"It’s a massive display of powerful corporation dick-shaking."
September 28, 2013 11:25 AM   Subscribe

In the 2012 superbowl half-time show, rapper M.I.A. flipped off the camera while performing with Madonna. On September 19, the Hollywood Reporter revealed that the NFL has been waging a "secret legal war" over the incident, demanding $1.5 million and an apology from M.I.A. This week M.I.A. responded with a video statement (transcript at Pitchfork):
So, now, they’re scapegoating me into figuring out the goalposts on what is offensive in America. Like, is my finger offensive, or is the underage black girl with her legs wide open more offensive to the family audience? That’s basically what it comes down to. It's a massive waste of time, a massive waste of money, it’s a massive display of powerful corporation dick-shaking. They want me on my knees and say sorry so they can slap me on my wrist. Basically, so they can say it’s OK for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female than to display female empowerment through being punk rock. That is what it boils down to, and I’m being sued for it.

In the Hollywood Reporter article, M.I.A.'s lawyer Howard King says, "Of course, the NFL's claimed reputation for wholesomeness is hilarious, in light of the weekly felonies committed by its stars, the bounties placed by coaches on opposing players, the homophobic and racist comments uttered by its players, the complete disregard for the health of players and the premature deaths that have resulted from same, and the raping of public entities ready to sacrifice public funds to attract teams."

The same article also reports that the NFL's lawyer "Ortner faults M.I.A for not acting in 'good faith' since the 2012 Super Bowl. Her alleged acts include challenging the arbitration clause in the agreement, failing to pay her share of the costs of arbitration, failing to attend mediation, failing to consummate a settlement-in-principle achieved, using video clips of her Super Bowl performance to promote her business endeavors and 'refus[ing] to take responsibility or apologize for her actions which were broadcast worldwide.'"

Fox News Sports has weighed in, declaring NFL's lawsuit vs. M.I.A. is laughable.
posted by medusa (135 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
When Fox News takes the side of MIA, you know you've fucked up.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:29 AM on September 28, 2013 [45 favorites]


Great, so now we have to decide whether M.I.A. is more loathsome than the NFL? (By the way, performing at the Superbowl Half-Time Show means that any claims to being "punk rock" are automatically forfeit, BECAUSE IT'S THE SUPERBOWL HALF-TIME SHOW, for god's sake.)

Everyone involved gives me a headache.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:30 AM on September 28, 2013 [30 favorites]


Public entities do not get "raped". Just a pet peeve of mine. Anyway, I don't think M.I.A. Is punk rock anymore (didn't she abuse a housekeeper or nanny something?), but I'm also no fan of the NFL, so I hope she wins this fight.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:30 AM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


they show, and replay, players and coaches swearing all the time. it's usually silent, but not always. i don't see how that is different than flipping the camera off. i'm a football fan (watching the nfl channel right this second) but they are wrong (as they often are) and should have just let it go. although if i were mia I wouldn't hold my breath for that with goodell at the helm
posted by nadawi at 11:36 AM on September 28, 2013


I think the NFL is the closest thing to an established national church that the United States has got.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:37 AM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Next year, let's get someone wholesome, I hear the kids are into this Azealia Banks girl.
posted by benzenedream at 11:38 AM on September 28, 2013 [18 favorites]


nadawi, yeah: The transcript link points to video of Titans owner Bud Adams flipping the bird.

But really: In the hierarchy of "things that I want in my society", the NFL ranks somewhere around Stalin and Pol Pot, so whatever other alleged transgressions there may be, I'm gonna go with M.I.A. on this one.
posted by straw at 11:38 AM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Fox News Sports =! Fox News
posted by Renoroc at 11:42 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Brocktoon, I hear you - using rape metaphors is a huge pet peeve of mine as well. I decided to include that quote in the post to give an idea of the lawyers' posturing going on in the case, not as an endorsement. I apologize for annoying anyone with that quote.
posted by medusa at 11:43 AM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


All they wanna do is...take her money?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:45 AM on September 28, 2013 [17 favorites]


So if her contract said she couldn't do something offensive--like flashing an obscene gesture and she does it anyway then we're supposed to be symathetic to her?
posted by lester's sock puppet at 11:47 AM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Eh, it's not like MIA is a small artist trying to make it in the world. She's a multi-millionaire, has signed with huge record labels, and probably has a crack team of lawyers herself.

I get her point about exploited cheerleaders, but she should have stood her ground and not taken the NFL's money and performed in the first place then.
posted by FJT at 11:54 AM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, both sides are terrible- I can't decide who I hate more-

The NFL for being vindictive, puritanical, hypocritical and evil, or M.I.A. for making completely valid points and being a musician who makes some really good music, including probably the best catchiest pop song of the last 20 years in "Paper Planes."

