in an attempt to be vaguely patriotic on july 4, I went to see the new dixie chicks doc shut up and sing that afternoon. it is not a great film, especially if you don’t like their music (guess what? I don’t), but the best thing about it is seeing all the silly people who assemble outside their shows to protest against the fact that the lead singer natalie maines had the guts to say she is ashamed that dubya is from texas, people who are ignorant, right-wing idiots who are basically against freedom of speech, which you would think most americans would be in favour of. the girls are kind of annoying, though in a way that is what some americans are really like. they make a statement, they struggle with the fact that they have made a statement, and some of them don’t believe it and want to retract it. but in the end it does show the divide among even a small (dim) community of america — and anyone who hates toby keith’s guts is okay with me. (for anyone lucky enough to not know who he is, he is the lunkhead who wrote such american embarrassments as “the taliban song” and “courtesy of the red, white & blue (the angry american).”) even on a day when we should be glad that the us house is voting to get the troops out of iraq, there is always some american idiot somewhere making it really hard to have any national pride. so please don’t lump us all in together — we are not all like that.