J. Lo's Turkmenistan Gig

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by citizenzen, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. citizenzen, Jun 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013

    citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Personally, I could not care less who J. Lo performs for. But I thought I'd throw this question out to the forum.

    Should entertainers boycott countries for their human rights abuses?

    Should movie studios, TV production companies or game developers likewise get called out for selling their product in Turkmenistan or other nations with poor human rights records?

    Why can businesses make a buck from these countries, but entertainers be held to a higher standard?
     
  2. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #2
    Although I was young enough to not want to care, because at the time the most important thing in the world to me was to get home and watch Transformers, Robotech, and Thundercats, you may want to look at the list of celebrities that played at Sun City. A short list:

    http://www.urban75.net/forums/threads/who-played-sun-city.252584/

    Then there were those who didn't:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_City_(song)

    The reason: apartheid. Some played anyway, while some didn't. Whether those that did knew or not is another story. But some perspective for you.

    BL.
     
  3. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #3
    They both shouldn't but its much easier hold one person accountable than an entire business. Cause it's just one person...
     
  4. vega07 macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Reminds me of Hilary Swank who attended Kadyrov's birthday celebration and received a tremendous amount of flack. Her movie career rather tanked afterward.
     
  5. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #5
    Are you advocating corporate moral responsibility? (Surely you jest!)

    It's much easier to sway the opinion of one "regular Joe" vs. swaying the opinion of a soulless corporation. An individual is a "soft target", that's easier to attack.
     
  6. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #6
    Or, indeed, the occasion a few years ago, when the venerable Paul McCartney - who should have known a good deal better - chose to sing (what else?) 'Back In The USSR' to a crowd of enthusiastic groupies in Red Square, Moscow, which included then Prime Minister V. V. Putin and then President D. A. Medvedev.......
     
  7. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #7
    I think anyone who wants to use their artistic (or athletic, or whatever) status to promote various causes should be held to a higher standard. Nobody expected Babe Ruth to do anything other than hit the baseball back in his day. The heritage of Tolstoy/Gandhi/MLK has been that of using one's status in one sphere to lend weight to opinions in another sphere. I don't think people should be required to do so, but, if they do so, they should take extra pains to avoid looking hypocritical.

    The other thing it makes me wonder, though, is why an artists agent would screw something like this up so royally?
     
  8. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #8
    Hmm. I'm not so sure; I think artists can evade taking stances which suggest a degree of moral awareness (let alone explicitly making a moral and political choice) a little too easily, citing their artistic avocation oft allied to a sort of moral and political cluelessness, and finished off with a polished veneer of cultivated artlessness.

    It seems to me to be a variant of the old sportsman's cop-out clause 'I'm only a footballer, what do I know about apartheid?', which used to be invoked a little too carelessly for comfort back in the bad old days in South Africa whenever rugby or cricket tours were promoted there.

    The bottom line that is that well known artists or athletes, by very the act of visiting such countries, may serve to lend a sort of spurious legitimacy to the regime in question, and may serve to reinforce the strength of the regime, and, often worst of all, may undermine any locally based sources of questions, or oppositions ("even this western artist supports us, and you, you stupid clown, don't.") . To claim refuge in a sort of witless ingenuous ignorance is no excuse, especially not from individuals who can be most beady-eyed about the most obscure clause or financial footnote of their detailed contracts, in some cases.
     
  9. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #9
    Did anyone other than the John Birch Society actually believe "Back in the U.S.S.R." was an anthem of Soviet imperialism?
     
  10. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    I also smell a hint of puritanical outrage (not from your or the other posts in this thread) due to the fact that she sang "Happy Birthday Mr. President" ... the same song sung by Marilyn Monroe to JFK, who we now know she was bonking.

    It raises more eyebrows because she's not just performing her act, she's added a sexual/romantic air to the event.
     
  11. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #11
    Sex and rock-n-roll, together, at one stage event?

    Mass hysteria!

    I certainly hope this doesn't catch on...
     
  12. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #12
    I don't care too much where artists want to perform, I think some good can come from letting people in oppressive countries see and at least somewhat interact with outside culture and people. However they should decide for themselves if they really want to perform there, and not go around claiming they didn't know about the problems there when 5 minutes on google would have told them if they had done research before.
     
