by now you may have heard that M.I.A. used her 20 seconds at the Super Bowl to do a little rap and flip the bird, either to America, The Super Bowl, The Man, The Censors, or the target of the song who she had just informed she did not "give a shit".
predictably, the media, the NFL, and NBC (who broadcast the show in America) tsk-tsked over the "obscene" gesture (it's just a finger, people!).
on the other hand, who's the smart one? she had 20 seconds and she did something that had people talking about her the day after (most of whom had never heard of her before). kind of hard, in 20 seconds, to convey "Freedom for the Tamil people! Cancel the Debt! Feed The Poor! Tax the Rich! Feed Madonna's Brother! We Are the 99%!"
we had to settle for Beauty Queen Madonna's statement in the grass afterward: "WORLD PEACE".
but the freakin' bone i came here to pick is fucking Pitchfork and their evil vendetta (V is for Vendetta, after all...) against M.I.A....
Their Super Bowl article took cheap shots at her, as have several articles over the past couple of years.
OK, maybe her music (and personality) is not for everybody.... i happen to love her music, personality, politics, and performance... i admit that the "Maya" album was not as powerful (IMHO) as the first two albums. i especially love the Diplo mixtape she did (Piracy Funds Terrorism). but i really feel that a lot of the criticism of her is colored by sexist and racist sentiments, like the oft-stated opinion that she owes "everything" to ex-beau Diplo, who supposedly and cleverly came up with things such as The Clash Straight to Hell sample featured in M.I.A.'s smash hit Paper Planes. Diplo and M.I.A. were a great team, but the assumption that all the heavy lifting was done by the blond white guy as opposed to the brown Tamil girl is, well, both racist and sexist.
as for "Truffle Gate", that was total bullshit. Pitchfork and other idiots like to mock M.I.A. (and practically anyone who actually has political beliefs) as a naive poseur who spouts radical and revolutionary slogans while enjoying privilege and society's wealth inequalities. a reporter (the same reporter who did the hit piece on Kurt and Courtney where they allegedly admitted to her, after she hung out with them at length and pretended to be their friend, that they had shot dope while Courtney was preggers) from The New York Times actually took M.I.A. to a yuppie restaurant for an interview, and suggested she try the truffle fries (even offered to pay for them), just so she could write something like "... 'I, uh, like, totally support world-wide revolution, man!', said M.I.A., as she twirled a $40 truffle fry on a solid silver fork...."
Cheap shot, man.
Let's be clear. M.I.A. really did grow up in Sri Lanka at a time when her people, the Tamil people, were being slaughtered at an incredible rate (to the collective yawn of the international community), and her father really did support radical Tamil groups. and she and her mother really did flee to England as refugees where she grew up in the projects. and she really does believe in freedom for the Tamil people and other oppressed people around this sad globe of ours.
ok, her baby daddy is fucking rich, it's true, or at least his family is (you may have heard of Seagram's Whiskey or Warner Music), but that's not her fault, nor his.
so i don't really understand what Pitchfork's beef is, exactly. Ok, they don't like her music and/or her personality. but the vehemence and vitriol with which they attack her seems completely unwarranted.
let's face the facts - people LOVE to build people up and then tear them down. People LOVE to criticize political activists and look for alleged hypocrisy - it relieves them of feeling like they should care about anything themselves (or god forbid, DO SOMETHING...) and they get a cheap, smug laugh out of it all.
but let's face another fact. when you tear someone down, you really denigrate yourself.
Download an MP3 of "Give Me All Your Luvin'" Live at Superbowl 46
Download an MP3 of the entire Half-Time Show Superbowl 46