Just a little comment about Steve Earle--Mickey Kaus linked to a little piece about him. I like Steve Earle, I think he's a hell of a good country / rock musician. Several of his songs, like "Guitar Town" and "Copperhead Road", are classics, and all his songs are good. He's also known for playing hot live shows.
Now, Steve is also known as a lefty loudmouth. He is, but he's more responsible than some, and I've never heard him bitch too much about the way the media treat him, unlike the Dixie Chicks.
The thing about Steve is 1) he's not a mass-market star and he's not all over mainstream country radio 2) he's been around for a long time and everybody knows he's kind of a weirdo and he used to be a junkie and he's been in jail and all that 3) he's never pretended to be anything he's not 4) he was a lefty back before being a lefty was cool 5) even before he came out and said so everyone already knew he was against the war. So he didn't surprise anybody and he didn't get "Dixie Chicked". Mainstream country radio never played him anyway, and alt-country radio didn't quit playing his stuff after he spoke up on the war.
The problem with the Dixie Chicks was that they were selling an all-American wholesome image and making the big--no, huge--bucks off it. (Steve Earle probably still lives in a trailer park. I don't think he's ever made any money and whatever he's made he's spent on Evan Williams and crank.) Nobody knew or cared what they thought about politics. They were pretty girls and good musicians who played nice country songs. Then, suddenly, they go off the deep end and criticize the President--and the state of Texas--in pretty harsh terms in a foreign country, then, when people get angry, they whine that all the folks who bought their records and subsidize their opulent lifestyle are ignorant warmongering evil scum, then they get naked on a magazine cover, and then they tell all their fans to fuck off and that they're not a country band anymore.
Therefore, mainstream country radio and fans told them to fuck off in return. The people didn't know what kind of human beings the Dixie Chicks were and they were pretty surprised when they found out. Everybody has always known what kind of human being Steve Earle is and so he didn't surprise anyone in the least.
That is why I am supporting Steve Earle and boycotting the Dixie Chicks. If you haven't heard Steve's music, you might check it out.