reactionary, authoritarian universe
Sunday, April 1 2007
Today the run of sunny days came to an end and my solar panel made no further contributions to the warming of household water. A light rain fell this afternoon, melting away nearly all the remaining snow that fell three weeks ago (although there were still a couple piles of snow that had slid off and been concentrated by the roof).
This evening Gretchen returned from several days down in the city. She'd been to a printmaking workshop where she'd laboriously laid out a page of her poetry using movable metal type, a technology virtually unchanged since the days of Johannes Gutenberg. She'd printed about thirty copies of her poem "Space" on thick, expensive paper.
Later we watched Shut Up and Sing, a documentary about the career of the Dixie Chicks, famous for expressing embarrassment about George W. Bush at the height of his fleeting popularity. Talking truth to power in the reactionary, authoritarian universe of Country Music was not, of course, without its risks, and the Chicks soon found themselves without any substantial radio airplay. But they persevered, freed now from the many limitations of the Country Music genre. One could say that the buzzsaw they walked into at the peak of their career was a tragedy. But adversity is good for music, and so is freedom, and, seemingly, they prospered despite it all. Their fanbase had shrunk considerably in the South, only to be replaced by a fervent new one in Canada. And they could branch out somewhat within their genre. It's impossible for anyone to ever be the Beatles of a genre like Country Music, but there was plenty of room for them to manifest exceptional creativity.
Meanwhile their lives followed a familiar trajectory. They moved to Los Angeles for awhile, recording music with creative new producers. And every now and then one of them would have a baby to two. Those Chicks, they're fecund, but it's not necessarily in their genes. One of the Chicks received in vitro fertilization and managed to successfully bear test tube twins (as opposed to, say, adopting AIDS orphans from South Africa). They blossomed into self-made rich white girls, but the kind with a delightful capacity to call 'em as they saw 'em (though only through their alpha dog lead singer, Natalie Maines).
The delicious surprise comes at the end of the movie when the Dixie Chicks return to the very London venue where, three years before, Natalie had uttered the then-controversial words that had rocked their careers.
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