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May 24, 2006

TIME’s Three Year Old Cover

Chicknote

“Natalie Maines is one of those people born middle finger first.”

“[T]he Chicks have written their own ticket to the pop culture glue factory.”

“[S]ex is the perennial champ, and they are in a constant state of speculation about which of the kids nannies is most likely to “get some” on tour this summer.”

“They don’t subscribe to Foreign Affairs….”

Beyond the condescending and misogynist tone of this week’s cover article, it’s hard to understand what’s going on with this photo.  It might have made sense three years ago after Natalie Maines unloaded on Bush on the eve of the Iraq war and had to deal with overwhelming condemnation and threats of retaliation.  But, the Chicks skepticism about the war has since been vindicated.

At this point, if these women have a primary reason to circle the wagons, it’s to protect thier image from the MSM, which rolled over when it came to maintaining its own independence, and now seems mighty uncomfortable (here’s the article’s lead shot) around those who held their ground.

(By the way, the play on the term “radical chic” — defined by wordreference.com as “an affectation of radical left-wing views and the fashionable dress and lifestyle that goes with them” — is still another way to cheapen the stand taken by the Chicks.  All those Democratic senators who voted with Bush should have been so chic!)

As the magazine reports, the conservative country music fan base was particularly up in arms that Maines would make her comments overseas.  By asking if “America is ready” for the group and then positioning these women in a darkened, tight and defensive cluster, the image frames the Chicks as foreign and threatening.

Considering the back-to-back black-and-red treatment, married with the themes of patriotism and “readiness,” you have to wonder about this week’s TIME cover compared with the last one, featuring pending CIA Director Michael Hayden.  (That close to Hayden, you wonder how safe Maines must feel when she calls home.)

Haydentime

Sorry, but if last week’s paranoia has managed to carry over into this week, it’s coming from TIME.



(image 1: Jill Greenberg. May 23, 2006.  TIME Magazine. Cover.  image 2: Olivier Douliery.  May 29, 2006.  TIME Magazine. Cover.)

  • blabby

    I disagree. I thought the cover was cool, depicting three self-assured women prepared to face Goliath. The cover would make it as a marquis poster for a movie featuring super-hero chicks taking on the forces of evil. I thought the picture was sexy too.

  • ummabdulla

    I don’t know much about the Dixie Chicks – is the woman in the middle the one who made that comment a few years ago? If so, the pictures seem to demonstrate that the other two are standing by her, even acting as her bodyguards. (And the two “bodyguards” look sort of hard and masculine in a way, while she looks more “feminine”.)
    The article’s lead shot (with the arrows) might be more interesting if they weren’t all looking at the photographer. It looks like a publicity photo for a new “Charlie’s Angels” series; I guess I could say the same about the first photo, too.

  • http://www.cafepress.com/reconquistador Nezahualimón Johnsettia

    Once again, great call on imagery. I concur. Talk about a defensive vibe. Even the two “guards”‘ jaws are tensed. Guess the photographer was good at directing. Too bad such performers dont have a better idea of how their image is being handled, and the subsequent effect on the public.

  • mugatea

    “TIME’s Three Year Old Cover” – that’s a great comment in itself.
    The image is very interesting. They are covering her womb. Protecting the future.
    Perhaps speaking for those who can not.
    I’m not a fan of country music, but when the Chicks spoke out three years ago it blew me away. What they did, at the time, was like watching a black person running through a KKK BBQ. I am grateful to the Chicks – because before they spoke out, in my ignorance, I was begining to believe that people of the South were brainwashed fools. They opened a door of understanding for a lot of people.

  • http://www.pressthenews.com http://www.pressthenews.com

    TIME is a piece of crap. how well has it covered the related issue, let alone this (or the amazing pictures that support it, or this
    oh, that’s right. on the closely related topic, its armchair liberal joe klein is busy being a genius by showing to the world,particularly Iran,that it doesnt matter that the rest of the world is telling it it can’t build nuclear weapons, because, see, nobody needs ‘em, and nobody would ever consider using them. but at the same time, (while we are telling Iran they cant even get them because nobody would ever need them) he is saying that we should leave open the possibility of using tjhem (bunker busting nuclear weapons)> doesnt he get that THIS COMPLETELY UNDERMINES OUR ONE ARGUMENT FOR NUCLEAR NON PROLIFERATION against those countries that don’t already have them??
    ….and his logic with respect to democrats is even worse (although it is very revealing, because it evinces theimpression that a great deal of americans get. an impression very different than what democrats think they are communicating, or, worse, that they think is obvious.
    the basic reasons and tendencies why, are here
    a quick example of the application to the critical issue of the day/age, is is here
    ……..

