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countdown to stupidity

this post has been updated, see below

As the 2003 Grammys approach (Sunday night at 8), I'm wondering who will be the first media darling to make an anti-war statement that night.

Let's take some bets, shall we?

Who will be spotted in a "No Blood for Oil" t-shirt?
Who will be the first to use their alloted speech time to blast President Bush?
Who will be the first to turn down their award in the name of all the Iraqi children?
Which performing artist will change the words to their lyrics to reflect anti-war sentiment?
Which artist not from America will be the first to call America an evil empire after accepting his/her award?
Who will be the first artist backstage to compare Bush to Hitler?

Your choices are many, as this gathering of Grammy nominees and performers is rife with artists who have already staked their claim in the "Leave Saddam Alone" crowd.

Choose from these stellar political commentators:

Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Dave Matthews, Coldplay, Moby, Bono, System of a Down, Peter Gabriel among others.

I think we could actually make a drinking game out of this.

UPDATE: Drudge is reporting that CBS is looking to turn the mic off of artists who make anti-war statements. While I am all about wanting these people to shut up, I can easily change the channel if I don't want to hear it. I am, however, not in favor of censorship. If these artists wish to use their time to make a protest, that's their prerogative. I don't think CBS should dictate what they can or can't say.

You, on the other hand, can dictate whether to listen to it or not. Let's not forget the freedom we are so intent on defending. Part of that is the freedom of speech. Censorship of ideas is not a part of that.

I'm sure a lot of us would be upset if an artist got up on the stage to state his or her pro-war statements and CBS turned their mic off. Let's remember it works both ways.


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» Place bets now from Inoperable Terran
Michele is taking bets on the Grammys. Specifically, which artist(s) will make idiots of themselves? [Read More]


You know, Michele, not just because I am a fan but really, Peter Gabriel is not just a political air bag. He certainly has his opinions and statements but he actually DOES things to aid his causes that don't involve just spewing his pie hole and putting his foot into it. I am one of the most annoyed by these people but respect the ones who actually contribute with actions and not just words. There are many things that some of these celebrities do behind the scenes and not just for the cameras that you have to actually LOOK for to find out. Paul Newman is another example.

Check out Drudge this morning. There is a story about how CBS might cut the mic of anyone trying to be political.

Should be fun to watch!

As much as I would like to watch, I'll be watching the FINAL episode of OZ.

Same here Ed. I might tape the Grammy's though.

Can't believe Glynn got wacked last episode.

Oz kicks ass. Damn it why did they have to turn off my cable !!!!

I think its a celebrities duty to express their opinnion.
God knows you would where you a celebrity. If you're not already.

I'll probably be blogging the Grammys, just for the fun of it. But i will be taping Oz to watch right after, so don't anybody come around here and spoil anything for me!

Though I'm betting everyone dies. Big explosion, something along those lines.

word. and double word.

Remember, it ain't censorship until the government does it. When CBS does it, it's a company making choices about what it lets on the air.

Talk amongst yourselves...

md beat me to it, but he's right. It's CBS's air time to do with what they want, and if they don't want anti-war message broadcast by people over their air, they have every right to kill their mics. I don't think they should, because it would be bad PR, but it's not as if these people don't otherwise have access to the media.

From last night's Brit Awards:

"Coldplay's Chris Martin told the audience: 'We are all going to die when George Bush has his way. But at least we are going to go out with a bang.' "

Just the kind of insightful acceptance speech you can look forward to at the Grammy's if that lot win anything.

well, is U2 gonna be there? Bono's always a safe bet for shit like this... plus, he was just nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, so I'm sure he'll be asking for support in his own humble (hahaha) way.

kinda makes you miss the days when rappers would rap about killing, drug dealing, and rape, and then get up there and thank God for their success, no?

I think that I shall exercise my First Amendment rights by using my Mute button when ever I start to hear the usual diatribes. I wonder if whatshername Littlefeather is availiable Sunday?

Uh, I'm not aware of any anti-war sentiment Bono has said. I'd like to know for sure either way, as I have been consistently impressed with his attitude re: 9/11. I saw the Fox interview with him a while after and he said (paraphrased) "... one thing 9/11 has shown is how insignificant celebrity is ... how the real heroes are "out there" ...."

In fact, just a quick google turned up this:


that kinda denounces the position that Bono is just some Sean Penn wannabe chimp. Some people have a genuine love of the U.S. - even if they didn't grow up here - I'm one of those people, and I'd say that Bono is one of those people too.

