Shaming Shania

Twain - Giampaolo Sgura.jpg

“I’m comfortable in my own skin," Shania Twain told the Guardian in a feature interview yesterday.

No kidding. Twain, a relative late-comer to musical super-stardom in the 1990s, survived a childhood of horrendous abuse at the hands of her stepfather. After clamoring her way up Nashville's greasy pole and enduring tabloid hell, she was sidelined by vocal-cord paralysis as the result of Lyme disease, underwent a laryngoplasty, and fully expected never to sing again. You can take the girl out of Timmins, as they say. Asked about the vitriol she has incorporated into her latest slate of songs, she replied, "If I’m really angry, I’ll say ‘fuck’ a lot. And, if I’m writing, that word will be in every line. There was one song I wrote about my cheating friend and there was a lot of fucks in there. I hated her, so that’s the best word to use when you hate somebody."

She's no shrinking violent, our Shania. And this, of course, is why her apology today for telling the Guardian that she would have voted for Donald Trump is headline news.

Here's what she said yesterday. “I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

And today, after 24 hours of Twitter-shaming: “I would like to apologize to anybody I have offended. The question caught me off guard. As a Canadian, I regret answering this unexpected question without giving my response more context. I was trying to explain, in a response to a question about the election, that my limited understanding was that the president talked to a portion of America like an accessible person they could relate to, as he was not a politician. My answer was awkward, but certainly should not be taken as representative of my values nor does it mean I endorse him.”

Conclusion: a tough, successful middle-aged woman who plainly knows her own mind, abhors "polite" double-talk, and until now has had the grit to speak freely has been cowed by the mob. It is an appalling commentary on the state of public discourse circa 2018, and a measure of how far we've descended in the handful of years since Twain owned the Billboard Hot 100.