Al and Tipper Gore just consented to an interview with Ryan Seacrest on the E! pre-Oscar festivities. (First question: Tipper's wearing Bill Blass, Al Gore reluctantly noted he's wearing Ralph Lauren.) The goofiest answer was when Seacrest asked Gore, "if you were to cast an actor to play the lead in 'The Al Gore Story,' who would you pick?" Gore quipped, "I don't know, maybe William Hung," the infamous "American Idol" reject who mangled Ricky Martin's "She Bangs." Seacrest laughed and said "I love it, I mean, the 'Idol' reference!" When Seacrest asked if that performance was one of his favorites, he said it was "right up there," and then said "no, no, no" and insisted that his favorite song is the lesbian rocker Melissa Etheridge's song "I Need to Wake Up." Guess why? It's up for an Oscar for its inclusion in Gore's film. Lyrics, please:
And as a child I danced like it was 1999 My dreams were wild The promise of this new world Would be mine Now I am throwing off the carelessness of youth To listen to an inconvenient truth
"The Dixie Chicks’ big win at the Grammy Awards on Sunday exposed ideological tensions between the music industry’s Nashville establishment and the broader, more diverse membership of the Recording Academy, which chooses the Grammy winners, according to voters and music executives interviewed afterward.
Their sympathetic peers in the entertainment industry awarded The Dixie Chicks five Grammys at Sunday night's awards ceremony, including Song of the Year for "Not Ready to Make Nice," the group's petulant response to critics who disapproved of singer Natalie Maines' remark onstage in London in 2003: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." (Maines is from Texas.)
The Monday story showed the Times once again portraying the Dixie Chicks as free-speech martyrs, while managing to avoid mentioning the scads of free, flattering publicity in the wake of the incident and subsequent fiery comments by Maines that alienated much of her previous fanbase.
Newspaper cultural critics often seemed to be bringing their politics and not just their artistic senses to the table when judging the "best" products of 2006. Friday’s Weekend section of The Washington Post compiled a set of lists of the best in art, music, and movies, and some of the Post critics were dropping some liberal (and radical, even Marxist) politics into their choices. The music critics were the most political. Curt Fields had two liberal/radical Bush-hater favorites on his Best list:
7. Dixie Chicks. The trio had several quality moments, including its defiant "Not Ready to Make Nice" single and the intriguing "Shut Up & Sing" documentary. But best of all was the way the Dixie Chicks appeared onstage at some of their live shows to the strains of "Hail to the Chief."...
9. The Coup, "Pick a Bigger Weapon." This Oakland, Calif.-based act mixes revolutionary politics, humor and sweet beats. Smart and catchy, a rare double. Plus, it has the song title of the year, "Babyletshaveababybeforebushdosomethingcrazy."
Brent Bozell's culture column this week focused on two Washington Post articles from black staff writers who were moms horrified by the current state of hip-hop music and its effect on their children. Lonnae O'Neal Parker wrote broadly in "Why I Gave Up On Hip-Hop," but the other seemed very narrow-minded:
Natalie Hopkinson saw it in a different, more racially conspiratorial light. She wrote about how she reacted in horror when a middle-aged white female professor of hers said her five-year-old son Maverick was a fine boy and added, "I just can’t wait to watch him grow up and see his wonderful career as a rap star."
The horror was understandable, but the edge of paranoia creeped into the article. Hopkinson didn’t think the remark was innocent, but "confirmation" of a "conspiracy to destroy black boys," citing an author named Jawanza Kunjufu. (His book by that title is harsher. He calls it "genocide.")
Breaking in a parallel universe somewhere: NBC is set to air live footage of actor Jean Reno portraying the Islamic prophet Mohammed engaging in sex acts with another man.
In our real world, according to Matt Drudge, the network is going to be airing a "special" concert featuring over-the-hill singer Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone (aka Madonna) singing her song "Live to Tell" while standing on a disco-style crucifix and sporting a glittery pretend crown of thorns. It's a repeat of shows she's done in Europe.
