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01 June 2006

The Dixie Chicks' new album -- No. 1 with a Bullet on the Vleeptron Country & Western Chart!

The Dixie Chicks: from left, Emily Robison, Natalie Maines and Martie Maguire. Their new album has been shunned by most country music stations in the US. Photographed at Sony Studios in New York on 18 May 2006 by Jim Cooper of The Associated Press.

The Dixie Chicks have released their first album since Natalie Maines told a concert audience that she was embarrassed that George Bush was her president. I was surfing for a Reuters review of the album -- the Reuters Co(u)ntry & Western critic is rumo(u)red not to like it -- and ended up on the website of The Arizona Star daily newspaper, which seems to be in Tucson. After their not uninteresting article

Dixie Chicks find stations
'not ready to make nice'

The politically outspoken Dixie Chicks released a new album this week, but the band's new music is absent from most country radio stations nationwide, including those in Tucson and Phoenix.

there were Readers' Comments. The Star's very confusing and unhelpful website, which forced me to swear a complicated oath to The Arizona Star and tell them whether I dress right or dress left, eventually permitted me to Share My Thoughts about The Dixie Chicks, and Country Music, and the Iraq War, and Patriotism, and Muskogee, Oklahoma, with Arizona. It worked, they posted it, and you can read other Readers' Comments too.

Meanwhile I'm going to The Mall today to see some obscure little arte film called "The DaVinci Code" at the Cineplex MultiOdeon PolyCinema 28, so maybe I can find The Dixie Chicks' new album. Bring it on!

Oh, by the way -- if the Dixie Chicks dustup and my Letter to The Star has made it sound as if this is all just an American kind of local thing, no it isn't. If you're reading Vleeptron, and you're [check one:]

[ ] Canadian
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and you're willing to slog through The Arizona Star's profoundly confusing and nosey Registration Ordeal ...

LEAVE A COMMENT!!! Tell Tucson what YOU think about The Dixie Chicks, Country Music, and the War in Iraq!!!


The only way I can make any sense out of the dustup over the Dixie Chicks is that most Country fans are younger than 37. Maybe a few of them were watching Sesame Street when the Vietnam war ended, but the rest of them can't possibly have any memory of Vietnam at all, and whatever they think they know about Vietnam they learned from Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris movies.

Here's an intro for Country fans who hate the Dixie Chicks: 52,000 Americans died in American uniforms, and we lost.

And Country was the war's theme music. Please remind me of any notable exceptions -- I'm very old and my memory may be shot -- but if you wanted music that screamed for the war to last forever and kill more of our young neighbors, you turned on the Country station. And if you wanted music that called you a traitor if you wanted the war to end, you turned on the Country station.

I was honorably discharged from my two drafted years in the Army in one piece, thank God, and I've hated Country ever since. I got three medals and a letter from my commander-in-chief, President Richard Nixon, thanking me for my patriotic service to my country.

But I hated the Vietnam War before, during and after I served, and said so loudly to anyone who asked. On Planet Country where they hate, silence and send death threats to the Dixie Chicks, I guess that makes me a traitor.

As of today, 2,471 Americans in uniform have been killed in Iraq. Just as horrifying to me is that the uniform I wore -- the uniform Americans wore when we ended slavery in 1865 and when we liberated concentration camps in 1945 -- is feared and hated by non-Christians all over Asia again.

But Planet Country still sings: Bring it on! On Planet Country, the lives of our neighbors' daughters and sons are still worthless, and the more who come home to Dover Air Force Base in flag-draped coffins, the more patriotic Planet Country is, the more flags they wave, the bigger the flags get. (Most American flags are made in China.)

Anybody on Planet Country older than 37? Well, after I was discharged, I let my hair grow long and shaggy, and I made a party out of lovin'. A few years later, that vile war finally ended, most of my friends came home, and I never listened to Country again.

I pray to God this war ends quickly and my neighbors' kids can come home safe. But the Dixie Chicks -- they're finally making me a Country fan.

Robert M.


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