  13. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #13
    Most artists are clueless when it comes to contracts. It's typically up to others that they work with to deal with those kinds of details, assuming we're talking about a highly successful one.
     
  14. daneoni macrumors G4

    daneoni

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    #14
    Many of these celebrities "never knew he/she was *insert bad thing here*" which i think is the most ridiculous excuse ever. They have teams who triple check any/all appearances

    Why can't they just be honest and say "The money he paid was very good"

    Pathetic liars.
     
  15. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    I thought of that as a possible angle as well.

    Entertainment as a form of cultural outreach and political influence.

    It's the opposite side of the coin of the appearance giving support to the leadership.

    ----------

    Yup. Somebody paid them a crap-ton of money to perform there.

    And I don't begrudge J. Lo taking it.
     
  16. Scepticalscribe, Jul 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #16
    Oh, dear. No, most artists are deliberately clueless politically as it allows them to remain in a stare of blissful ignorance, untouched, or unsullied by anything as inconvenient as uncomfortable truths.

    Re contracts, some are genuinely out of their depth (and their biographies are full of stories where agents or other unscrupulous individuals took advantage of them, becoming wealthy as a result of the artist's success), but some are extraordinarily clued in, and very aware indeed of what the bottom line is; in those cases, either the artist themselves is capable of making intelligent decisions, or, they are a good judge of character, and they have chosen their agents wisely.

    I'm with you on this. If they were to openly forego pretending to prefer occupation of the moral high ground and simply admit that the remuneration is excellent and concede that deep down they don't give two hoots about such trivialities as human rights, poor governance, political oppression, why then, while not admirable, this position would be at least intellectually honest.

    For what it is worth, I've worked in a number of countries adjacent to Turkmenistan, and I'm not wholly convinced of the 'cultural outreach' argument. Rather, I have noticed that it is one that Governments peddle, with a straight face, at diplomatic cocktail parties and news conferences and meetings with foreign dignitaries, while local oppositions, (and not just oppositions, but NGOs, human rights activists, those who favour an unsupervised media and journalists) gnash their teeth and wail that surely the foreign artist in question really knew what was going on 'as you have a free press in the west unlike us?'
     
  17. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #17
    And yet, I have to wonder why I should care, one way or the other, what Babe Ruth or J-Lo thinks about politics. An "artist", with a baseball bat or a human voice or in front of the camera or with a paintbrush, may have spent too much time thinking about their craft and not much time studying the political situation in Turkmenistan for me to care what they think.

    Agreed. I think there is some middle ground, too, where the artist may say, "I care, but, I really don't know much about any of this."

    If they start offering political opinions, then, I think they do have a responsibility to know more and I think they should be held to a higher standard.

    Sounds like a very colorful life. It hasn't always been that easy to travel, let alone work, near Turkmenistan. But, "cultural outreach" was what the U.S. and the Soviet Union did to try to avoid WW III, and, as a result, I got to see various Soviet performing artists at various times. On the whole, generally positive all around, even if it did ultimately facilitate Soviet CP members buying western goods in "hard currency" stores. Fairly recently there have been a couple of Paul Simon specials on PBS. Was it a bad thing that he made the Graceland album with musicians from South Africa during the cultural boycott? I think there is a pretty big difference between a "happy birthday" concert and the more usual "cultural outreach" done by musicians. This is where a good agent should be able to keep an artist out of trouble.
     
  18. opinioncircle macrumors 6502a

    opinioncircle

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    #18
    Unfortunately this is not new. Eva Mendes did the same thing.

    Just open up the wallet and offer a few bills will pretty much make everyone go your way :eek:
     
  19. DesertEagle macrumors 6502a

    DesertEagle

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    #19
    If the entertainer is a high-profile supporter of Amnesty International (Jennifer Lopez is one), then he or she might want to think twice before saying yes to do a performance under such circumstances.
     
  20. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #20
    I looked it up and found that she is a supporter of AI.

    Good point.
     
  21. rovex macrumors 65816

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    #21
    America would have to be off limits for all performers in that case.
     
  22. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    And another good point.

    ;)
     

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