Let's just agree they're both equally wrong and close this up?
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:54 AM on September 28, 2013 [58 favorites]


At the same time, they approved her dance choreography, which was arguably more offensive, and certainly more suggestive, than an upraised middle finger. So she at least has a defensible argument that they should have been more specific.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:55 AM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


so now we have to decide whether M.I.A. is more loathsome than the NFL?

Yeah, this is really, really hard.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:56 AM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I do not think it matters one iota how "loathsome" someone personally thinks M.I.A. is. This kind of bullying is what's loathsome, regardless of who it's directed at. I hope she wins this.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:57 AM on September 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


one might wonder why the men on the field are allowed to show obscene gestures and scream curse words, the announcers are allowed to draw attention to it, and the network is allowed to replay it with no fines or hand wringing about decency, but a second of footage by mia is enough for a disco freakout.
posted by nadawi at 11:58 AM on September 28, 2013 [40 favorites]


MIA is so far from punk rock, it hurts. I hope the NFL wins their lawsuit on the basis of that lie, alone.

First album was good, though.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 AM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


one might wonder why the men on the field are allowed to show obscene gestures and scream curse words, the announcers are allowed to draw attention to it, and the network is allowed to replay it with no fines or hand wringing about decency, but a second of footage by mia is enough for a disco freakout.

Ding ding ding ding, we have a winner. The idea that she should have to pay out for this is, at best, arbitrary and capricious. She was behaving well within the boundaries of the NFL's wholesomeness.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:01 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm kinda surprised NFL selected MIA in the first place, given her politics
posted by Bwithh at 12:02 PM on September 28, 2013


I hear the kids are into this Azealia Banks girl.

It be so awesome if she sang this song at the Superbowl
posted by KokuRyu at 12:02 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


The NFL for being vindictive, puritanical, hypocritical and evil, or M.I.A. for making completely valid points and being a musician who makes some really good music, including probably the best catchiest pop song of the last 20 years in "Paper Planes."

The fact that someone makes good music is a pretty poor legal defense.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:05 PM on September 28, 2013


To take a slightly different tack, fuck mandatory arbitration clauses. She should have the right to wage this fight In a public court.
posted by GuyZero at 12:06 PM on September 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


didn't she abuse a housekeeper or nanny something?

So, did something like that happen? Google didn't give me anything and I'm wondering why some people find her loathsome, unless it's just a strong dislike of her music. (I'm not a huge fan, although there are some awesome remixes of her songs out there).
posted by mannequito at 12:06 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Next year, let's get someone wholesome, I hear the kids are into this Azealia Banks girl.

It should be 1D and older male football fans should be forced to engage with wildly excited hordes of teen girls such that they reach the inevitable conclusion that fan behavior is fairly uniform in its ridiculousness no matter what your age or gender is.
posted by elizardbits at 12:06 PM on September 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


I didn't know people hated MIA so much. I don't really like her music I guess, but where does the hate come from?
posted by Think_Long at 12:10 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The contract issue aside - it's giving me a giggle how adept MIA can be at trolling people. This is one of those situation where a bunch of stuff i'm ambivalent about can combine in such a way as to entertain the crap out of me.
posted by Fuka at 12:11 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm kinda surprised NFL selected MIA in the first place, given her politics

i think it's important to note that madonna was the superbowl act and nicki minaj and mia were her guests. the nfl obviously signed off, but i get the sense that madonna vouched for them. madonna's reaction to the incident is hypocritically hilarious, calling it a negative teenage irrelevant stunt. it's like madonna doesn't even remember her own career.
posted by nadawi at 12:13 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


It would have been more punk rock if M.I.A. had performed Reality is Killing Me.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:14 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I knew Madonna/Nicki/MIA was a mistake. The NFL ought to stick to toothless old-white-people-approved acts like Andy Williams, Up With People and Kid Rock.
posted by box at 12:22 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


beyonce just got an emmy for her performance last season - but she's always worked incredibly clean.
posted by nadawi at 12:25 PM on September 28, 2013


where does the hate come from?

I don't know about hate, but she packages her image in a manner incongruent with her actions and situation. For instance, talking seriously about being an outsider while nibbling on yummy truffle-flavored French fries makes her look a bit ridiculous. Likewise, doing an NFL halftime show and calling herself punk because she flipped the bird (oh noes!) is a bit silly, too.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:27 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I didn't know people hated MIA so much. I don't really like her music I guess, but where does the hate come from?

Well, there was that profile, which she called a hatchet job and -if I recall right- showed her as having some sour grapes about Lady Gaga winning the pop star thing. And the Born Free music video which depicted a "ginger genocide".
posted by Going To Maine at 12:28 PM on September 28, 2013


I didn't know people hated MIA so much. I don't really like her music I guess, but where does the hate come from?

