NBC refuse to broadcast a film trailer containing criticism of President Bush

I like country music when it’s not too depressing, and The Dixie Chicks are good fun in this regard. They’re in the news today after NBC refused to screen a trailer for their documentary, which follows the few years after they were abruptly launched into politics when lead singer Natalie Maines, during a break at a 2003 London concert, said:

Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.

The US right-wing press went nuts. I may think it’s a weird thing to say – how does it make sense to take pride in / be ashamed of somebody else being born in the same arbitrary land area as you? It’s like being proud of sharing a birthday – but it was apparently off-the-cuff and certainly pales in comparison to the insanity of the reaction. Wikipedia’s good write-up says:

The remark sparked intense criticism from many Americans, on three grounds: that Maines shouldn’t be criticizing the nation’s head of state while on foreign soil; that Maines shouldn’t be criticizing the military’s commander-in-chief while the country was on the verge of war; and (from a business standpoint) that Maines shouldn’t be making political statements that would offend the Dixie Chicks’ culturally conservative audience base.

Which is all crap, if you ask me. The first two are just ridiculous, and the third is funny. I particularly like it when lay-people pretend they have any interest in business decisions. It’s like mobile phone mast campaigners claiming they’re not NIMBY-ing, just trying to tell Orange that they think it would be a better business decision to place it somewhere else (a frequent response after somebody asks them to provide any evidence to back up their health claims). Who do they think believes them for even for a moment?

Many radio stations refused to play their music – one arranged for its listeners to donate their cds to be crushed by a bulldozer – and the band received death threats. Aside from the craziness that this can all result from something fairly innocuous – doesn’t Jon Stewart say worse every night? – it’s at least an interesting story. The new documentary, Shut up and Sing, has the following trailer:

and US tv-channel NBC refused to show it on the grounds that it’s ‘disparaging to President Bush’. I assume this channel is happy to screen political ads that personally attack senators etc. I wonder whether the real reason is right-wing bias or fear of a backlash. I’m sure there are crazies on the left, but the ultra-nationalism that goes seems to go hand-in-hand with the modern Republican Party is appalling. Gotta hope the Democrats have some success in next week’s midterm elections.

Natalie Mains said to the Telegraph earlier this year:

The entire country may disagree with me, but I don’t understand the necessity for patriotism. Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country … I don’t see why people care about patriotism.

Doesn’t necessarily follow from the 2003 comment, but I like the sentiment 🙂 I don’t know whether the documentary will make it over here, but it looks worth catching.