Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing

There are a whole lot of comfortably tenured liberals who could take some lessons in courage from three young Texas mommies best known as the Dixie Chicks. When Natalie Maines told a London audience that she was ashamed that the president of the United States was from Texas, the country was in full bellicose mode, and there were plenty of people ready to pounce on the Dixie Chicks and punish them for displaying the audacity of dissent. DJs organized publicity stunts that encouraged fans to destroy their CDs, and politicians decried their names as a means of displaying their love of country. Shut Up and Sing is, above all else, a portrait in courage. Faced with a hate campaign on talk radio and the virtual banning of their songs on country music stations, the Dixie Chicks continued to perform, despite death threats and diatribes. When, at the end of the film, the Chicks sing “Not Ready to Make Nice,” the song becomes a battle cry of defiance, and a small but notable triumph for the underdog.