It's the Metafilter hipster brigade having a hissy fit over her applying the term "punk rock" to herself, completely disregarding the massive disproportionality of filing a $1.5 million lawsuit over somebody flipping the bird.
posted by jonp72 at 12:37 PM on September 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


yeah, that profile was a hatchet job - the reporter ordered the fries, picked the location for the interview, and rearranged/flat out invented things that mia said. it honestly makes me question the entire thing with what was provably false.
posted by nadawi at 12:41 PM on September 28, 2013 [19 favorites]


but i do agree that the article (or [false] details from it) are what a lot of people think about and a big reason for the disdain. a lot of people were super eager to hang on to the fact that she was eating fancy fries while talking about war. it plays into the biases that people already have about rockstars - and that kind of (often untruthful) smear is a time honored way to discredit (especially black, especially women) people who don't toe the line.
posted by nadawi at 12:49 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Straw; "NFL ranks somewhere around Stalin and Pol Pot"--this is the kind of hyperbole that serves no useful purpose unless you wanted to minimizing the loss of millions of lives. If she broke a contract she pays, if she did not the NFL is simply hypocritical. I imagine there are several back stories. Both parties are grown ups. That is why we have courts
posted by rmhsinc at 12:53 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even if MIA had ordered the infamous truffle fries, which she didn't, it would still be a thoroughly meaningless complaint. It's not even hypocritical - it's not like she stole the truffle fries from a poor person. It's just an irrelevant and distracting detail.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:53 PM on September 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


"How dare she call herself punk rock! That's an insult to punk. May the sports corporation win!"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:54 PM on September 28, 2013 [47 favorites]


When M.I.A. first became well known, there was also some talk, of a variety that seems to be especially common with female musicians, about how Diplo was the real creative genius or the Svengali or whatever.

(Nobody's dissing truffle fries, right? Because, shit, truffle fries are delicious.)
posted by box at 12:55 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like people really wanted to start to hate MIA after Paper Planes got so much play but then Bad Girls came out (and accompanying video) and it's so ridiculously awesome and badass that they begrudgingly realized that the inevitable "everyone turn on MIA" party would have to be rainchecked for a solid 10-12 months and now here's their chance.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:57 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Everyone involved gives me a headache.

This.

And after glancing through TFA, I believe I will close it up and waste no more time on any of this crap.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:57 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Even if she did buy them, how on earth would nibbling on truffle-fries somehow call into question your outsider status? Are truffles forbidden to the avant-garde, the proles, and the punks?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


PS the original MIA "Galang" MeFi thread is HILARIOUS and I like to read it whenever MeFi decides to collectively pass judgement on some new artist. Bunch of malfunctioning crystal balls in that thread.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:01 PM on September 28, 2013 [18 favorites]




Truffle fries are a hegemonic signifier. MIAs détournement of such a signifier is an assault on the ruling-class weltanschauung and is thus punk rock.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:14 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


"How dare she call herself punk rock! That's an insult to punk. May the sports corporation win!"

Nobody said that. MIA calling herself or anything she does "punk rock" is obviously very ridiculous, but just as obviously the NFL is in the wrong here and doing evil (surprising nobody). You can think MIA is shitty and still think she's in the right here.
posted by IAmUnaware at 1:16 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nobody said that.

Yup.

just as obviously the NFL is in the wrong here and doing evil (surprising nobody). You can think MIA is shitty and still think she's in the right here.

I'd go even further to say that whether or not we find an artist or her work shitty is abso-freakin-lutely irrelevant to this case.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:20 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


In fairness, she also got olive fries.

Oh, screw that. MIA is awesome and I don't know what is wrong with people.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:23 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


(By the way, performing at the Superbowl Half-Time Show means that any claims to being "punk rock" are automatically forfeit, BECAUSE IT'S THE SUPERBOWL HALF-TIME SHOW, for god's sake.)

To be fair, the H.M.S. Punk Rock Is Counterculture sailed back in the 90s when Greenday launched it from the berth of Port MTV.
posted by clarknova at 1:23 PM on September 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


MIA is punk. I don't even know how people can say otherwise.
posted by zoo at 1:23 PM on September 28, 2013


Like NFL, I flip the bird well...
posted by R. Schlock at 1:24 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


She and Diplo are great musicians. I paid hard-earned money to see them perform in Philadelphia back in 2005.

It is just that it is perhaps not a question of who ordered which delicious dish, but rather a matter of discussing privilege that wealthy people (including men and women alike) enjoy to discuss horrible subjects in an abstracted fashion within the comforts of a five-star hotel located thousands of miles from war zones in all directions.(*)

It is perhaps the lack of self-awareness or honesty about the extent to which the artist has assimilated herself into the machine she claims to be fighting that makes some people decide to roll their eyes in the backs of their eye sockets.

There is an interesting piece on the AV Club about David Bowie and how irony and inflection and self-critique perhaps saved his career, or at least kept his work in the 1980s relatively fresh (if not as great as the Berlin Trilogy zenith). He embraced his identity and made art from it, good or bad. I question if MIA as pop artist is capable of that or whether fans are willing to push her to grow as an artist.

