Away With All That, Andy

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Last night on CNN, Anderson Cooper took Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, and Usher to task for taking “blood money” from Moammar Gadhafi (or Muammar al-Qaddafi, whatever) in exchange to perform for members of his family.

Naturally, your local know-it-all is now filling up your Facebook homepage and Twitter timelines with self-righteous bullshit calling these stars – well, namely Beyoncé – coochie poppers for corruption.

Similarly, sites like Salon or spinning ’round their soapdishes asking questions like, “Why is Beyoncé Untouchable?”

Indeed, Drew Grant wrote:

Still, the couple got away relatively unscathed in the media for their relationship with the dictator’s family, which is more than a little odd, especially since both (but especially Jay-Z) are considered political activists in the music industry. How could they not have known who was funding their performances? Are we really supposed to believe that a politically aware power couple like Jay and Beyoncé were just unable to “see (Mutassim’s) halo,” as Mediaite wrote?

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I’m making this same face, too:

Since when is Beyoncé considered a political activist in the music industry?

I know these days writers increasingly have a lot less time to turn around their pieces, but if you don’t have the slightest idea about the subject you’re writing on opt to sit the fuck down.

Of course, none of this would have happened without Anderson’s segment airing yesterday. It’s yet another reminder of the limits of highly handsome men. I’m trying really hard here not to speak ill of Andy. I love him as a journalist, and as a, well, everything.

Still, I found his segment to be a bit self-righteous last nite. Not to mention painfully predictable. I’m sure he meant well, but I get the feeling his producers meant to get ratings from publicizing this story.

First of all, Beyoncé, Usher, Lionel Richie, and Mariah Carey’s dates with Libyan dictator and his family have all been documented in the press only now are certain people in the press seeking to vilify them for it.

That’s not to say that I believe any of them should’ve taken Gadhafi’s money. At the same time, I do think trying to crucify them now is quite silly. Reason being is I have a hard time believing any of them actually knew what was going on over there.

The American press tends to shift its focus on more pressing matters like Justin Bieber’s hair cut or Kim Kardashian’s left butt cheek feeling cold. As a result, we in America tend to only get international news when the situation is of great severity — and even then news managers somehow manage to attach to some nominal level of celebrity.

Case in point.

So while it’s really cute for people to sit around telling Beyoncé what she should do with her money as if she’s never ever done philanthropic work before, I’d be more impressed if members of the press turned their attention to the source of celebrity (and our collective) ignorance: Themselves. Even better, how about we go after folks a lot chummier with bad folks for far more money.

I will give Anderson Cooper credit for also including President Bush, President Obama, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in his segment, but in the end their scrutiny should’ve started years ago. Plus, let’s stop pretending their roles are on par with the pop stars they were lumped in with.

We gush over the dress Michelle Obama wore while the White House hosted the President of China (CHINA!), the government continues to pay off terrorists with money that would be far better spent here (for “stability” which loosely translates into access to oil in asshole), not to mention how we punish Cubans with a trade embargo that seems utterly pointless now.

I could go on and on and on. Like say, since we’re on the subject of the plight of Middle Easterners, why wasn’t our government given the public whipping it deserved for keeping Hosni Mubarak in power for so long? We’re championing their people for pushing for freedom but it’s the people we elected that used our tax dollars that kept them away from it?

But my anger needs to be directed at Beyoncé, Usher, Lionel, and Mimi?

Unless there’s video of one of these stars kicking down the poor in Libya en route to cashing their checks, or at the very least proof any of them were aware of the situation there I need them to try again.

Even still, as much as I love 360 phrase, “Keeping ’em honest,” I’d love it if we all kept it consistent.

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