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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Shut Up and Sing

Josh brought home the Dixie Chicks movie, which led us to buy the new Dixie Chicks album, which led me to drive home last night waiting 13 songs until the infertility one came on, but that's sort of the end of the story.

Admitting this will probably cement the fact that I do, indeed, live under a rock, but I really didn't know the extent of the fallout after they spoke these words:

“Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.”

We got the movie for the IVF talk. Which stirs up its own controversies in conservative America.

I think my mouth was hanging open as I watched the movie because it seemed unreal that an entire career could unravel and need to be knitted again simply due to 15 words. And not very hateful or controversial words at that. Criticising the president--that's as American as apple pie. New politicans and activists just started their careers opposing this war. And ordinary citizens should speak up--I'm fairly certain that the people who sent the Dixie Chicks death threats and destroyed their CDs would not choose to live in a country where free speech is suppressed.

There is a scene where they're going on stage to play a show knowing that they've received a letter informing them that Natalie Maines will be shot during the performance. And all I could think about as I watched that scene was that she's a mom. And the two other chicks--Emily and Martie--are moms as well. From IVF. And they didn't go through all of that just to bring the kids into this world--they went through all of that so they could raise those kids. And the idea that someone out there could think that it's better to silence someone who is critical of the president and allow children to grow up without a mother terrifies me. It terrifies me that there are people who think this way. Choosing not to purchase her albums and sending a message with your wallet--fine. I don't agree, but if someone wants to do that over 15 words, I can understand the impulse. But to be so angry that you suggest strapping her to a bomb and dropping her on Baghdad? Or telling her to shut up and sing or her life will be over?

That's intense.

I know I talk a lot about being careful of how we speak to one another and the damage that can be done with words. But, by fuck, the other side of the story is to not allowing words to carry a greater weight than their intended meaning. I'm not talking about hate speech, because hate speech does have a rather large intended meaning. But the things we say in passing. The things we say without thinking. Or the things we mean wholeheartedly and are technically allowed to express in this country without consequences as large as the ending of a career.

We bought their album to support two fellow stirrup queens who sing about their experience with infertility with their song "It's So Hard When it Doesn't Come Easy."

It felt like a given
Something a woman is born to do
A natural ambition
To see a reflection of me and you
And I'd feel so guilty
If that was a gift I couldn't give
And could you be happy
If life wasn't how we pictured it
And sometimes I just want to wait it out
To prove everybody wrong
And I need your help to move on
Cause you know it's so hard
It's so hard
It's so hard when it doesn't come easy
It's so hard when it doesn't come fast
It's so hard when it doesn't come easy
So hard

It's the 13th song on the album. Just in case you were waiting for it.

But another song that spoke directly to my experience with infertility was probably more about the fallout from the controversy. Marriages either become stronger or fall apart in a crisis. I applied these words to those moments after you're done crying and there is nothing more to say and your husband simply holds you:

But I just want to hold on to the
Easy silence that you make for me
It's okay when there's nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me

To my husband, who holds the world at bay when I can't face it and gives me a few moments alone to collect myself after an ill-timed negative beta. Who creates the peaceful quiet moments when he holds my hand in the waiting room. Who knows when there is nothing more to say to me and instead just curls against me in bed. And makes the easy silences for when I can't talk about it anymore because one more word will break my heart. I love you.


katd said...

This might be my favorite of your posts. I love the Chicks. I love "It's So Hard," and I absolutely love that they stand up for what they believe in. They have just as much right to say what they think as any other person...and what they said wasn't even that big of a deal.
Isn't it funny how "close" we feel to them because they've been through infertility? I love them for being strong women.
And you're so right, it's sick that we live in a world where someone could want to take a child's mother away because they disagree with her politics.
I've got their documentary on my Netflix, and I can't wait to see it.
Stepping of my soapbox now... :)

bleu said...

That is why watching the Grammy's was so awesome for me, seeing them get award after award, seeing their shock and joy. I cried way more than usual at the grammy's this year because of all of that for them.

DD said...

What I find especially ironic is that if they had made that comment today, how much support they would have gotten now that everyone seems to be regretting their backing of the Prez.

I can't say I particularly like their music style, but I admire how they express themselves immensely.

PCOSMama said...

Beautiful post.

I haven't heard the new album yet, but have always been a fan of the Dixies, and couldn't believe the reaction to a simple statement. It's a free country and they have a right to their opinion just as we all have the right to ours.

Anonymous said...

oy! i had no idea either...i'm renting the movie!

thanks for sharing those lyrics too...both songs which completely resonate with me...particularly as a of the big frustrations of this has been my lack of songwriting ability when it comes to expressing anything i think or feel about IF and about how it's made our relationship stronger....

i've been out of the blogosphere the last week or so...glad i stopped by...

thank you...