(*: Or, say, five-star user Internet user forums.)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:24 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The idiot MIA and the stupid NFL cancel each other out. Next!
posted by Vibrissae at 1:24 PM on September 28, 2013


At least she didn't show her nipple, because we'd all be roasting in hell now were that the case.
posted by fungible at 1:24 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


As is Nicki Minaj. Punk Rock the pair of them I say.
posted by zoo at 1:26 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


yeah, that profile was a hatchet job - the reporter ordered the fries, picked the location for the interview, and rearranged/flat out invented things that mia said

Oh, screw that. MIA is awesome and I don't know what is wrong with people.

The Times copped to rearranging the order of quotes; no one has 'fessed up to making up content. The truffle fries & wine, while paid for by the reporter, were ordered by her, so if you wish to pass/withhold judgment on her for that you should factor that in. If by "truffle-flavored" they mean "cooked in truffle oil", well, the last time I got those it was in a burger shack at the back of a liquor store, so I'm not sure that they really qualify as a mark of the elite. Besides, it seems Gordon Ramsay thinks that stuff is garbage.

In fairness, the article isn't spun from whole cloth; it certainly isn't false that MIA has married the son of one of the CEOs of Warner Music. This isn't to say that her thoughts and objections shouldn't be considered her own or somehow compromised, but in moving from the sphere of the powerless to the powerful she has certainly opened up a window for that kind of accusation.

Frankly, I think that part of the reason people dislike MIA is because she deliberately courts controversy. As she said in the article (though apparently out-of-order), she'd like to be an artist saying "Give War A Chance!" That's not a sentiment you'll get from Lady Gaga, who sticks to things like sexual liberation, which is pretty easy ground. You don't make a song like Paper Planes or 10 Dollar without expecting folks to get cheesed off, and you also don't deliberately flip the bird at the camera of a half-time show when they had that whole mess of trouble over the nip-slip in 2004. That is, some people might, but I think MIA is quite a savvy performer and not likely to make that mistake. In fighting this whole NFL mess MIA has taken a very direct, "the NFL is actually an evil organization" stance. I'm not positive about what particular softer line she could have taken, but I think it's conceivable that the lawyers could have pushed for one.

It seems like MIA is very much in the right here, but I think the idea that people might dislike MIA because her "punk rock" cred can be read as rather dubious and because she wants to provoke makes perfect sense.

I question if MIA as pop artist is capable of that or whether fans are willing to push her to grow as an artist.

I *think* MIA would argue that she doesn't need to be detached from her persona because there's still a lot of trouble in the world that she wants people to be aware of. David Bowie has always been more about craft than passion, but MIA is all about keeping her opinions right on the surface.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:27 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


My only complaint about MIA is that I think she's capable of a much more interesting, more offensive and more meaningful act of social protest than just flipping the bird. That is the protest equivalent of writing "bottom" on your desk in first grade. As minor an act as it was, it makes the NFL look absolutely ludicrous for suing her. She flips the bird and they ignore it, and she looks like a person with potty mouth (potty finger?). A portion of soccer parents freak out, the FCC gets involved, the NFL sues and suddenly a silly and pointless minor obscenity gets transformed into something much larger.

Perhaps that was MIA's cunning plan all along or perhaps she's just really, really smart about reacting to media shitstorms, but this seems like a tempest in a bedpan. Once groups of people start reacting with outrage to something stupid, you can really see how the collective intelligence of a group is significantly smaller than any individual involved.

Anyhow, in so much as she's playing this situation like theremin, Team MIA.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:28 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


She gave like a billion people the finger on live tv, how is that not punk rock. I don't know what people want nowadays.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:28 PM on September 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


She could burn all her cash, KLF-style.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:35 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Welp, today I learned that some people dislike MIA for reasons that are utterly pointless irrelevant bullshit. Thanks, internet!

(See also Lady Gaga, Amanda Palmer, Anne Hathaway, and probably close to every other successful female celebrity.)
posted by kyrademon at 1:36 PM on September 28, 2013 [30 favorites]


The truffle fries & wine, while paid for by the reporter, were ordered by her,

nope.
the enthusiasm for truffle fries is all coming from the interviewer. "They have like truffle, they have like three different kinds, it's very elaborate," Hirschberg's voice says. To that, a blase-sounding M.I.A. replies "I'm just going to have some starter, yeah."

"Get whatever you like, 'cause the New York Times is—it's paying," Hirschberg's voice says.

Then, after one more pitch for the flavored fries, including truffle, Hirschberg apparently addresses the waiter: "Can we order the french fries that come on the bar menu, the basket?"
posted by nadawi at 1:38 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


probably close to every other successful female celebrity

totes. female celebrity is an oxymoron, yo.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:38 PM on September 28, 2013


If she really did sign a contract saying she wouldn't do anything offensive, it sounds like she doesn't have a dick to stand on.
posted by The Tensor at 1:39 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


all the coaches, players, and announcers sign similar contracts. the harbaughs and ryans would all be in the poorhouse if they were charged 1.5 mil for every fuck and bullshit they screamed.
posted by nadawi at 1:43 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jim Schwartz's entire face/attitude basically violates the obscenity clause.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:47 PM on September 28, 2013


where does the hate come from?

