Shut Up & Sing — censored posters!

Shut Up & Sing — censored posters! October 31, 2006


On the left, the American poster. And on the right, the Canadian poster, as per a photo I took at a theatre this morning.

Note the difference?

That’s right, the American distributor of Shut Up & Sing, the new documentary about the Dixie Chicks and how politics interfered with their musical career, has digitally added towels or blankets to the Dixie Chicks’ naked bodies — but it has kept the words that were written on their skin, so that now those words are written partly on their bodies, and partly on their coverings.

Some might think that this is a little ironic, considering that the film — as per the tagline on the poster itself — is all about the freedom of expression, and also considering that the central element in this poster is taken from the cover of the May 2, 2003 issue of Entertainment Weekly. If the implied nudity was good enough for news stands and magazine racks, then why would it not be good enough for movie theatre lobbies?

Ah, but the plot thickens. Both posters are censored in one other interesting way.

If you look at the original magazine cover, you will see that Emily Robison’s arm originally said “Dixie Sluts”, whereas on the movie posters, it now says “Dixie Bimbos”.

And whereas Martie Maguire’s leg originally said both “Proud Americans” and “Saddam’s Angels”, the latter phrase has been erased, and the former phrase has been stretched to fill the space. The funny thing is, if you go to the Weinstein Company’s website, “Proud Americans” has not been stretched at all, and the part of her leg that used to refer to Saddam Hussein is simply blank.

So the posters have eliminated possibly the worst insults hurled at the Dixie Chicks — insults that they wore on their bodies for that Entertainment Weekly cover. The question is, Why? What potential moviegoers would have been alienated by those two phrases, but not by all the other phrases on the poster?

MAR 13 UPDATE: The poster art has carried over to the DVDs.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Could it be an MPAA rating thing?

  • Possibly, though not so much a rating thing, I would think. The MPAA just might not allow certain kinds of semi-naked poses, or words like “sluts”, to appear on posters. I can’t imagine that the MPAA has a position on “Saddam’s angels”, though.

  • Bill M

    Is the use of the word “censored” correct here? I’m not involved much with writing or news publishing, so I may not be up-to-date on the current meaning of the word. I would have thought “edited” or “altered” would be more accurate. Doesn’t “censored” imply that the changes were made to comply with governmental or beaurocratic demand?

  • saddam’s angels wouldn’t fit with the layout they have here, with the capitol building obscuring part of her leg