had a lot of opportunities to talk.

Your freedom of speech wasn't even threatened by radio stations not playing your songs anymore. In fact, you got plenty of opportunities to talk about it to the press, and I don't think you refused any of them.

Seems to me like your freedom of speech was pretty secure. And you didn't win your Grammys because of your commitment to freedom of speech. Those statues didn't even involve freedom of speech. The people who voted for you did so either out of political agreement or because they thought you had the best CD out there. Of course, that's debatable, but I'm not a Grammy voter, so that's neither here nor there.

So, what is the message? That you weren't the free speech martyrs you think you are. What you fail to grasp is that what the radio stations and your former fans did was also an exercise in free speech. Everything you say or do has a consequence on some level. If you make someone mad by something you say, they're not stifling your freedom of speech by telling you off or not listening to you. You still have the right to speak, but that right does not come with an audience. Err America learned that lesson some time ago.

So, Natalie and the rest of the Dixie Chicks, stop trying to paint yourselves as champions of free speech because you've shown those of us who do champion it that your support of it is only one way.

Oh, and by the way, Natalie, it's Nelson Muntz who says, "Ha ha," not "the great Simpsons." To quote Homer Simpson, "D'oh!"

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