I was fiddling with a comment along the lines of "From her being a woman", and wondering whether I was being unfair to simply put the hate down to simple, lumpen, pathetic misogyny. Then I looked at this.

the original MIA "Galang" MeFi thread is HILARIOUS

And realised, as I read the disgusting "hottie" comments and the idiotic drivelling about "her producers hiring a drum-machine programmer" that no, I'm not being unfair. The hate comes from her being a woman.
posted by howfar at 1:49 PM on September 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


Oho! Some clarity. Don't factor truffle fries into your judgments, it seems, though you may still scorn her for her choice of olive bread.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:49 PM on September 28, 2013


howfar - yeah, i just read that thread too and my oh my am i glad things have moved forward here - the sheer number of "cute girl" comments is gross.
posted by nadawi at 1:50 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


i don't get it - fans have been flipping off the lions for decades and the nfl hasn't sued them
posted by pyramid termite at 1:52 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


People who care about things being punk rock are extremely in-punk rock.
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


A portion of soccer parents freak out, the FCC gets involved, the NFL sues and suddenly a silly and pointless minor obscenity gets transformed into something much larger.

If you read the articles, you'll find that the FCC and NBC decided this wasn't obscenity and dropped it. This is about the NFL going after M.I.A. out of the goodness of their hearts.
posted by medusa at 2:05 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


you can think of a legal contract as a sort of chain (of obligations) which binds two entities together. if you chain yourself to another person you have to cooperate in order to accomplish anything. If you chain yourself to a horse, or a gorilla, or an elephant then you are going to get dragged to hell.

which is the problem with sanctifying contract law i.e. being a libertarian. making a contract with a corporation run by a bunch of billionaires who specialize in extorting money from city governments is like chaining yourself to a freight train.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:07 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


You all won't be laughing in 10 years when the five-year-olds exposed to the middle-finger during that half-time show go off the tracks and start causing mayhem, doing crimes and generally being slightly disobedient. A middle finger in the middle of a violent (and maximally profitable) bro-fest without question burned out our carefully constructed societal fail-safes!*

* The little assholes may even vote against public funding of the next stadium!
posted by maxwelton at 2:07 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


She should have shot someone, that would be okay.
posted by Artw at 2:10 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Per this Business Insider link, MIA was not paid for her performance, by the way. Or paid only in "exposure" which I hear is considered the same as money for artists now.
posted by emjaybee at 2:11 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


my oh my am i glad things have moved forward here

Oh definitely, we have progressed, and changing the expected standard of discourse is a big part of that. But while we really are getting better, I am still struck by the undertones of misogyny in (pretty much) any discussion of (pretty much) any woman who says or does (pretty much) anything. I'm not just talking about other people here; if I'm to be honest, I have to indict myself too.

Sometimes, when I'm in need of a humbling kick up the arse about my complacent assumption of my own freedom from misogyny, transphobia and racism (among other things), I look back at my own contributions to Metafilter discussions of topics that involve these issues. Some of the idiotic assumptions I've made and positions I have unthinkingly adopted suggest that, while I may now be a bit less of a privileged dick than I used to be, I probably still act like a privileged dick far more than would be acceptable in any civilised society.

So yes, we have progressed, but we've got a long fucking way to go.
posted by howfar at 2:12 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


She should buy a sports team with her royalties, use the sport's militaristic rituals to help run her team into the ground, then declare bankruptcy and leave the country with her head held high, to start her artistic career anew, rising from the ashes like a phoenix reborn. That would be punk as fuck.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:16 PM on September 28, 2013


Punk as fuck.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


The standards of public behavior for female (and teen) pop stars are so stifling that I'm surprised MIA's worst on-record offense is flipping the bird on a sports program. Lots of people would have rebelled in much more dramatic ways. Anyway, I don't get what the NFL is trying to accomplish with this lawsuit. Of course someone like MIA is going to contest the (absurd) claim that her small off-script action caused 1.5 million in damages. Because that's an absurd claim. Are the guys in charge of this lawsuit just vindictive, or something?
posted by subdee at 2:33 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised she is saying she flipped the finger because of the underage girls in the background writhing with their legs open. I wonder if that is really the truth, and if so I salute her. But the lyric she sang when she flipped the bird was "ima say this once, yeah, I don't give a shi--. [finger gesture]". So the finger just seemed to fit right in there with the lyric, as a sort of one-two punch kiss off to the guy she is dissing in the song. To me the gesture and lyric don't really jibe with an intent to flip off sexism, because if you were trying to to give the patriarchy the old what for you would in fact be giving a great many shits, too many shits to count really.

