Thursday, February 21, 2008

Odds and Sods - Free Britney edition

March 19th will be the Blogswarm Against the War. Sign up and do your part, sister and brother bloggers! If you aren't sure what to write about, there are suggestions at the March 19-Blogswarm webpage. If there are anti-war activities in your town taking place on or around the 5th (!!!!) anniversary of the Iraq war, covering these events is a good place to start.



Lisa at Questioning Transphobia titles her post about Sanesha Stewart, simply, Another Murder--which just breaks my heart. Unfortunately, violent deaths of transgendered persons are commonplace enough to warrant such a headline.

The tragedy of Sanesha's murder was compounded by the insensitivity of the New York press, writing salaciously of the fact that she (gasp!) dressed like a woman, used a woman's name (her legal name, in fact), and was apparently a prostitute. Drakyn has a round-up of various accounts throughout the blogosphere, and asks for a moment of silence in remembering Sanesha.


Left: from Rolling Stone.

Rolling Stone's cover story about Britney Spears is aptly titled The Tragedy of Britney Spears. It opens with a trip to the mall, where Britney has one of her regular meltdowns when an American Express card doesn't immediately go through:

"Fuck these bitches," screams Britney, each word ringing out between sobs. "These idiots can't do anything right!"

Ghalib dashes over to console her, but she's already spitting, growling, throwing a big bottle of soda on the floor so that it begins to spill underneath the curtain, and then she's got a box of tissues and is throwing them on top of the wet floor along with piles of discarded merchandise. A new card finally goes through, but by then Britney is out the door, leaving her shirt on the ground and replacing it with the red top. "Fuck you, fuck people, fuck, fuck, fuck," she keeps screaming, her face splotchy and red as she crosses the interminable mall floor, the crowd behind her growing larger and larger. "Leave us alone!" yells Ghalib.

The siblings run after Britney to get a video to put up on YouTube, and some of the shopgirls run after her to hand off the merchandise she left behind, and there's an entire bridal party wearing yellow T-shirts who have pulled out camera phones too. A crush of managers in black shirts and gold name tags try to keep the peace, but the crowd running after Britney gets larger, and now the shopgirls have ­started to catch up to her, one of them slipping spectacularly in her platform shoes, grazing her elbow. She pulls herself up, mustering the strength to tap Britney's shoulder. "Um, I'm from the South too," she mumbles, "and I was wondering if I could get a picture with you for my little sister."

Britney turns to Ghalib and grabs his arm. "I don't want her talking to me!" she screams. She whirls around and stares the girl deep in the eyes, her lips almost vibrating with anger. "I don't know who you think I am, bitch," she snarls, "but I'm not that person."
Wow. Obviously not.

Renegade Evolution and other sex workers have often pointed out that there are LOT of entertainers far more oppressed than sex workers, and I think we have a pretty good example right in front of us, don't we? Britney has been chewed up and spit out like a cheap piece of candy.

Amazing story, going back to cute Britney the Mouseketeer. Check it out.


In other music news, Tom Scholz of the band BOSTON has just informed the Huckabee campaign to STOP using their song, More Than A Feeling:
CONCORD, N.H. - The chief songwriter and founder of the band Boston has more than a feeling that he’s being ripped off by Mike Huckabee.

In a letter to the Republican presidential hopeful, Tom Scholz complains that Huckabee is using his 1970s smash hit song “More Than a Feeling” without his permission. A former member of the band, Barry Goudreau, has appeared with Huckabee at campaign events, and they have played the song with Huckabee’s band, Capitol Offense.

Scholz, who said Goudreau left the band more than 25 years ago after a three-year stint, objects to the implication that the band and one of its members has endorsed Huckabee’s candidacy.

“Boston has never endorsed a political candidate, and with all due respect, would not start by endorsing a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for,” wrote Scholz, adding that he is supporting Democratic Sen. Barack Obama. “By using my song, and my band’s name Boston, you have taken something of mine and used it to promote ideas to which I am opposed. In other words, I think I’ve been ripped off, dude!”

Fred Bramante, who was chairman of Huckabee’s New Hampshire campaign, called the allegations ridiculous. He said he attended dozens of Huckabee rallies in New Hampshire and other states and never heard Huckabee play “More Than a Feeling,” other than when Goudreau campaigned with him in Iowa in October.

“Governor Huckabee plays ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ Does that mean Lynyrd Skynyrd is endorsing him? He plays ‘Louie Louie.’ Does that mean The Kingsmen are endorsing him? To me, it’s ridiculous,” he said. “Never once has he said, ‘The band Boston endorses me.’

Scholz, in a telephone interview Friday, said he understands “More Than a Feeling” has been a centerpiece at some rallies, and said Goudreau is identified with the band in an endorsement video.