I disagree on the censorship issue. Just because these stars have something to say, doesn't mean that CBS is compeled to air it.

what are you kidding? we're talking about cbs here, not fox!! of course they won't take out any anti-war garbage, they're counting on it. it's entertaining to watch fools announce their ignorance

Who is the first presenter and first artist to win? That is who will make the first antiwar statement. Here is another contest. Why not vote on the most lame or stupid antiwar statement? I know that we will have plenty of things to choose from.

Who will be the first viewer to completely ignore the whole Grammy's presentation? Me.

The Grammys ceased to be relevant to me years ago, when they gave Album of the Year to Milli Vanilli, and gave Best New Metal Artist to Jethro Tull. For Tull's 210th album.

Strangely enough, the Grammy website doesn't seem to mention either of those awards. Tull's has been changed to "Best Hard Rock/Metal Instrumental", and Milli Vanilli is absent.

Turning off microphones? Of some celebrities? And that in the land of free speech? I am impressed. But as michele said - if anyone wants to state whatever and even if he choosesto make a dumbass of himself, it works both ways round. (I mean, I'm still waiting for the first celebrity besides Charleton Heston to wear a "My friend is George W. Bush T-Shirt".


Once again, I applaud your site... I personally think this war is for the birds, but I'm glad that you consistently bring different viewpoints to the table.

Best to you... Hope you have a lovely weekend.

I agree with md. Its CBS' choice what THEY want to air or not to air. I don't believe it's censorship either. As a conservative, if there were pro-war artists up there, I would applaud CBS' choice to shut their mics as well. This is not the time or place to air one's political persuasions. CBS makes the call on what it wants aired.

Lilli, I understand that English is not your first language, but your "And this in the land of free speech" comment is irrelevant. I don't blame you; very few Americans understand the concept, let alone Germans or other non-Americans.

The right to free speech refers to the right to be from government control over what you say. That's it. CBS is not the government. It's their network, their program, and their equipment. They and they alone retain the right to decide what goes out over their network. It has nothing to do with "free speech."

Damn, but I wish people would get that straight.

That's all well and good, but when all networks start deciding what THEY want to air, we consumers are left with little choice and little plurality of ideas. Then, the networks only broadcast ideas that they approve of and we turn to what? C-Span? That's the thing about the corporate media, it's their choice what to show -- therefore, we the people, have no choice but to consume it or turn it off.

(all typos courtesy of Earl)

Tom Donelson beat me to the answer, i.e., who's first. Ponder this: Who is MC'ing the drivel? He/she/it might be the first.

I remember back in '91 there was significant anti-saddam sentiment as well as blow 'em to smithereens sentiment among the Heavy Metal Rock bands I saw that year.

If you want to get technical about it, it's the advertisers show. They're the ones paying the freight, not CBS. CBS "owns" the spectrum they broadcast on and the equipment they broadcast with, but they wouldn't send out signal one if they didn't have advertisers. And I'm willing to bet that MegaCorp CEO called up CBS CEO and said "any BS about the war, and you can forget my next placement." As I noted at my site, they are probably picturing thousands of folks clicking over to Gunsmoke the first time some dork musician opens his ill-informed mouth.

It is, after all, a musical-insider back-slapping "awards" event that is selected for transmission over public airwaves because people love to look at celebrities' boobs and see their favorites win. Not spout off about foreign policy.

(as an aside, I'm in favor of all manner of idiotic tomfoolery by those heroin addicts...the more, the merrier, says I. I need more laughs these days.)

I just sent a Feedback comment to CBS urging them to air all the comments in their entirety. CBS should run the standard disclaimer, "The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of CBS, Dan Rather maybe, but not CBS."

Let's let America get a real good look at the assholes trying to entertain us.

Ooh! We could turn it into a drinking game! Say, a gulp for every anti-war comment, 2 if it's printed (on a shirt, or, god help us, a sign).
And, of course, finish the bottle if someone actually supports the war...

"Can't believe Glynn got wacked last episode.

Posted by Thunderwulf at February 21, 2003 12:45 PM "

DAMN. Really wish you'd put some sort of spoiler warning there. We're a season behind you over here.

Grammy shmammy. Let 'em blather. I won't be watching anyway.

Earl, your comments about the "corporate media" are just hand-waving. It doesn't matter if television and radio stations are owned by Disney and General Electric, or by Steve Jones from down the street. Their property is their property, and they have the right to say what is done with it.