And for what it's worth I think it's hilarious that the NFL is going apoplectic over the middle finger when the song itself is full of "shit" and hypersexualized imagery which they have absolutely no problem with.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:34 PM on September 28, 2013


The fact that people are still referencing Lynn Hirschberg's incredibly racist hit piece says a lot about the state of MF.
posted by Redgrendel2001 at 2:34 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Punk as fuck.

Artw, I think punk has been sold out from the getgo, and that link still made me want to cry.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:36 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Punk as fuck.

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- Vintage Finds are handpicked vintage pieces from allover the map
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- Each piece is unique - we only have one available and it can only be purchased by a single customer


I find it odd a large chain is selling what amounts to thrift shop finds online. If it really is true that is.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:42 PM on September 28, 2013


From the LA Times article linked in the Business Insider article:

[A] member of M.I.A.'s camp, speaking Sunday night from the Super Bowl host city of Indianapolis, said M.I.A. was struck with "a case of adrenaline."

"She wasn't thinking," said the source, who requested anonymity but was with the artist at Lucas Oil Stadium. "It wasn't any kind of statement. She was caught in the moment and she's incredibly sorry."


Hardly conclusive of anything, but an interesting wrinkle.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:42 PM on September 28, 2013


I assume there's some sweatshop somewhere with child workers hand tippexing the jackets and adding the shaky biro band labels.
posted by Artw at 2:44 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Apologizing in this day and age could perhaps be considered punk as fuck. We don't see too much of that, these days.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:44 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


[A] member of M.I.A.'s camp

those sorts of anonymous statements about celebrities are often bullshit. that could have been her hairdresser, an intern provided to her by the nfl, a disgruntled fan, or just straight made up. it doesn't match anything she or her official reps have said about it.
posted by nadawi at 2:47 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't see the performance, but from the "video response", I think I don't understand:

She and Madonna hired these "underage black girls" to dance provocatively in cheerleader costumes? Then when these people that she and Madonna hired to dance provocatively in cheerleader cosumes actually did dance provocatively in cheerleader costumes, she decided that the NFL was using her to promote sexual exploitation of females? So she decided to give the camera the finger?
posted by Flunkie at 2:48 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think she is claiming that her action was a protest against anything (at least not from the transcript). She's just saying that what she did shouldn't be considered any worse than having a bunch of girls dancing provocatively in cheerleader outfits. Since that was just fine, her flipping the bird should just be fine.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:50 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Madonna and/or her choreographers would have been responsible for the design, planning, etc. that resulted in those dancers.
posted by Redgrendel2001 at 2:51 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The standards of public behavior for female (and teen) pop stars are so stifling

See also: Aya Hirano. I've been meaning to put together an FPP on her for a while now, but the executive summary is this multi-talented young woman has had scorn and ridicule heaped upon her by her own (now presumably former) fans for the unspeakable crime of having a sex drive (specifically, photos of her kissing a guy were leaked, followed by some baseless rumors about her sex life). And this isn't solely from her fans in Japan, either, where female pop stars are already under a crushingly sexist standard; even former fans of Aya in the west have been quick to get seriously ugly about her.

Whether it's Aya, or Miley, or M.I.A., female performers are being constantly moralized at for being too sexual, too provocative, or just plain too unruly. It's gotten real tiresome. In short, the NFL going out of its way to take action against her, for this long, even after both the FCC and NBC shrugged this off, is just another facet of the problem.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:52 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


mia didn't hire anyone on that stage. that's madonna's show
posted by nadawi at 2:52 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


the original MIA "Galang" MeFi thread is HILARIOUS
That thread was how I first heard of MIA (I think I was a lurker at the time). I bought her album soon thereafter.
posted by Flunkie at 2:53 PM on September 28, 2013


I like MIA. She's from the exotic land of Lahndan.
posted by Artw at 2:54 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think she is claiming that her action was a protest against anything (at least not from the transcript). She's just saying that what she did shouldn't be considered any worse than having a bunch of girls dancing provocatively in cheerleader outfits. Since that was just fine, her flipping the bird should just be fine.
OK, that makes more sense. It still seems strange, though, that she's ragging on the NFL for being OK with sexual exploitation when she was one of the main exploiters.
posted by Flunkie at 2:56 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised Fox News Sports* is allowed to criticize/ridicule the NFL considering its sister network FOX is paying the NFL over a BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR to air football games. That dwarfs the accumulated sky-high pay of Fox News' top bloviators and the NFL is one of the few things (if not the ONLY thing) in the parent company's portfolio more profitable than Fox News. The top brass probably didn't notice it, but if they're monitoring MetaFilter (opposition research, obviously), that piece will get deleted, as well as one or two sports 'writers'.