  • http://www.pressthenews.com http://www.pressthenews.com

    as for Hayden and the wiretapping issue, the beginnings of big brother

  • http://www.littlethomsblog.blogspot.com Thom

    I think you forgot “Lesbian.” They’re touching each other! They could, like, start making out any second!
    I’d also add “mutant.” What is up with Emily Robinson’s right hand?

  • PTate in MN

    They look like heroines to me. Or angels. The one in the middle–Maines, I guess–looks wary, like a frightened child. But the other two are confident and tough. They are protecting her and us.
    The week before, with Hayden, the fear/paranoia emanates from him. He’s the spooky dude who has our number. We, the viewer, should be very afraid.
    This week, the beautiful trio are on our side. We the viewer see the darkness surrounding them, the threat against them and us, and yet they shine.
    I disagree that this is a three year old cover. The inside cover image–the red, white & blue target and arrows–is the three-year old cover. It has an innocent pop-art feel. ummabdulla correctly identifies it as a “Charley’s Angel” kind of image. It suggests that they, the attacks against them, and we were all more innocent back then. Three years ago we were play-acting at patriotism.
    But look at us now. Times have changed. They’re in black. They have grown serious.

  • http://motherpie.typepad.com/motherpie/ H.A. Page

    Great catch on deconstruction the visuals of the cycling back Chicks, capturing the attitude that Time wrote (in print edition) of Maines: born middle finger first.
    Standing up with wisdom? Somehow motherhood gives mothers a backbone.
    Cheers from MotherPie

  • oliviacw

    There’s also very much a “three witches” vibe to me, a la Macbeth (or Charmed, to get more pop culture). What spell are they preparing to cast on God-fearing America?

  • http://www.enzotitolo.blogspot.com Enzo Titolo

    They are remiscent of The Three Graces :
    http://srs.dl.ac.uk/arch/cost-g8/images/three-graces.jpg
    in a loving triangular embrace, meets the three witch sisters of MacBeth :
    http://www.hollowaypages.com/images/mac3.gif
    Scary, powerful, threatening, weird, lesbian, ’sisters.’

  • http://profile.typekey.com/theo47/ THEO

    I was too busy thinking “foursome” to consider the sociopolitical aspects therein. :P
    Sorry – they’re gorgeous, talented, and powerful. Me likey. ;)

  • http://worstwriter.wordpress.com/2006/05/22/the-sister-of-my-sister%e2%80%99s-best-friend-a-short-story/ Tommi

    Very powerful stuff. Especially the vid of them singing on David Letterman. That girl in the middle seems to mean what she says. But nothing matters anymore. It’s all too late. The current political situation can only be dealt with by not going to the show anymore. Go figure… tgs

  • nywvblue

    Why black? Because it’s not about the clothes. Any other color would direct the eye to it. Instead, it’s about their arms and attitude. Question is: Are they protecting Natalie from others? Or are they holding Natalie back from “unleashing” again? (Yes, it’s a sad day when ‘to unleash’ means: to remark that you wish the president was from another state than yours. Oh, the outrage.)
    I’d prefer to think the latter. We’re long overdue for righteous indignation to make a comeback, especially when it looks this good.

