Elton John is still standing despite making several pronouncements that put him at odds with his celebrity peers.
First, the Rocket Man performed at—gasp—the wedding of conservative talker Rush Limbaugh. Turns out El Rushbo is a huge fan of the ageless entertainer, and John is a big enough man to bring joy to someone who doesn‘t share all of his views. Sounds like a liberal in the best sense of the word.
But John was just warming up.
He recently performed a concert in Arizona and didn’t mince words with his fellow singers who are boycotting the state for daring to enforce the laws of the land.
“We are all very pleased to be playing in Arizona. I have read that some of the artists won’t come here. They are [expletive] wits! Let’s face it: I still play in California, and as a gay man I have no legal rights whatsoever. So what’s the [expletive] with these people?”
Who are these people, indeed? The list is pretty long. Let’s start with the Lilith Fair, a traveling band of women singers whose current tour has been plagued by poor sales and venue cancellations—ten so far, according to The New York Times. They could ill afford to cancel any shows but ideology often trumps common sense.
Then there is Lady Gaga. While she didn’t actually boycott the state, during a sold-out concert in Phoenix she joined the critics blasting Arizona’s immigration law: “We have to be active. We have to protest.… I will yell and I will scream louder.
Other bands boycotting the state include Los Lobos, Cypress Hill, Pitbull and Hall & Oates. Can the state stand the loss of live versions of “Maneater” and “Kiss on My List?”
The list also includes reliable lefties like Billy Bragg and Rage Against the Machine.
Other boycotters on the Sound Strike list, the aggregate for those who don’t believe a nation deserves to protect its borders, reads like a Who’s Who of “Who are these bands, again?”
Disco Villains. Junkyard Empire. Killbot Kindergarten. And the list, sadly enough, goes on.
To be fair, it’s difficult to ignore the political wisdom of DJ Spooky, Los Faggots and iLL-literacy.
It’s trendy for rock stars to sign up for the latest cause, even if said cause flies in the face of popular will. Unknown rock stars will get some free press out of joining the Arizona boycott, while aging troubadours get to burnish their liberal bona fides.
Heck, there’s no new “We Are the World’ single being cut at the moment, thus freeing up a lot of artists’ schedules.
The law in question, which was recently watered down by a federal judge—and President Clinton appointee—dared to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the border state. Suddenly, the act of showing a police officer your driver’s license or other proof of ID became synonymous to handing over one’s papers a la Nazi Germany circa 1941 to the law’s detractors.
It’s racial profiling, they cried, even though the law specifically included verbiage to address that concern.
But what are these musicians really fighting for? Is it such a punishment that Nine Inch Nails won’t be coming to an Arizona burb near you? And if other states poll in favor of enforcing the law like Arizonans have, as is the case in Colorado, shouldn’t singers boycott those “racist” states, too? Those residents should be equally punished for being hate mongers, right?
And are they even advancing the dialogue on the subject? If they get their news from august newsmen like Bob Schieffer, they probably don’t even know what the actual law says.
Then again, key members of the Obama Administration didn’t bother to read the law itself before condemning it, so maybe your average rock star deserves a pass.
Some celebrities didn’t bother to boycott the state. They hit Arizona full blast from the security of their Twitter accounts.
Comedian George Lopez’s legendary wit played out via this recent Tweet: “ARIZONA .. George Lopez is coming .. Oops .. I just got pulled over .. Apparently I fit the profile .. Gacho !!”
He doubled down on the theme with a follow-up Tweet: “AZ announces the first Spray Tanning Shop that sprays you lighter, ‘the casper’ .. Tougher to Profile.”
Lopez used his TBS talk show to expand on his Tweets, implying Arizonans are racist for supporting the measure. When someone plays the Race Card it usually means they prefer demagoguery to meaningful dialogue. The comedian suggested actor Mel Gibson and his racist mouth might find a welcoming home in the border state:
“Let’s see. He don’t like people of color, he don’t like Mexicans, he don’t like minorities, where can he go? Orale, Arizona!”
Humor works when it’s based on the truth, and since the new law doesn’t allow police to pull one over for Driving While Hispanic, the joke simple dies.
The more bands boycott states for daring to follow the law of the land, the more fans will do their own boycotting via Ticketmaster. And they’ll always have Elton John to fall back on.