Mama at the Movies: Shut Up and Sing

My Literary Mama column this month is about Barbara Kopple’s documentary, Shut Up and Sing. Here’s a blurb:

Four years ago, I nursed my first son with over one thousand other nursing mothers at a world-record breaking Berkeley “nurse-in.”

This year, my boy hops down the sidewalk into kindergarten.

Four years ago, the war in Iraq was in its infancy and President Bush’s approval ratings were sky-high.

This year, a growing and non-partisan chorus criticizes our involvement in Iraq, while the president stubbornly limps toward the end of his misguided term.

Four years ago, the Dixie Chicks began a world tour with a number one hit single, “Travelin’ Soldier,” about a girl who longs for her beau to return from Vietnam. The single dropped off the charts when lead singer Natalie Maines remarked in concert, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

This year — just days ago as I write this column — Sally Field accepts an Emmy award saying (in a line bleeped from the American telecast, but heard on Canadian television), “… if the mothers ruled the world there would be no goddamn wars in the first place.”

I am a mother who hates war and violence, and loves movies and music. Shut Up and Sing (Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck, 2006) gives me a lot of what I care about in a film. It’s no date-night romance, true, but this documentary, which details the impact of Natalie Maines’ remark on the Dixie Chicks’ music, their families, and our culture, has me singing its praises.

Read the rest at Literary Mama. And while you’re there, check out the new Literary Reflections essay, Little Finch, as well as the beautiful new column, Me and My House, by my Mama, PhD co-editor, Elrena Evans.

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