  • http://varkentine.blogspot.com/ Ben

    I’ve read the story, I think it does at least as much to make country music fans look bad as the Chicks.
    It concedes-though it’s buried fairly deep-that the Chicks have long-since been proved right, but says they still look bad to country music fans.
    Why? Well, see if you can follow this (I can’t). It’s not because Natalie remarked that she wished the Pres. was from another state than hers.
    It’s because (it says) she did it from a stage in the U.K., the old “foreign soil” attack that’s never made much sense to me.
    If you don’t like your President critisized, that’s one thing. I don’t agree, but it’s one thing.
    But I’ve never understood why that should matter. I didn’t understand it when George Bush, Sr. was trying to smear Clinton by saying he led anti-Vietnam war demonstrations while a student…in England (the horror) and I don’t understand it now.
    As Maines says in the story, she said it in the U.K. because that’s where they were the week the war started.
    I’m left with the conclustion that frankly, where Maines made her statement doesn’t really matter.
    On some level, country music fans must know that. It’s just that, put simply, country music fans don’t like strong women.
    And I have no patience for people like that.

  • Reality Bites

    I sort of agree. The tag line is important. Time Magazine is always using inference questions. Implicitly getting the viewer to answer, have a reaction. “IS America Ready?” The inference is yes, otherwise they wouldn’t be on the cover. Remember that Time mostly just wants to sell magazines, and they have to be provacative without disturbing their target demographic too much. The target, of course is everyone. I think this is being a bit paranoid, there are plenty of other examples where dissent is more overtly attacked in media. I wrote an email to Time awhile back when they put Coulter on the cover, informing them I would NEVER read Time magazine again. That was all I said, and I meant it. Time- are they trying to win me back? Well, “I’m not ready to make nice.”

  • readytoblowagasket

    Fascinating how the exact same article is viewed by Bush Boosters. Putting the Dixie Chicks on the cover of TIME not only promotes the Chicks’ latest CD but TIME’s own liberal bias.
    http://newsbusters.org/node/5472
    Of course the women themselves are viewed quite differently, too.

  • Tlacolotl

    To the notes on your post-it note, add the word “cool”.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/AdrianHoban/ forestflyer

    TIME is a slut, its cover articles always trying to suck off whatever is the most currently popular Middle American opinion while throwing a few bones to positions on either side of the great middle.
    That’s why no one can decide what they mean–they are written by committee and meant to mean all things to all persuasions.
    These articles are always full of hyperbole, sound, and fury, but end up saying nothing.
    TIME is a lazy person’s read, and a waste of trees.

  • http://www.millerdunwoody.blogspot.com spaghetti happens

    Yeah, I guess what’s “radical” these days is what’s believed by seventy percent of the population.

  • http://www.cafepress.com/reconquistador Nezahualimón Johnsettia

    forestflyer, I’ve almost got the gist of your message, but if you could just clarify a bit? Thnx.

  • Cactus

    “…..[M]iddle finger first…” is a very snarky way to open a bio-promo article. No one ever said that about Madonna, who WAS born middle finger first. Or Bjork. Or…….I could go on. Godess’ bless the women with enough moxie to stick it to the music [male?] establishment. It’s hard to do and takes a lot of self-confidence.
    The Hayden cover has him slyly looking off-sides, sneaky, smirking. Those radical chicks! are closing ranks and staring straight at the camera, defiantly. They’re daring anyone to challenge them. Hayden looks like he wants to slither back under his pet rock.
    As for the lead photo with slings and arrows, they are all dressed in white but no arrow has drawn blood. (BTW, wearing white has another symbology for women…”that” time of the month…..cf. Didion’s “Play It As It Lays.”)
    I didn’t read the story since TIME charges for its pressious words, but Ben made the point about criticism on foreign soil. I’ve heard this repeatedly from people who hate (about Fonda, Chicks, Clinton, Moore). I think it reflects a 1970 attitude that is unable to change and accept the realities of the 21st century: that the internet makes all soil local. Anyone anywhere in the world can sign on and read either the NYT or the Intl. Herald or any paper in the UK. There are translations of almost all major papers in the world. In fact (and I say this without fear of contradiction), people in other lands frequently know much more about us and our culture than we know of theirs.
    As Reality Bites says, TIME wants – most of all – to sell magazines. Perhaps they want it both ways: they want to use the Chicks to sell, but they don’t want to offend too many fans of Toby K. so they counter with some snarky comments. Having it both ways pays.
    Finally, black and red can be very sexy……think black leather and red satin……

  • boloBert

    Perhaps “pressthenews” could tout his website elsewhere and leave this site for those who want to comment on the subject images.

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