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Updated: 04/25/03

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Friday, 25 April, 2003

I've laid off most of my usual hawkish commentary of late. I figure that the images coming to us of joyous, free Iraqis have been much more eloquent than anything I could have said anyway.

I haven't even given much thought to the rantings of the wacky anti-war fringe groups that have spent so much time protesting. Protesting the war, protesting the occupation, protesting the peace.


But today, I read about a new protest being organized in The Netherlands that I found priceless:(Via Live From Brussels)

The announcement of a demonstration against the American invasion of Europe, next month at Maastricht, led to angry reactions on Indymedia Netherlands and Indymedia Belgium - and some on Indymedia UK. The demo - which will probably be banned anyway - is against the idea that US troops 'liberated' Europe in 1944-1945. It is against the continuing presence of US troops in Europe, and against the 'freedom' that they brought, meaning especially the free market economy.

It's AGAINST the idea that US troops liberated Europe in 1944-1945. How novel. And how would one characterize what happened in Normandy?

A reminder of the aims of the demonstration, from the formal request to the municipality of Margraten, near Maastricht....

"The demonstration on May 25 is against the US invasion of Europe in 1944-1945, against the presence of US troops in Europe, and to demand the withdrawal of those troops. It is also directed against the American soldiers buried at Margraten: they fought as conquerors, to subject Europe to American values and American interests. They deserve no honour, and certainly no gratitude. They should be reburied in the US.

The demonstration is against the Europe of the Nation States - supported by the US - and for the formation of a continental state. It is against nationalism and liberalism, and against Atlanticism - which combines both these ideologies with uncritical admiration for American society. It is also directed against the slavish attitude of the national elites in western Europe, who kneel before the American flag, and unjustly honour the American dead."

[Well, if only you'd said that in the first place!]

Since I've now broken my silence about the anti-war issue, I have a comment for the Dixie Chicks:

Shut up and put on some clothes.

Taking off your clothes and posing for Entertainment magazine's cover does not make me care any more about you, your music, or your political views. And let me be clear: when I say "shut up", I just mean that I'm tired of hearing you YAP about this whole issue, not that you don't have the right to say whatever you want about George Bush or the war or whatever.

In fact, that's what you and many other entertainment industry types don't seem to understand. I am not suggesting that you don't have the right to state your opinions, even if they are controversial. That's the beauty of this country is that we're allowed to do so. But you - like me and every other American - do not have the right to state your opinions without consequences. And that's when I say "shut up" to the Chicks, and Tim Robbins, and Janeane Garofalo and anyone who claims that their First Amendment Rights are being sullied.

I agree that these people shouldn't be receiving death threats or having their property damaged for speaking their minds - that's illegal and just wrong. But as a consumer - of music, of films, of literature - my interest in you is as a performer or a writer, not in your political views. If you choose to include certain overt political positions in your public persona, I have the right to choose whether the overall package is something I want to support or not.

I'm not the type of person who will picket or ban or crush CDs with a streamroller. I may, however, keep in mind your decision to expose me to your viewpoints when I am at the movies or the record store or buying a book. It may be that it does influence my decision of what CD I decide to buy next time I'm at Tower.

It has nothing to do with your First Amendment Rights - it's about my right to decide whether the role I want you to have in my life extends beyond entertainer and into pundit. You chose an action, now it's my turn.

[So shut up and put on some clothes.]

~ ~ ~

Quote du jour:

"Some people's idea of [free speech] is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage."

-- Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) English statesman, author

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