Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I've never heard a Dixie Chicks song in my life, and I'm a pro-war hawk -- but I'm about to become a fan of the group, if only because I can't stand the flag-waving groupthinkers arrayed against them. I like Michael Moore, too. Always have.

As you no doubt know by now, the Chicks' got into hot water with their generally Republican-voting legions of fans when singer Natalie Maines told a London audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

Naturally, record-burnings and boycotts were the result, as was the national discussion over who has the right to free speech in wartime. As is usually the case, the editorialists -- such as this one in the Montgomery Advertiser -- get the story all wrong. station owners and music buyers have every bit as much right to free speech as Maines. That includes not listening to or buying her music -- and urging others not to, either -- if they don't like what she said.

But that's not the story. The story is that their latest record is flying off the shelves -- look at the latest Billboard charts and then tell me who's really exercising the right of free speech.

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