Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Written On The Body

Oxblog's Patrick Belton carefully takes aim at the Dixie Chick's naked desire to win back their fan base through breast-holding pseudo-art. For a contrasting example of political fem-nudity, Belton uses Karen Finley, and argues that Finley's work was sincerely outrageous, while DC's super-photogenically constructed cover art was less motivated by true social activism than marketing. After Diane Sawyer's nasty interview with the trio, I'm sympathetic to their predicament, but I think they could have handled it better. Let your disapproval of the president get mixed in with anti-war rhetoric, and you're bound to dig a hole you can't get out of.

The minute I first saw the Entertainment Weekly issue, I wasn't thinking about the insults painted on air-brushed southern flesh. I instead thought back to an SNL rerun regarding the curious activity of placing ones hands over one's breasts. Jennifer Love Hewitt was the host, and amazingly, she wasn't half bad, because she didn't take herself seriously. It's really too bad that the Dixie Chicks can't follow her example. I'm not asking them to appear on SNL, but I think it might help, because if you are going to criticize the president, better take the heat for it in an easy laid-back manner that says, "So I don't like the president. Can you honestly say you love the man?"

Strangely enough, the Entertainment cover might be a step in the right direction for the Chicks. Madonna, the queen of converting controversy into profit margins, subverted bad press in the mid-90s by being unrepentant, flamboyant, and never taking her critics seriously. Being naked quite a lot helped too.


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