*and this is an unsigned 'news' article representing the channel's official editorial opinion, not an individual writer's op-ed
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:58 PM on September 28, 2013


(then again, the super Bowl was on NBC that year, not FOX, so maybe they can lean back and do a Nelson Muntz "Ha-ha"...)
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:01 PM on September 28, 2013


NFL wages gives secret legal war a chance.
posted by perhapsolutely at 3:19 PM on September 28, 2013


Whatever else you think of M.I.A. (I figure she's great despite being not so talented) you have to admire her depiction of the NFL and its case quoted as the title of this post.
posted by ecourbanist at 3:20 PM on September 28, 2013


Per this Business Insider link, MIA was not paid for her performance, by the way.

well now. that changes my perspective a bit. i pretty much think the nfl is full of shit now.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 3:23 PM on September 28, 2013


well now. that changes my perspective a bit. i pretty much think the nfl is full of shit now.

The average price for an advertising spot at the 2012 super bowl was $3,500,000. Saying that MIA had to be paid in cash dramatically overlooks how much the performance time is worth. Heck, just think how much press MIA is still getting from the Super Bowl, and her with a new album coming out on November 5.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:29 PM on September 28, 2013


NFL gives secret legal war a chance.

Referring to the whole thing as a secret war is a bit headline-grabby. It's been "secret" in that no one has, MIA included, has wanted to make any big public statements about it until now. From the article in the FPP:

King [MIA's lawyer] adds that she had hoped to settle the case privately once it became clear that neither NBC nor the FCC were ever going to make a stink over what the NFL says in legal papers was an "offensive gesture … in flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl."
posted by Going To Maine at 3:31 PM on September 28, 2013


so how many artist actually paid to perform in the superbowl halftime show?
posted by lester's sock puppet at 3:34 PM on September 28, 2013


While I don't know specifics, quoting the article:

The NFL generally considers the insane exposure from performing during the most-watched event in the U.S. to be payment enough.

So it sounds like not being paid is the norm.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:36 PM on September 28, 2013


looks like pretty much no one gets paid:
posted by lester's sock puppet at 3:41 PM on September 28, 2013


so when i saw her do this during the halftime show this year i pretty much felt she was doing it as a big 'fuck you' to america. now that this has all come out i pretty much go back to my original position ... no real love lost for either side here.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 3:45 PM on September 28, 2013


looks like pretty much no one gets paid

Except Zack O'Malley Greenburg who gets to crank out the same Forbes blog post every year: posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:53 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ah yes! The other part about the New York Times story, which I had forgotten, was that MIA tweeted the reporter's cell phone number. Again, not germane to the issue of the NFL being mad that she flipped the bird, but helpful in understanding why people don't like her.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:54 PM on September 28, 2013


this year beyonce did the super bowl show. the destiny's child women shot out of the stage.

from the no one gets paid link - . They don’t have to pay for backup dancers, pyrotechnics, load-in, load-out, etc

uh, why not? unless the article is suggesting that the backup dancers and the artist's crew who make very little money also work for free so it's a bonus that the star doesn't have to pay their staff?
posted by nadawi at 3:55 PM on September 28, 2013


oh wait - i just saw the cover all expenses sentence in the beyonce link - but i do wonder if it really is all expenses or just the ones they deem necessary.
posted by nadawi at 3:56 PM on September 28, 2013


First the Fat Boys break up, and now this.
posted by 4ster at 4:00 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wait, the Fat Boys did what?! I may have to rethink my life...
posted by fishmasta at 4:04 PM on September 28, 2013


TBH I don't know why we are talking about this with the Kanye/Kimmel beef still ongoing.

Kanye made memes.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:04 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem - i nearly memailed you yesterday to say that i didn't want to suffer through another metafilter doesn't understand rap music thread but that i really wanted to read your spirited takedowns of the assured stupidity that would flood in - and so i felt at an impasse about whether i should make that post or not. i decided not i guess.
posted by nadawi at 4:27 PM on September 28, 2013


also, did kanye make memes or did he repost memes. surely those are things his followers sent in, right? i mean, i love the story so much more if had made them, but i can't allow myself to believe something so beautiful.
posted by nadawi at 4:28 PM on September 28, 2013


Here's an updated link to the M.I.A.-Diplo mixtape Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol 1. Free, given away as a promo before the release of M.I.A.'s official debut album. Totally worth downloading if you're a fan and you've never heard it before.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:50 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


So I read this on her wikipedia page:
Sometimes I repeat my story again and again because it’s interesting to see how many times it gets edited, and how much the right to tell your story doesn’t exist. People reckon that I need a political degree in order to go, ‘My school got bombed and I remember it cos I was ten-years-old’. I think if there is an issue of people who, having had first hand experiences, are not being able to recount that – because there is laws or government restrictions or censorship or the removal of an individual story in a political situation – then that’s what I’ll keep saying and sticking up for, cos I think that’s the most dangerous thing. I think removing individual voices and not letting people just go ‘This happened to me’ is really dangerous. That’s what was happening... nobody handed them the microphone to say ‘This is happening and I don’t like it'.
And thought, fuck yeah. Let's not take shady second-hand accounts of what happened here as gospel, and let's not ignore what she has to say.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:23 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I like most of MIA's stuff, don't really consider her punk in life style, but that doesn't preclude doing thing that are punk. I'd think 'punk' is not a dichotomy yes/no, but in individual acts. Flipping off that many people, yeah kinda punk, even if the rest of her career turned tedious, that one act was not. Hell if Cyrus said 'fuck all you' and came back and twerked even harder and awfuller that too would be kinda punk... No matter how much her music sucks.

