Michael Maiello's picture

    Why Jay-Z and Beyonce? Oh, For The Money

    I was really disappointed to see that Beyonce took seven figures to perform for the Gadhafi clan and that she and her husband Jay-Z then partied with the dictator's family after the show.  I wrote about it today for The Daily and pretty much make my case there.

    Though I did feel a little limited in what I wanted to say.  Columns have to be very focused and there's a bigger, tougher to grasp issue at play here that goes well beyond pop stars and right into the heart of polite society.  For a brief while, my wife worked for a total Cruella D'Ville type.  This woman is fabulously wealthy, she collects art and she has her business heart set on China.  To achieve her aims there she has gone out in public and criticized the Dalai Lama and pretty much anyone who thinks that China should get out of Tibet.  Basically, she's formed her political opinion around her desire for financial gain.  Now I wouldn't exactly call this woman influential but she does have money and so she puts on gala award shows and gets actual world leaders and U.S. officials to show up so she has, by dint of her money, a greater voice than you or I do.

    The problem, of course, is that rich people and politicians hang out together.  It's not cheap to rent our Manhattan's Metropolitan Club and to serve endless drinks and a four course meal.  Only the very wealthy can do that.  Only the very wealthy can hire Beyonce to perform a private concert.  But so long as these people are patronized in that way, then whatever they want to do or say is somehow validated.

    Moamar Gadhafi's entire family participated in the economic rape of Libya's people.  There's not doubt about that.  But all of them go to St. Bart's to party and get in car chases in Europe and generally live the Paris Hilton high life wherever they go, as if they didn't do anything wrong.  Why?  Because of money.

    We've made an aristocracy out of people who would torture and oppress others and it's okay because they have money.  Beyonce and Jay-Z are just the tip of the iceberg.  What Destor can say that maybe my other persona can't is that the world's wealthiest absolutely condone the worst sorts of thuggery and outright criminality.  That tendency for the upper crust to stick together is the answer to Matt Taibbi's question: "Why Isn't Wall Street In Jail?"



    Ayn Rand tells me that they wouldn't be wealthy if they weren't worthy. Ayn Rand earned more money than you, thus she's right and you're wrong.

    Two excellent columns, Destor and Mr. Maiello. And thanks for the link to the Taibbi article. It's not even my country that's being fucked over, and it still almost brought me to tears.

    Folks, read the Taibbi article. Think about it overnight. Read it again if you have to. Then get out your pitchforks and torches.

    Hey, acanuck. What boggles my mind is the amount of sheer suffering the actions of these financiers have caused. The millions of people who have lost their homes, lost their jobs, lost their health care, lost their pensions - and many who have then lost their lives. Then the tens of millions who have seen this happen to those they know and love, felt it, and had the fear turned up to 11. 

    And yet, someone who physically murders a single person is regarded as "a monster," who must not be allowed to walk the streets again.

    Or someone who uses drugs.

    I just want these people, the financiers, to be removed form polite society, and sent to the Great Northern Woods, to work out the rest of their natural lives, planting trees. And then die, and be buried there. Without a stone. 

    And then when their trees reach maturity, to have them all cut, and burned. For no good end at all. Just so people can see the smoke, smell it, and remember. 

    Sounds fair, quinn. I started reading Matt Taibi's Griftopia a week or so ago. It filled me with such negative thoughts I had to set it aside. My first job out of school was in a bank PR department. Banks weren't even all that evil yet, but after a couple of years I just had to buy a motorcycle and go for a long, long drive. Peace.

    Only problem with that, Quinn, is that they'd starve to death before they planted the first tree. Unless some "socialist" gave them food to eat. Other than that snag, I like your plan very much.

    As for the Beyonces and Jay Z's, let's just cut to the chase.

    They're asshole celebutards, and worthless to the rest of humanity.

    Send 'em to prison for trading with the enemy. 

    Then double the term for producing an endless stream of music-killing shit.


    P.S. Not kidding.

    Yeah. They needed that Quadaffi money to feed the kids.

    Well, if Bush, Cheney, Rummy, and Wolfowitz don't suffer that fate, I think we can leave Bionce and JayZ alone for now. At least they can carry a tune.

    True.  Almost didn't write this for that reason.  But, no... they're still ticking me off.

    I was making a similar point to a friend last night. We have also allowed money to sort of become a proxy for "ability" or whatever. Whereas we used to actually go through and seek the best and brightest for most civil service jobs - now the logic has become either "The financial system is really complex" -> "This guy has a lot of money, he must be able to navigate the financial system" -> "This guy must be able to handle real complex things" -> "Government is complex" -> "This guy must be the best selection to run important bits of our government" or "Hey, this guy just gave me $250K - his kid should get an important-sounding job."

    Thing is. It really doesn't take much skill to inherit $10 billion. So, Iraq gets fucked up traffic signals - because we're letting people who very well could be morons (and in some cases this is demonstrated as the case) to do *everything* important.

    Destor, as a guy who puts up photo's of what appear to be TV wrestling stars in full costume with every post I assume you are, like most Americans, someone who may go overboard a bit  following the latest news or gossip relating to celebrities and entertainers. There are many who have profited over Quadaffi and his oil money, they are mostly corporations, and the corporations making money off Quadaffi are not as reported by news as much as are the entertainers. I noted the links on a Canadian corporation doing business in Libya, below, from a NYT comment at this link.

    BTW, Beyonce has said she donated the LIbya money to Haiti relief, the same cannot be said for the big Canadian construction firm, SNC-Lavekin, which was making a new prison for Quadaffi to lock people up in, and which had some difficulty in extracting their personnel from the site during this revolt. The company touts its Libya work in a twitter feed from 2/24:

    SNC-Lavelin- We believe that building a prison that complies with international human rights standards is a major step forward for this country.

    In 1996 there was a massacre of over 1200 inmates in Abu Salim prison in Libya. There was never an international investigation perhaps due to oil interests, see Wiki link,

    Its one thing performing for a tyrant and apparently donating the money to charity, another making profits by building prisons for dictators, while bragging about human rights standards and 'major steps forward'.

    I agree with you, of course, that the issue of multinational corporations and of our government officials appeasing these guys is far more serious.  But there's a social aspect to these celebrities that I think is important, too, and I'd like to think that they know that and would do the right thing and outright shun the world's worst offenders.

    But, yeah, I almost didn't write this column for fear that I was missing the real point.  Halliburton is causing far more damage around the world than Beyonce and Jay-Z.  But, you know, I like Beyonce and Jay-Z.  I gave an emotional connection to their work that I don't have to Halliburton's.

    So how many Dalmatians do you guys have?

    Inflation adjusted? 110.

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