There are legitimate arguments to be made regarding concentration of ownership, which is what I think you were trying to get at, but again, concentration is a problem whether it's into the hands of Clear Channel or aforementioned Steve Jones. (And if you think that can't happen with an individual, I have two words: Rupert Murdoch. Two more: Ted Turner.)

"Dan Rather, maybe, but not CBS".

I'm still LOL'ing on that one.

Phil, handwaving, eh? I was getting at the concentration bit, but I just didn't want to open up a "liberal" can of worms. I'm fairly well-versed in my knowledge of media concentration (with an admittedly left-sided perspective -- that damn mass media major of mine!) and I understand that it can be one person as well as a big corporation. Thus, moneyed interests control the flow of information. In short, without reiterating my master's thesis, it's bad for democracy.

Bottom-line concerns, a need to satisfy advertisers and a willingness to cater to one ideology are very basic , tip-of-the-iceberg problems with media concentration. However, there are some democratic, regulatory checks that are supposed to serve the public interest in the face of media conglomeration -- most notably the FCC. Unfortunately, the media industry is being deregulated to the point where market forces (rather than public interests) dominate the flow of information. Yes, the owners should have the right to do what they want with their property (that's the nature of the unfettered capitalism beast, and an entirely different argument), but there should then be a more independent, public interest serving institution alongside the Disney's, GE's and Steve Jones's. Afterall, the airwaves are public property, they belong to you an me, as taxpayers. Our gov't basically gave the airwaves to private coporations to do as they please with them (with only minor stipulations in return), and that represents a major problem in the free flow of unbiased info. Even PBS is underwritten by ExxonMobil, and other friendly corporations. When the only source of somewhat independent gov't news is C-Span, you know you're in trouble.

In short (I know I'm rambling here), since the airwaves belong to us, they should serve our interests better, through regulations or through additional stations or sources that are out of the hands of corporate control (a rather simplified solution, I know, as the gov't is under corporate control as well -- but again, another argument dor another time...)

(Pardon typos, I don't have the time to edit, it's Saturday night fer crissakes...)

> but when all networks start deciding what THEY want to air

Earth to Earl - they ALREADY decide what they want to air. They've always decided.

If they choose not to let someone at the Grammy's say something, it's no different than their decision to not broadcast my remarks.

I've got a degree in mass media as well, Earl, so there's no need to be patronizing. Despite my libertarian leanings, you'll find me no fan of deregulation, particularly because it was implemented only after the deck was already stacked in favor of existing licenseholders and station owners. The barriers to entry into the broadcast television and FM radio markets are now so enormous that new players find it impossible to get off the ground. But that isn't the free market -- not unless you have an exceedingly broad definition of "free" -- it's an example of a regulator beinga tool of the industry it's supposed to be regulating. (Economists have a phrase for this effect, but it escapes me at the moment.)

I wouldn't be so quick, though, to promote "alternative voices" and whatnot. If you look at the one set of outlets that is available to "the people" -- public access cable television channels -- you'll find that they produce mostly unedifying filler at least the equal of ten episodes of "Temptation Island." I have nothing against it, but it isn't exactly the road to a more educated, more informed populace.

Phil, not trying to be patronizing (if I came off that way don't be so damn sensitive, I'm a bunch of letters on your computer screen)... just illustrating that I have a little bit of knowledge on the topic (just like a Shakespeare major can recite key speaches from plays, etc).

Fact is, deregulation is not helping the situation -- there needs to be more balance, a stronger presence of outlets that aren't tethered to the commercial interests. Cable stations are owned by those commercial interests -- hence the fact that you can't see much more than Survivor™ re-runs. Go deep and go cheap, they say. They'll play as much crap and recycle it as much as they can so long as the right amount of people will gawk at it....

Oh, and to clarify on the free-markets issue. The FCC IS giving sweetheart deals to the larger companies and making it more difficult for smaller companies and upstarts to break through. However, their reasoning for this is usually free market rhetoric. If you listen to Colin Powell Jr (aka Michael Powell), the head of the FCC, he is a free-market fanatic. He believes in the power of Adam Smith's invisible hand (hairy palm and all) and uses that as a reason why these companies are so powerful. He claims that if they didn't serve the public interests, the people wouldn't consume them. That's a load of crap, it's an oligopoly -- the people have no choice -- they watch what is provided or they don't watch at all...

Take a look at this site about war and music..


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