Lotta fantastic punk women, reducing it to a Palmer/MIA is too limiting
posted by edgeways at 6:23 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


some people dislike MIA for reasons that are utterly pointless irrelevant bullshit. Thanks, internet!

(See also Lady Gaga, Amanda Palmer, Anne Hathaway, and probably close to every other successful female celebrity.)
and now this song is stuck in my head for no reason, WTF
posted by pxe2000 at 7:29 PM on September 28, 2013


MIA is kick ass. Do people even have ears and listen to music on this site? And how are people griping about MIA when the NFL is the obvious turbo dick in this situation.
posted by chunking express at 8:50 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have a t-shirt that reads 'I'm Too Punk Rock For This'.

I think MIA can be a bit muddled, but you'd pretty much have to be at Ted Nugent levels of awful before I'd start siding with the NFL. That I'd wager her raised middle finger was as planned as Janet Jackson's exposed nipple guard does nothing to change that.

All celebrities, male and female, are exposed to hatred based on half-remembered reportage and misremembered information, but it's true that female celebrities often get a much more vituperative hatred based on very little. Though interestingly that kind of 'I just don't like her!' response is one I see more often from women than men. But wishing bad things on an artist simply because their output does nothing for you? Delightfully gender-neutral.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:19 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, is Matangi any good? Anyone got leaks yet? Maya was kinda boring, and I wasn't wild about anything on Arular past Galang. But Kala was killer with almost no filler.
posted by klangklangston at 10:39 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It should be 1D and older male football fans should be forced to engage with wildly excited hordes of teen girls such that they reach the inevitable conclusion that fan behavior is fairly uniform in its ridiculousness no matter what your age or gender is.

Excuse me, I just have to go and buy a hundred sock puppets so that I can favourite this as many times as it deserves.
posted by jokeefe at 11:48 PM on September 28, 2013


The NFL generally considers the insane exposure from performing during the most-watched event in the U.S. to be payment enough.

So they're suing her for using her payment in a way they don't like? Seems to me, if you explicitly offer someone a platform for exposure, on a moral level, you need to understand that they may use it in a manner that reflects the aspects of themselves that they wish to expose. The fact that the NFL can't imagine anyone wishing to expose any message apart from "give me money" is a problem with it, not M.I.A.

Moral arguments are not legal arguments, of course, but this is a suit being pursued for publicity and pride, and so its moral character is actually the most significant thing about it.
posted by howfar at 3:50 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


...and the NFL is a non-profit ?!?
another component of Amerika's bankrupt culture reveals itself for what it is...a bullshit, money-grubbing organization
posted by GreyFoxVT at 6:13 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey guys, there is a petition on change.org to get GWAR to play the 2015 halftime show and it only needs about 7,000 more signatures. Let's be the change we want to see in the world. Help make this happen. Let's show the world that MIA's middle finger and Janet Jackson's weird nipple-jewelry are small potatoes compared to Oderus Urungus's Cuttlefish of Cthulhu. SIGN UP FOLKS, AND LET'S MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE!
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:51 AM on September 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


I just want to see Beefcake the Mighty spew artificial semen all over the 50-yard line. Is that too much to ask?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:54 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


If flipping the bird is worth a 1.5 Million penalty how come the NFL is only paying players with workplace injured brains less than 150K each (and that sum includes medical coverage)?
posted by srboisvert at 10:23 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm with the leauge on this. If you're gonna sell out to the NFL to have an ad for your records, you can't expect this to be consequenceless. This is literally the biggest audience of the year.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:12 AM on September 29, 2013


Regardless of consistency, proportion, or the FCC and NBC not giving a shit either way?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:18 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"If you're gonna sell out to the NFL to have an ad for your records, you can't expect this to be consequenceless."

Part of Madonna and the NFL getting a patina of coolness comes with hiring someone who is going to push the envelope. It's silly to think of the NFL as a guileless naif in this, which is the only way that they could be mad at MIA for doing something like this. Selling out goes both ways.
posted by klangklangston at 1:32 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just as with the Janet Jackson nipple bit: gotta love this tempest-in-a-teapot shit. Keeps us proles distracted innit.
posted by Twang at 1:47 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I <3 M.I.A. Fuck the NFL.
posted by mike3k at 5:40 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]




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