Frankly, I have to yawn at this point. There's nothing new here. If these Hollywood types had any real guts or edge, they'd do PR stunts in the style of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "Team America." But since they and Ciccone are pseudo artists, that's not likely to happen.
Note to the professionally offended: I am not advocating ridiculing any particular religion here. Just saying what Ciccone et al. would do if they ever thought about living up their supposed ideals.
Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines spews Bush hatred in public, so it's not exactly a surprise to see her grow more unhinged in private:
The international press won't get their first look at the documentary
Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing until its gala premiere at the Toronto
Film Festival tonight. But EW.com got an early look at the
sure-to-be-controversial doc in Los Angeles and can attest that the
film will continue to bring the (ex?) country trio more plaudits from
progressives and further condemnation from conservatives. And if you
think singer Natalie Maines had some harsh words for President Bush in
public, wait till you hear what she had to say about him behind the
In one memorable scene, Maines watches news footage
of the president being interviewed about the furor that followed the
singer's on-stage comment that she was ''ashamed the President of the
United States is from Texas,'' which resulted in the group being
dropped from most radio stations, as well as protests and plummeting
sales. ''The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind,'' Bush told Tom
Brokaw at the time, adding, ''They shouldn't have their feelings hurt
just because some people don't want to buy their records when they
speak out. You know, freedom is a two-way street.''
watching this footage, Maines repeats the president's comment about how
the group shouldn't have their ''feelings hurt,'' incredulous, and then
says, ''What a dumb f---.'' She then looks into the camera, as if
addressing Bush, and reiterates, ''You're a dumb f---.''
Hat tip to Sister Toldjah who adds: "Ever notice how she tends to make these disparaging comments about the
Prez. when she’s NOT in the US? What’s the matter, Natalie? Too
chick(s)en to say ‘em on your home turf?"
If you want to force propaganda onto young people, shouldn't you at least find an entertaining messenger? During last night's MTV Video Music Awards, Al Gore lectured about global warming and what that generation needed to do to fix the problem.
Nekesa Mumbi Moody of the Associated Press said the award show "had about as much spontaneity as an episode of 'Cribs.'" Viewers did "NOT watch for lectures from former Vice President Al Gore on global warming. When does the phrase 'here's a photo of a glacier melting' ever fit into an awards show?"
Ankle Biting Pundits says the former vice president also remarked, "The environment was the number one response when you were asked what the biggest problem your generation will face. We can solve it but we must act quickly."
Talk about your culture clash! A hip hop music site juxtaposes a report on Bill Cosby's condemnation of that musical genre with news of the latest criminal doings of hip hop stars. AllHipHop.com bills itself as 'The World's Most Dangerous Site.' Currently up on the site is an article reporting a recent speech in which Cosby . . . "went on the offensive against rap music."
States the article:
"'They put the word 'nigga' in a song, and we get up and dance to it,' Cosby said.
"The two-hour Coppin State University-hosted event dubbed 'Fatherhood Works,' was the last stop on the entertainer's day-long visit to the city.
"In addition to hip-hop, Cosby expressed his views on teenage pregnancy, re-emphasized the importance of a good education and urged fathers to take a more active role in raising their kids, as he visited three West Baltimore elementary schools and the church."
So here was AllHipHop respectfully passing along Cosby's message. Meanwhile . . . to the right of the Cosby article is a column with links to the latest news from the hip hop world. But while reports of new record deals and other doings were mixed in, much of it read like a 'rap' sheet of an altogether different sort. Examples:
Foxy Brown Misses New Jersey Court Date, Must Attend Next Hearing
Estate of Slain Man In CCC Club Files Lawsuit Against Proof Estate
"Country music videos flashed on a television set at the Idle Hour, a Music Row bar where a Crock-Pot of beef stew simmered for hungry musicians.
"Sitting at a table in early August, Bobby Braddock, the longtime songwriter, lamented the conservatism of the country music industry that was demonstrated when the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks became a target of fury three years ago after saying she was ashamed that her band and President Bush shared the same home state.
