Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wide Open Spaces

I'm watching "Storytellers" on VH1, featuring the Dixie Chicks, and it has me in quite a quandary. I don't want to start a political firestorm here on my blog (please refrain, actually) but let's just say I don't super-duper love some of the choices the Chicks have made in recent years. I agree with some of their politics, but strongly disagree with their methodology. In the words of those well-known political advisors, Destiny's Child - my Mama raised me better than that.

So here I am, hunkered down in front of the TV with my dog and a little bowl of guacamole, ready to dislike them a little more. But then Martie (the violinist) tells the story behind "Cowboy Take Me Away" - how she wrote this song for her sister, and the guy she hoped would love her sister in the way that she deserved. Well that just got me. That's the good stuff. This is something my sister and I would do for each other, if we had any musical talent whatsoever (which we don't, so we just share a bottle of wine from time to time and say, "Thank God you didn't end up with THAT guy!")

It's so hard sometimes, when you don't really like someone (I doubt Natalie Maines and I would last long as friends) but you love what they do. I am awed by some of the Chicks' songs - "I'm Not Ready To Make Nice" could be the anthem to any number of breakups I wrestled through, and "Wide Open Spaces" is the theme of my early life (the "room to make a big mistake" part in particular). Their music is so good, covering a range of life's joy and angst and sorrow that hits me in a way only a few other artists do. But some of Natalie's comments make me long for TiVo.

I'm not sure what to do with this dichotomy? What do you do when you find a musician/actor/author whose work you love when they do things that infuriate you?

On a lighter note, maybe I just like the banjo. Honestly - it's tough to be unhappy around a banjo.


LEstes65 said...

Well, I can't be unbiased here. I love the Chicks. As a singer (and total vocal snob), they won me over years ago when I had trouble with their cute-as-pie-pixie image that made me puke (being the kind of chick rocker that NEVER tried to use that dainty crap to win people over). But their raw musical and vocal talent blew me away. I have so many bands and musicians I listen to and appreciate whose politics or off-stage antics are so not in line with my likes or views. If I stocked my CD shelves based on the artists' views or morals, I'd have no CDs. You have to remember that they're creating a work of art for you to love or discard. You don't have to like the artist to love the painting, eh? You don't have to wear the same clothes as the author to love her book (right L&T lady?). Now, having said that, there are definitely artists that cross a line for me and I discard their art simply because they are dolts. But on the whole, I judge the art.

Me said...

I have the same sort of issues with the Chicks and various other performers (artists/authors/etc.)...I love their performances, but their offstage actions and opinions are abhorrent to me. When I know this about them, and when I can, I distance myself from anything they do when not onstage. Don't read interviews, avoid discussions about them, change the channel away from news stories about what they think and say and do using the soapbox their fame has afforded them. Sometimes it's impossible, and they totally eclipse their talents in shoving their personal opinions and actions down the public's throats...but just as often it works for me.
Here's the thing with celebrities: it's a free country and they are entitled to the same freedom of speech you and I have. It's popularity they're not entitled to. I think they sometimes forget that, and that's why they act so shocked when the public turns away from them.

Kim Stagliano said...

All I know is that they took LANDSLIDE and made it country. PHPHPHTTTTT! I prefer the Stevie version. And the blonde chick's Jersey mall bangs (high and crunchy) always bothered me. The political part? I got bigger chicks to fry.....


Swishy said...

I'm with you on Natalie Maines. Yes, of course it's a free country, and of course you can say whatever you want, but at a certain point, you have to realize the horse is dead and no amount of beating it is gonna bring it back to life. Just shut up and let it go already.

I watched Oprah when they were on, and I definitely got the impression that the two sisters--especially the brown-haired one--are like, "OK, can we just be musicians again?" but are also mindful of trying to present a unified front so they don't fan the flames any higher.

Cute about "Cowboy, Take Me Away" though.

I also have a pet peeve with actors who use the podium at awards shows for political commentary that's unrelated to the movie/show. I HATE it.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm from Texas, but I won't go so far as to say that I'm ashamed Natalie Maines is from Texas :).

Seriously though, I love their music too. Their comments don't bother me because I'm not looking to The Dixie Chicks for foreign or domestic policy decisions (or even fashion advice). I'll judge them strictly as musicians.

b/sistersshoes said...

I watched that same special and I so agree with the conflict of feelings. My Mother DID teach me better than that, and it was a huge disappointment. have to LOVE the music! If I were alone, I would have got up and danced :D

So nice to meet you love, you'll be hearing from me.

XXX darlene

Beth said...

I just don't like them. I have tried, really, I have. But they just rub me the wrong way.

and I don't like Bush either...

b/sistersshoes said...

Just hoping you had a great weekend love :D

hugs ooo

kerry said...

thanks so much for your comment. it was really kind of you. i appreciated your suggestions - i have read Prozac Nation, and loved it, would you recommend any of her others? and i agree with you about being around the people who believe life will be better... that has been crucial. thanks for sharing.