Sunday, May 28, 2006

THE REBELS WHO SHARE A TOUR-BUS TOILET: Natalie Maines born to flip the bird in the USA

Had enough Dixie Chicks rebellion? I have and I love revolt. Most people think rebellions are largely unscripted. But the Dixie Chicks' main lady, Natalie Maines -- for someone who would so like to appear as shoot from the hip and ready to give the President she's ashamed of a fat lip --has been served up as one of the most scripted pop stars in the last two weeks.

If you didn't get enough of the Chicks' slightly trembling but pursed-lip toughness on 60 Minutes three weeks ago, if you were on either coast, the art sections of the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ran identical features/interviews on the band. And if those newspapers were too local for you, TIME magazine delivered them on the cover in every supermarket in the nation.

"Natalie Maines is one of those people born middle finger first," claimed Josh Tyrangiel for TIME. Reporters never exaggerate for effect so you know he had his head up Natalie's mom's ass three decades or so ago and was just waiting for the right moment to tell us about it.

"I've thought about this all way too much," Maines told Jon Pareles of the NY Times. But not so much she couldn't keep thinking and telling about the same things to the parade of entertainment reporters being processed through the Dixie Chicks' publicity operation.

Run with all the brio, uniqueness and creative inspiration of a Pentagon mass-briefing, here are some inspirational quotes:

"An album recorded with the assumption that 'not one radio station is going to play a single song.' (NY Times)"; "This [album] was the exact opposite . . . We just assume no one is going to like it . . . It was the first record we've done where I would have been OK if nobody liked it. (LA Times) "

Okey-dokey, Natalie! You were delivered head first, flipping the bird. "It was awesome to feel those feelings again that I felt in high school, that you're right and the things you do matter. (TIME)"

"Maines is, by nature, an extrovert and a slyly funny woman," wrote the LA Times. Although no sense of humor was found flirting inside the big music coverage of Maines and the Chicks, there has been plenty of fine-sounding recommendations: "This is what talented musicians are supposed to do: aspire to get better, braver (TIME)." Or these daring lines of lacerating description from the NY Times: "The Dixie Chicks were never a typical-sounding country act" and "Their music is built around a country rarity" and "While the Dixie Chicks' music was never confrontational, each album grew bolder . . . "

"I've lost my optimism and hope in humanity . . . I'm not being funny. I try to find it," said Maines, this time quoting from the LA Times. But no worries, "The Dixie Chicks sound determined not to whine . . . and they focus on personal reactions, not protests," assured The New York Times. The Dixie Chicks women are so real they "shared" a tour-bus bathroom, are "loud" and one of them even has a one-eyed dog, informed TIME.

Dick Destiny imagines if anyone with a shred of self-deprecation read this type swill either coming from or attributed to them, they'd be embarrassed to the point of being sick of themselves for a couple of months, at least. I wanted to like Natalie a lot but she's making it too hard. And it's not the politics. I think the President's a disgrace, too. Natalie, it's the transformation of your thing into a shtick and the recruitment of the stenographers of entertainment journalism to deliver it.

It's going to be the crime of the century if people don't hear this album said one flunky of the Chicks record for TIME. The Dixie Chicks' recording was "therapy" and it had "strengthened" them "artistically" and "personally." The girls even thought of Bruce Springsteen. Cue violins or the banjo.

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