TeamWinks said...

Mel, this post resonates with me. I've always been a fan of the Dixie Chicks. I agree with what you posted today whole heartedly. I was thrilled that the Grammy's recognized them and their talent. Country radio is being stupid, and unable to back up and realzie they have great talent.

Those two songs are powerful. I told my husband a few weeks ago I wanted that album, and intend on picking it up. The last song you posted about was me yesterday. How powerful.

aah0424 said...

I've always loved the Dixie Chicks and was so ashamed of how country music fans treated them because of their opposition to the president. I agree with every word you said and probably said it many times when all that stuff was going on. I'm sure they must feel so proud of themselves right now and well, vindicated. It makes me sick that we live in a country where we are suppose to be "fighting" for our freedom and so many people wanted to deny our own that right. Way to go, Chicks! I love them for their music and I love them for their strength as women!

As for the rest of your post, you've left me speechless! What beautiful words.

Dianne/Flutter said...

Mel - I love this post. My friend S and I went to see the Chicks in July. It was an awesome show. And I belted "So Hard" with tears in my eyes because Natalie said "And this song is about another topic so close to our hearts, infertility."

Have you listened to "Am I the only one (Whose felt this way)." Also a poignant song.

Tina said...

Wow... I think this is worthy of your own Friday Blog Roll!

I never heard that song before - partly because I have only heard half the story about what the Dixie Chicks had done and never bothered to really listen to their music. I am glad I could learn something - and have that something be a reminder to me to always delve deeper to really know what is happpening in the world.

You are right on about your view about taking someone's life over a simple political view - and that life being of a mother. Or, hell, a father - that is what happened after 9/11, isn't it? Hundreds of people - mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, friends - killed over someone's political view? No one has that right to take a life over some words spoken.

Might have to give them a pin now in my cd player...

Chris said...

What a beautiful post - my eyes are teary. Thank you for typing those lyrics. How moving.

serenity said...

I downloaded the "So Hard" song, though I'm not particularly a country music fan. I like that SOMEONE'S singing about IF, you know?

I also don't understand the fallout from that comment; but I am avidly pro free speech in general.

Finally - to your comment about how your husband just knows sometimes that there isn't anything that can be said - YES. I echo those same sentiments to J often.

littleangelkisses said...

I have a post about the songs on that album...well "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice" mainly, but their songs speak to me. I listen to INRTMN when I need to feel that it's okay to be upset. It makes me feel empowered.

I HOPE is another one that is so very powerful.

Thank you. I need to rent the movie.

Amy said...

Okay, I'm sitting here at my desk in tears!! This is a beautiful post.

Karaoke Diva said...

Aren't good hubbies the best? I would not have survived the last 4 years without him. Although if you really analyze that statement, I wouldn't be going through all this if I didn't have him since I wouldn't be trying to get pregnant! Either way, hurray for good hubbies! ;-)

mandolyn said...


Oh, how I've sung those two songs with tears spilling out of my eyes...they're perfect, too.

The fallout. I honestly can't believe how deep some people decided to make it- how ridiculous and hurtful. I hope that isn't the stereotype for all Texans. The threat was here in Dallas, I believe. I'm glad they came again recently and were much more warmly received. I just wish I could have gone- I'd love to have heard those two songs (in particular) live.

Reproductive Jeans said...

Wow, what a great post--I havent followed the whole DC controversy very closely-so I did not know that the movie and the CD dealt with IF. Good to know! I will have to get that CD--that last song really hits me too--right now it is all about making and keeping our marriage strong! Thanks for sharing!

Demeter said...

I did not know that they too had infertility issues, it makes it even more poingnant how the "I am not ready to make nice" came about. I can totally relate to their message. How can one go through so much suffering to have children to let them go to fight a war that we don't even understand the reasons why. I am glad they were given the Grammy Awards. Here in Canada, we love them and supported them throughout their struggle.

Ellen K. said...

Lovely post. When the album came out, a few reviews (including Time) referred to "So Hard" as one of the best songs about love, ever. The third verse gets me every time:

I can live for the moment
When all these clouds open up for me to see
And show me a vision
Of you and me swimming peacefully

Last night you told me
That you can't remember
How to feel free

GLouise said...

Ok- I just cried when reading the lyrics to "So Hard." Argh! Need to go out and buy the CD tonight.

Michell said...

I too love the dixie chicks and I love country music but I was ashamed at how most of country music reacted to that one little comment. I love their new CD though and I have to admit that I didn't know that song was about infertility as I guess I hadn't really listened to the words. Great blog by the way. I found you through reading others.