This post is a hard one to write because I respect and adore both Pat Sharpe, the longtime food editor at Texas Monthly with whom I interned before I started at the Statesman, and the Dixie Chicks, the band featured on the magazine’s latest cover.
But maybe it’s because of those feelings that my stomach sunk when I saw the April cover this morning at the grocery store.
The headline — “Who killed the Dixie Chicks?” — is problematic enough, but the subhead “And did they really have to die?” solidifies that the whole shooting/killed/death approach to selling John Spong’s story about why the band dissolved was a seriously bad choice.
Remember, if you will, that these women faced countless death threats after lead singer Natalie Maines expressed her disgust with President Bush in 2003, just after the Iraq War started.
Just this week, we marked the 10th anniversary of the start of that war, and it’s fair to say that people on both sides of the political spectrum feel differently about that war than they did when it was underway.
To see just how extreme the backlash was to Maines’ comments, check out the 2006 documentary “Shut Up And Sing,” in which Maines and bandmates Martie Maguire and Emily Robison talk about what it was like — for both them individually and their families, who were also involved — to be physically threatened with death.
I could forgive the cheesy (and lazy) florescent pink cover from last summer selling their (very relevant and important) story about reproductive rights in Texas, but this is just too much.
And for the record, the Dixie Chicks have four shows scheduled this summer. My hope that they’ll put out another album together lives on.