Despite lots of promotion from the entertainment media, the Dixie Chicks seem to have offended their fan base too much. The lefty group has been forced to cancel shows in 14 states, replacing them with Canadian ones, the AP reports:
concerts on the Dixie Chicks'"Accidents & Accusations" tour have
been canceled after slow ticket sales, but the group says it has
replaced them with other dates.
City, Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Knoxville are among 14 cities no
longer on the original schedule released in May, according to a revised
itinerary posted Thursday on the Dixie Chick's Web site.
“Careers that last as long and have been as distinguished as Mr. Bennett’s have something to tell us about collective cultural experience over decades. It has been said that Sinatra’s journey from skinny, starry-eyed ‘Frankie,’ strewing hearts and flowers, to the imperious, volatile Chairman of the Board roughly parallels an American loss of innocence. As Sinatra entered his noir period in the mid-1950’s, his romantic faith gave way to a soul-searching existentialism that yielded the most psychologically complex popular music ever recorded. Following a similar arc, the country grew from a nation of hungry dreamers fleeing the Depression and fighting ‘the good war’ into an arrogant empire drunk on power and angry at the failure of the American dream to bring utopia.”
Despite strong sales of their new album, ticket sales for the controversial Dixie Chicks’ upcoming tour have been very disappointing, so much so that some concert dates might be canceled. As reported by Reuters (hat tip to Drudge): “Ticket counts for the 20-plus arena shows that went on sale last weekend were averaging 5,000-6,000 per show in major markets and less in secondaries, according to sources contacted by Billboard. Venue capacities on the tour generally top 15,000.”
Sales are clearly below projections: “The plug was pulled on public on-sales for shows in Indianapolis (August 23), Oklahoma City (September 26), Memphis (September 27) and Houston (September 30) because of tepid pre-sales in a national promotion with Target stores.”
Despite the disappointments, there are cities which appear to support the Chicks’ political views (this is pretty funny):
Times music writer Kelefa Sanneh tosses ice on the liberal media’s celebration of the Dixie Chicks in Thursday’s “It’s Dixie Chicks vs. Country Fans, but Who’s Dissing Whom?”
The female country music trio are best known lately for dissing President Bush at a London concert in 2003, and since then have picked fights with the overtly patriotic country singer Toby Keith. But kudos from liberal media outlets like the Times and Time magazine have proven easier conquests than radio stations, where there first two singles have struggled to get airplay and have tumbled down the charts.
In 2003, country music stations around the country boycotted the music of the Dixie Chicks, a group of three women that originated as a country ensemble. One of the members, Natalie Maines, told a London group in 2003 that she was ashamed to be from the same state as President Bush because of his starting of the Iraq war.
The group is facing the same problem with its latest album.
It's a spicy set of covers on the news magazines this week. U.S. News asks how low Bush can go in the polls. Newsweek is having another agnostic's crush on Mary Magdalene. But Time magazine wins the liberal-bias award for promoting the Dixie Chicks on its cover with the words "Radical Chicks." (Cover copy: "They criticized the war and were labeled unpatriotic.") Josh Tyrangiel's cover story begins predictably by hailing the lead singer:
Natalie Maines is one of those people born middle finger first.
As a high school senior in Lubbock, Texas, she'd skip a class a day in an attempt to prove that because she never got caught and some Mexican students did, the system was racist.
Apparently it's old news week at the broadcast networks. After hyping the year-old revelation
about the NSA's telephone record program, CBS has invited the Dixie
Chicks, the formerly popular country music group whose penchant for
spouting liberal platitudes alienated their fan base, to talk about
death threats they received in 2003.
Ostensibly, the purpose of the
on "60 Minutes" this Sunday is to promote a new
album, but the lead of CBS's online promotional piece about the
interview focuses entirely on three-year-old threats.There's apparently
an effort to "make news" here most likely, but it's so feeble as to be
Any person who cuts even a slightly bigger-than-average public profile has received death threats. Doing
a story on them is of questionable value; doing one on threats received
in 2003 can only be attributed to the fact that the Dixie Chicks are
liberal. Much-reviled conservative women like Linda Tripp or Katherine
Harris both received many death threats but were never granted
interviews with "60 Minutes" to talk about their experiences in a