Shut up and sing

17 11 2006

Last night, whilst mindlessly channel surfing, I stumbled upon Oprah (the show, not the lady). It was the episode with Madonna and the Dixie Chicks which aired on 25th October in the States, so I apologise that this is not exactly ‘news’ or current in any way but I feel compelled to mention it. I do not intend to go into a long tirade about either issue discussed on the show, especially since so much has already been said about Madonna’s adoption of little David and the Dixie Chicks’ speaking their mind. But I will say the following:

On Madonna: It seems to me that there is no way that one can criticise Madonna for wanting to give a home to a child who is likely to die before his fifth birthday. It is simply not possible for her, or any one person, to save all the world’s starving and impoverished children. Even if she hadn’t donated millions, she is entitled to try to help in whatever way she wants. It is such a shame that the media, especially in this country, derives so much satisfaction and profit from making this genuine act of kindness somehow sullied or cynical. I have also read that people see Madonna’s interview with Oprah as unemotional. I completely disagree with this. You would have to be devoid of human empathy to see this woman was trying very hard to speak rationally and calmly about something about which she feels angry and hurt and passionate. I am no major Madonna fan, but I admire her. And even more so now.

On the Dixie Chicks: I was flabbergasted to see the ignorant and, frankly, disturbing comments made by the ex-fans of the Dixie Chicks who were so outraged by Natalie Maines’s comments at a show in London in 2003, shorty before the start of the Iraq conflict. Apparently, free speech is only something Americans can exercise in their own country and in private. Apparently, exercising your right to free speech is ‘un-American’. I am really interested to see the documentary that has just been released about this.

I find it totally mind-boggling that you can be accused of treason for questioning the leader of your country and I won’t even start on how right she blatantly was. Surely it goes without saying that she has a right to say it even if she was wrong or if I didn’t agree with her? To me, there was no controversy. Controversy is trying to decide whether a comment etc. which is clearly inciting hatred or violence should be allowed. Controversy is deciding at which point free speech becomes racism or sexism or homophobia or xenophobia. As Natalie’s comments are often misquoted, let me set it straight as to what she said:

We do not want this war, this violence. And we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.

Hardly worth stringing her up for, surely?




One response

17 11 2006

Very well said. I totally agree with you!

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