Wrath of Reba a powerful weapon

By Ned Cantwell: Syndicated Columnist

Perhaps it was just one of those slow news days. No murders in Albuquerque, the Vigil mistrial yesterday’s story, viewers long having tired of a real yawner of a state political primary season.

Whatever the case, one of the Duke City TV newscasts found time to bring us the report that New Mexico country music stations are boycotting the Dixie Chicks.

In the interest of reportorial fairness, there are hundreds of New Mexico radio stations and KRQE-TV talked with few of them. One of the deejays chortled that only the Dixie Chicks had lower poll ratings than George Bush. These morning guys love to yuk it up.

Whether the majority of country stations are boycotting the Dixie Chicks remains to be seen. Perhaps you deejays and country music fans will weigh in on the matter and set me straight. Sign your name to the e-mail, please; the readers would enjoy hearing from you.

Make no mistake about it, the Chicks are in trouble with their fans and fellow country performers. When Reba McEntire makes fun of you on the nationally televised country music awards show, you know you are in deep doo doo.

Reba is everything American. She’s country and she’s cool. She is everyone’s best pal. So it had to sting when Reba jested that hosting the show was a lot easier than the Dixie Chicks’ singing with a foot in their mouth.

Ouch.

The Dixie Chicks, who are not really Dixie Chicks at all, but are Texas chicks, first got in trouble back in 2003 when one of the trio told a London audience she was embarrassed President Bush was a Texan. The country crowd decided her statement was not covered by the free speech provision of the Constitution. 

Having thus enraged their base, the Chicks soon apologized, but recently retracted the apology. Will they retract the retraction? Stay tuned.

Frankly, the Chicks’ saga is starting to sound like an off-key country song. As if their image were not already in the toilet, now they have brought down the wrath of Meredith Vieira by badmouthing Meredith’s ABC-TV show, “The View.” And this is a liberal show, for heaven’s sake. What are these girls thinking?

Meredith Vieira is fuming.

“We are furious,” she fumed. “Furious!”

This is very bad news from a personal standpoint because I jumpstart each day with Katie Couric and Katie leaves the “Today Show” this week. Meredith is taking her place. I do not need furious at 7 in the morning. I need cute and perky at 7 in the morning.

It has never been clear to me why art and politics have to mesh. Did they ask Pablo Picasso where he stood on immigration or just admire his paintings?

Never having been mistaken for a music critic even after having recognized months ago Taylor Hicks would be the next American Idol (yo, dog, check it out), I cannot personally attest to the value of the Dixie Chicks contribution.

However, I suspect they are good because fellow New Mexican Don Imus says they are good. Don Imus is my cultural weathervane. Imus comes to us on MSNBC each pre-dawn from New York, but during the summer broadcasts from his kids ranch near Santa Fe. 

Don Imus thinks I should buy the new Dixie Chicks release. I am not going to do that. I am waiting for Willie Nelson to release his single, “I Am So Miserable Without You It Seems Almost Like You Are Still Here.”

Ned Cantwell thinks Jane Fonda is an excellent actress who should not have stayed out of Hanoi. Contact him at:

ncantwell@charter.net