07 August 2004

At least she understands the concept

Bravo to Bonnie Raitt for getting it right and understanding How.It.Works. Am I going to go out and burn all my copies of her LPs / CDs / 8-tracks (8-tracks? WTF?) because of her views? No. I'm a "blues" guy and have appreciated Ms. Raitt's work for decades. The blues is the blues, if you know what I mean. She's entitled to her opinion, because she understands:

"This is the first time I've felt moved to get behind something I that I feel is an emergency," said Raitt. "This is the most important election of our lifetime. I am willing to lose fans ... I am a citizen as well an artist and I am willing to take the hit for something I believe in." [Emphasis mine]

Contrast her statement ".....willing to take the hit for something I believe in....." to the whining put forth by the likes of whoopie goldberg / tim robbins / natalie maines / et al. Ms.Raitt has taken her position, regardless of the consequences. She knows how it works. Being ridiculously Constitutional, while I disagree with her position, I'll vigorously defend her right to espouse her views.

If you're of strong stomach, go read the source article: Stars explain motivation for political concert tour.

I have a couple of beefs with the article's author, Roger Lelievre (sounds french, but what do I know?), the AnnArbor New's Arts Writer:

First, factual:

Presidential politics and music have had an uncomfortable relationship recently. Just ask Linda Ronstadt and the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines. Both vocalists made derogatory comments about President Bush during shows, with protests greeting their remarks.

No, Rog; Ronstadt got booted in LasVegas for dedicating "Desparato" to michael moore and protests greeted her comments. Lumping her in with maines, who overtly made anti-GWB comments (whilst over-seas, thinking that no one in the USA would ever know, nudge, nudge, wink, wink) is intellectually dis-honest.

Second, literary:

"This is the first time I've felt moved to get behind something I that I feel is an emergency," said Raitt. "This is the most important election of our lifetime. I am willing to lose fans ... I am a citizen as well an artist and I am willing to take the hit for something I believe in." Alienating fans is a definite possibility, Mills said, "but I believe the outcome of this election is far more important even than my career."


He quotes Ms.Raitt and Mr.Mills in the article before introducing them in context. Bite me, I'm in William Safire mode tonight.

Other excerpts from the article and commentary:

The artists will tour under the name "Vote For Change," with money generated going to America Coming Together, a political action group affiliated with the liberal group MoveOn and aimed at defeating President George W. Bush. Other musical acts participating nationally include the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, John Mellencamp and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. Other artists a could be added, organizers said.


All members of "the usual suspects". Nothing to see here, move on.

Mark McKinnon, the media director for the Bush campaign, said, "We think it's unfortunate these particular fine musicians have decided to affiliate with a hate-filled fringe group like MoveOn." But McKinnon said that Bush had drawn his own support from the entertainment world, citing stars like Lee Ann Womack,Kid Rock and Jessica Simpson.


What? Who the hell is jessica simpson? Now animated characters have a voice in presidential politics? Who does Bug-eyed Earl support? Enquiring minds want to know, dammit.

Mills said artists are donating their services. All funds raised beyond expenses will go to America Coming Together.


"All funds beyond expenses" indeed. Have you seen the cost of cocaine lately? "America Coming Together" is going to get stuck with one hell of a bar tab.

There have been a number of highly publicized efforts to encourage election participation, particularly by young people, among them Rock the Vote. Mills said he thinks the combined effort of everyone involved will get attention and make an impression.
Hell, it got billyjeff elected.....

"It's not so much myself, or R.E.M., or any one artist that's involved in this. It's the fact that there are so many, coming from such diverse places on the musical spectrum, all coming together for this single purpose," he said.

Bravo to this Mr.Mills, whoever he may be. Go read the article, he comports himself as understanding how it works. And I'm all for encourging election participation. Ab-so-fookin-lutely. Just don't stand on queue next to me in the voting line with your UAW "Vote for the following people" card in hand, unless you want an ear-full.

Raitt added that thought the purpose of the concerts is political, the focus will be on this music.

"We don't see hours of haranguing speeches and 20 minutes of music," she said.

Not fookin' likely. More people lit up American flags and pictures of GWB at this year's "AnnArbor Hash Bash" than they did joints.

Reach Roger LeLievre at rlelievre@annarbornews.com. (Hell, it's in his by-line.....doesn't that make it public info?)

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