Having blogged in recent weeks about Shut Up and Sing, the documentary about the Dixie Chicks and their politics, we feel duty bound to offer a brief review now that we've actually seen the film.
Despite Tulsa's icy roads, we made it up Lewis Avenue to the Circle Cinema, where we joined several other hearty souls. The movie was worth the trip.
Shut Up and Sing is less political than personal, more musical than controversial. The film shows the Natalie Maines and the Robison sisters, Emily and Martie, riding high as country superstars and then—after Natalie had the nerve to criticize President Bush just before the invasion of Iraq—dealing with the fallout. Most country fans were outraged and country radio stations banned their songs. There were even death threats.
Free speech, the Chicks discovered, comes at a price. And country music fans don't like it when you criticize the President. Or maybe it's only this President. In any case, the backlash surprised the women and, as the film shows, left them shaken.
To their credit, the Chicks stuck together and refused to back down. They opposed the war before it started and they still oppose the war. But the film makes clear that they are more interested in music than in politics, and it is their music that brings the story together.
The women can flat-out sing, whatever their beliefs, and we've been listening to their songs ever since we left the theater. Besides, the polls these days show that a lot more Americans, even in places like Oklahoma, agree with Natalie.