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"Intolerance For Dissent Has a Chilling Effect" on Art, Prof. Kevin Howley Tells Baltimore Sun

June 11, 2006

Kevin Howley 2005.jpgJune 11, 2006, Greencastle, Ind. - "Performing artists are under enormous pressure to avoid material that may be deemed too controversial and too political for advertisers, corporate media outlets and government officials," Kevin Howley, associate professor of communication, tells the Baltimore Sun. "With this in mind, the industry's response to the Dixie Chicks incident is as telling as it is disturbing. The Chicks were demonized for a bit of concert banter, not for anything they sang about ... Such intolerance for dissent has a chilling effect on other artists who are highly dependent upon the radio industry for airplay," Dr. Howley adds.

The story in today's newspaper examines the recent increase in so-called "protest songs" by artists including Neil Young and Pearl Jam. "But if protest songs may, in a way, be a more marketable trend now, for some artists, such inflammatory music could still hurt their careers," notes the Sun's Rashod Ollison.

"Seemingly overnight during the spring of 2003, the Dixie Chicks became pop pariahs after lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience, 'Just so you know, we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.' The trio's records were bulldozed, and many radio stations immediately yanked its music from playlists," Ollison writes. But the article suggests the climate has changed. The Dixie Chicks' new album includes "the thinly veiled political kiss-off single, Not Ready to Make Nice, [which] sold more than half a million copies in its first week out," the reporter adds.Baltimore Sun.jpg

Read the complete story at the newspaper's Web site.

Professor Howley recently discussed America's "hunger" for independent films in New York's Elmira Star-Gazette. Learn more here.

Source: Baltimore Sun

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