By Greg Moses
Maybe it’s a symptom, like seeing water on a blacktop road, but something hopeful is emerging from the culture mix of Da Vinci Code and Dixie Chicks. Something related to the value of truth.
In the Da Vinci Code — at the high point in Dan Brown’s plot to uncover the profound secret of a real woman — our heroine depends upon a scholar, who has nothing but a clue, to protect her life against an imperial patriarch, who, armed with a gun and clueless, is about to kill the living truth in the name of the man-made clue.
Since the scholar cannot talk the robber into disarming, he offers up the clue in such a way that in order to grasp it, the imperial patriarch must drop the gun. As the plot literally rises to its pinnacle on this gambit, the scholar demonstrates how disarming a real clue can be.
And in fact it’s not a far toss from this London scene in kilometers or years, that we find the spot where Natalie Maines tossed a real clue into the air when she said: â€œJust so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.â€ Only this time, the imperial patriarchs didn’t drop their guns. Instead they raised their guns to shoot at the clue and at the woman.
So it’s a fortunate stroke of luck that the Dixie Chicks return to public life the week after the Da Vinci Code hits the big screen as if to ask, what are we going to do this time with the clue, the woman, and the gun?
I like this quote from Jacques Lacan, the feisty French philosopher whose one-volume selection of essays has been finally translated into English after 40 years. I’ve made my way half through it so far. Anyway, here’s the quote:
â€œWe cannot confine ourselves to giving a new truth its rightful place, for the point is to take up our place in it. The truth requires us to go out of our way. We cannot do so by simply getting used to it. We get used to reality. The truth we repress.â€
Of course, you’d have to be from Texas in the first place to understand the shame that Natalie Maines does not repress in the fact that the President is from Texas. You’d have to grow up with Dallas and learn it from inside in order to experience it as something besides the Dallas that everyone else knows.
Ditto with Dixie. You’d have to be a Dixie Chick in order to expect something better from Dixie and take up your place within it. And this is why Natalie Maines had to say what she said when and where she said it. Otherwise we’d have a right to wonder if its the new Dixie or the old where the Chicks take up their place.
As for the rest of the F-U-T-K country music crowd, it’s too bad they got caught the second time around with their guns still in their hands, their bullets still whistlin Dixie the old fashioned way. Because we have to ask, how long has country music been nothing but the tunes we play as we pick up the gun of imperial patriarchy and get used to its reality all over again.