Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Not Ready to Back Down

Hello again my pleasantly captive audience,
I know it’s been a little while, but cut me some slack.  I’m a busy
girl, what with all the glitz and the glamour and the parties and the
whatnot…oh wait, that’s not my life.

Anyway, I’m out of my post-oscar afterglow and am now ready to move on
to more important topics.  Well, not MORE important because really,
what’s more important than ‘Hollywood’s Biggest Night’ but we must
move on and wait until the next Oscar ceremony which will bring me
ever so slightly closer to my big Oscar night (or maybe Emmy night,
which I’d actually be more excited about).

So in the heat of awards season (and yes heat…I live in L.A. it’s
never cold here, didn’t you know?) I may have forgotten to mention one
small step for girl bands, one giant step for grammy music history.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a little rant about the music industry, and
after Grammy night I have a little amendment to that rant.

My amendment is THE DIXIE CHICKS.  First of all, they fucking rock.
Second of all, they fucking rock.  For more reasons than one.  Now, I
don’t know many republicans, and the ones that I do know aren’t that
conservative (at least socially) so I’m sorry if I offend anyone, but
with all due respect, everyone needs a little wake up call every once
in a while, and I’d just like to let everyone know, what, exactly your
party has been up to.  And let me tell you…it’s not good.

So, before the Grammy’s I saw the movie SHUT UP & SING.  It was
somewhat of a fluke.  I was scheduled to work the screening at
Paramount Pictures and decided that I might as well go in, since I was
getting paid anyway.  It was one of the smartest things I’ve ever

First of all, the movie was AWESOME.  It was funny, it was political,
it was bittersweet, and it was a classic people overcoming oppression
story.  Okay, so maybe not classic and maybe not oppression, but it
was a people overcoming ignorance to promote something they didn’t
even mean to promote…FREE SPEECH…story.

It was, in all honesty, the best documentary I’ve ever seen in my
entire life.  And I’ve seen alot…my political scientist of a mother
used to drag me, even when I was too young to know what was going on.

The documentary, if you haven’t seen it, chronicles the events of 2003
when the Chicks lead singer, Natalie Maines, uttered the words ‘just
so you know, we’re ashamed that the president is from Texas.’  This
was said in Sheperd’s Bush (a swanky area of London) on the eve of the
Iraq war.  If you don’t remember, conservative America freaked the
fuck out.  Basically, people boycotted them, radio wouldn’t play them,
people picketed outside of their concerts, and eventually there was
even a very specific, very real death threat.

Now, I, apparently unlike many people in this country, COMPLETELY
support the idea of free speech.  Bill O’Reilly can say whatever he
wants (though I never actually listen to him), for that matter Dr.
Phil can say whatever he wants (and I am still free to ponder why it
is people love him so much for giving them common sense advice).
During the Dixie Chicks debacle, Bill O’Reilly actually said that they
are ‘stupid women who deserve to be slapped around.’  That’s a direct
quote.  Yeah, I’m offended too, but I’m not organizing a boycott, or
putting out a death threat even though he’s an ignorant ass.

The thing is, the movie does a great job of painting a portrait of how
America was 3 years ago.  When much of the nation thought that the war
in Iraq was a good idea.  When much of the nation thought that there
were actually weapons of mass destruction.  It’s still appalling to me
that people believed the redneck running the country, but they did and
we’re still suffering the consequences.  Intercut the footage of this
situation in the political climate of 3 years ago with the making of
the Dixie Chicks new album entitled ‘Taking the Long Way’ (produced by
the legendary Rick Rubin…it’s worth watching the movie just to see
his dreadlocked dog) and Shut Up & Sing accomplishes what Farenheit
9/11 only hoped to accomplish (don’t tar and feather me, I still love
Michael Moore)…being a truly political movie, without treating the
viewing audience like morons.

The thing about Shut Up & Sing is that it is intensely political,
without you really feeling it.  The film also gives the audience room
to come to their own conclusions about the political climate of then
vs. what we know now (which some of us suspected all along).  For
example, one great scene occurs when a tour manager says, ‘the war in
Iraq couldn’t be going better…by the time the [Diane Sawyer]
interview airs the war will be over.’  And then the film does
something genius…it just leaves it at that.  No ‘see how dumb you
all were’  ‘we were right’ ‘let’s rub it in your face’ follow up to
that comment.  The film just lets you do with it what you will and
then moves onto the next thing.

So, I saw the film during awards season and needless to say I was
wrapped up in Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and Oscar.  Plus,
I’m not one for the grammy’s lately because, as I’ve stated before,
I’m pretty shocked and appalled by the state of music at the moment.
But the day after the Grammy’s I heard the news and was shocked by the
music industry yet again, this time in a good way.  That’s right.  The
Dixie Chicks set grammy history and went five for five.  They won
every category they were nominated for including Album of the Year,
Record of the Year and Song of the Year (also Country song of the year
and country record of the year).  Even more suprising (as I found out
while doing research for this email…yes, I research information
sometimes), is that they are nominated at the CMA’s, that’s the
Country Music Awards.

This I find to be absolutely amazing.  Basically, the very industry
that turned their back to the Dixie Chicks has now nominated them for
Awards for the new album that is mostly about how hurt they still are
and how they were absolutely abandoned by their core audience for
stating something that wasn’t even that offensive, and turned out to
be the sentiment of the entire country.

The Dixie Chicks are the new Larry Flint (without all the nude
photos…though the cover of Entertainment Weekly starring the Chicks
was risque…and Natalie Maines did tell Howard Stern she wouldn’t
wear panties till the war in Iraq was over…God love Howard).

After finishing the movie (which I now own and have seen 3 times), I
drove straight to Amoeba on Sunset and Cahuenga and bought all 4
albums.  I didn’t care that I hadn’t really heard that much of their
music.  I wanted to support them 100%.

And I discovered something that many of you may or may not have
guessed.  I really like the Dixie Chicks…as musicians.  Lately (as
in the past few years), I’ve been leaning towards country music.  I
love Johnny Cash, grew up with Patsy Cline, and you know what?  Who
wouldn’t love a song called ‘A little less talk and a lot more

I just never thought of the Dixie Chicks as a band I would listen to,
but I’m reformed.  And always willing to support a group of chicks who
stick up for the first amendment when this country seems so set on
doing away with it.

Let’s keep fighting the good fight kids.  Lord knows I’m not ready to
make nice, nor am I ready to back down.  And yes, I’m still mad as
hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

Peace, love, Freedom of Speech, and Pink RV’s,

Julia Callahan


June 14, 2007 - Posted by | Hollywood, Movies, Music, Politics

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