“Whenever a campaign publicly exploits a well-known song, there is some inference of support” by the band or artist, he added.

He recommends that Huckabee “stick to music recorded by far-right Republicans.”

Tensions between Scholz and some of the early band members date from the early 1980s, when CBS Inc. sued the band over delays in recording new albums. The company’s Epic Records label recorded the band’s first two releases: “Boston,” in 1976, and “Don’t Look Back,” in 1978.

Scholz — who wrote, engineered, and laid down nearly all the instrumental tracks on the first album — countersued for the rights to the band’s name and music. Three members of the original band, including Goudreau, testified for the record company, which lost.

In his letter, Scholz referred to Huckabee as the “straight talk candidate,” but that label more often is applied to Sen. John McCain, who has had his own troubles when it comes to his musical playlist. Last week, McCain’s campaign agreed to stop playing John Mellencamp’s songs “Our Country” and “Pink Houses” at his rallies after the liberal rocker complained.

Mellencamp had supported Democrat John Edwards, who recently dropped out of the race.

Other candidates have had better luck selecting songs. Celine Dion said she was “thrilled” that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton used her song, “You and I” as her official campaign anthem. Obama frequently blares U2’s “City of Blinding Lights” at his events.

I have written here about the questionable circumstances surrounding the death of Richard Javis 'Jabo' Johnson while in police custody in Fountain Inn, SC--as well as the local demonstration that I attended after his death was ruled a suicide, back in September. I did two follow-ups, one concerning the Greenville Journal story, and another when no charges were filed, following the Department of Justice investigation.

Well, the DoJ was back in Greenville County this week, facilitating a meeting between the Fountain Inn police force and members of the community:

Feds bring Fountain Inn citizens, police force together

Some attending closed meeting say they 'feel good' about outcome

Monday, February 18, 2008
By Eric Connor
STAFF WRITER, Greenville News
A U.S. Department of Justice representative who specializes in mediating racial conflicts met behind closed doors tonight with Fountain Inn officials and members of the community to address complaints of discord between the community and the city’s police force.

Fountain Inn Mayor Gary Long said "a lot" of members of the community, as well as he and the city’s police chief, attended the mediation session, which came after the death of an inmate in the city’s jail last summer.

Long said he couldn’t comment on what occurred during the meeting, which was held at an undisclosed location. A majority of City Council members weren’t present, he said.

The Rev. Curtis Johnson, a spokesman for the community, said that he couldn’t talk about what was discussed during the meeting. "We feel good that the process is going forward," Johnson said. "We have no reason to believe we won’t reach a positive conclusion."

The Justice Department offers mediation through its Community Relations Service, which acts as a third-party peacemaker when communities encounter racial and ethnic conflict. The department’s regional mediator, Walter Atkinson, presided over the meeting.

Long had said earlier that the meeting wouldn’t focus on the July death of Richard Javis Johnson, who was found hanged to death with a T-shirt in his jail cell after an arrest on a drug charge -- but rather on general complaints by the community regarding relations with law enforcement.

Allegations of police mistreatment came to the fore after Johnson’s death. The 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office has ruled the 25-year-old’s death a suicide.

A month after the death, the Rev. Jesse Jackson took a tour of the Fountain Inn jail with a group of protesters and accused the Police Department of "a dereliction of duty" and said that Johnson had been "beaten to death."

The city’s police chief, Keith Morton, has said his department is innocent of any wrongdoing.

City Councilwoman Wanza Bates told The Greenville News in November that she has fielded widespread complaints of police abuse, including allegations of harassment, use of excessive force and illegal searches, concerns that she said citizens have been afraid to raise publicly.

Johnson’s death, Bates said, compelled more in the community to come forward with their concerns.

"I’m hearing it from black and white, young and old," Bates told The News in November. "People don’t even want to drive down Main Street."

In November, Long told The News, "We don’t think that there’s anything that they’ve done improperly, but if we have, we’ll deal with it. Since there was so much anxiety and so much accusations and the perception that we were doing something wrong, we took it out of our hands and will let someone else judge us."

I'm not sure if the current John McCain scandal has any news-cycle longevity or not, but we shall see. In the meantime, here is a link about the New York Times story (which I could access in full last night, but not this morning! growf!) about Vicki Iseman, the lobbyist he was ultra-cozy with. Fascinating!

I hope she's as proud of her country as Cindy McCain is! ;)

Listening to: Bob Marley & the Wailers - Satisfy My Soul
via FoxyTunes


Bryce said...

damn! incredible britney article, thanx, D.

ZenDenizen said...

Whoa, must read that whole Britney tragedy now!