The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Movie Review: Shut Up & Sing

This is one of the most emotionally moving documentaries I have ever seen. And one of the year’s best films.

It chronicles the story of how the Dixie Chicks became pariahs when the lead singer, Natalie Maines, uttered an insult to President Bush at a concert in London, England, on the eve of the Iraq War. She said she was ashamed that the President of the United States came from her home state of Texas.

With this remark, she drew intense hatred from her Country & Western fans in conservative middle America. Radio stations were forced by these fans to stop playing the Dixie Chicks’ music. The Dixie Chicks received numerous death threats. They were labeled as traitors.

At one point in the film, the Dixie Chicks tour had to consider how to secure themselves at a Dallas concert. They were fearful that a whack job would smuggle in a handgun and shoot the Chicks on stage. The fear was palpable.

I’ve never liked Country & Western music, but now that I know the vast majority of Country & Western fans are conservative rednecks who place blind loyalty far above any sense of morality and ethics (blind loyalty to George W. Bush), I’m glad I shall never listen to Country & Western.

In fact, now that the Dixie Chicks have been forced to shift their career to a different music genre, I shall start buying their albums. Immediately after the movie, I dropped by HMV and bought their latest album, “Taking the Long Way,” featuring the hit single, “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

One funny thing I noted in the film... Shortly after the news of Natalie Maines’ remark rang around the globe, the Dixie Chicks’ manager cautioned them to be careful with their PR image. He said that Bush’s rating was sky-high and that the Iraq War was going extremely well, therefore, the Chicks’ position with the public was on shaky grounds.

Why is this funny? Because Bush’s rating today is the LOWEST in US history, and the Iraq War is a complete disaster—the Iraq Study Group is trying to find an exit strategy.

Early in the film, there was archival footage of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld saying that there was absolutely no doubt the Iraqis had WMDs. Absolutely no doubt. This is a position of absolute certainty. How ironic that later on, the Bush administration would say they were wrong—that they had bad intelligence.

Um, forgive me but, isn’t this a monumental logical disconnect?? Before they knew they had bad intelligence, they were absolutely certain the Iraqis had WMDs. But after they learned of the bad intelligence, everybody conveniently forgot that the administration had been absolutely certain. This proves you can’t believe ANYTHING the government tells you! Lying is a fundamental part of their job description.

Anyway, Shut Up & Sing is a must-see film. I can’t believe I almost passed on this movie. Very strongly recommended.

So here’s my revised list of the year’s Top Ten:

V for Vendetta
Casino Royale
The Departed
Inside Man
Match Point
The Descent
Lady in the Water
Shut Up & Sing
An Inconvenient Truth


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