This quote from a recent Time Out London interview is getting a lot of internet mileage:
…Oprah seemed really pissed off with me. Also she made this huge speech at the ball praising Lady Gaga and about how she [Lady Gaga] is helping Americans to be the best of themselves. There’s millions of other Americans who represent that for me. Is [it] about numbers? About how much you’re selling? Is it truly about the journey? Because [Lady Gaga’s] journey isn’t that difficult: to go from the fucking Upper East Side to a fucking performing arts school and on to a stage at the museum of fucking wherever. That journey’s about four miles.’
Most of the internet thinks this is notable because
1. M.I.A. supposedly dissed Oprah
2. Gaga/M.I.A catfight continues!
3. More evidence that M.I.A. is OOC and needs “a time out”
This is a predictable shame. There was other way more interesting stuff in that interview. Like:
‘I thought my [New York Times Magazine] cover was gonna be a part of… America’s campaign to soften the “them” and “us” thing. That’s what I thought I was being used as a tool for. That’s what I’m fucked off about: it felt like they were embracing the other and stabbing the other in the back at the same time.’
I read another interesting piece about M.I.A. last week, in Rolling Stone. It contains this quote:
My approach to politics is that I never said I’m smart, but why aren’t I allowed to write about my experience?…Why can’t I say, ‘Oh. my God, my school got shot by the government?’ I can’t say that, yet they can do it.
The piece then briefly recounts an incident from when M.I.A. was about eight years old, shortly before her family fled Sri Lanka for London, in which government troops surrounded and shot up her school, while class was in session.
Let’s backtrack to the quote people are talking about.
1. M.I.A. didn’t take a shot at Oprah. She was obviously displeased at Oprah’s Gaga-boosting, but she hardly insulted the titan herself. M.I.A.’s commentary regarding Oprah herself may have been gossipy, TMI, characteristically unfiltered, and unwise, but the whole “Ooooh, she went after Oprah!” meme is a little too shades of middle school.
2. The catfight meme is predictable and depressing. Additionally, I don’t think Gaga’s notably privileged upbringing voids her artistry, if you think there’s anything otherwise worth admiring there. That said, M.I.A. has a point.
I think US media and the internet mob are largely incapable of actually listening to what this woman is saying.
And I still don’t understand why the truffle fries fiasco was even a thing. Even if she had ordered them herself rather than having them foisted on her by Lynn Hirschberg in an attempt to set up the singer as “hypocritical”, who the fuck cares? Let the woman eat a fancy french fry. Why is this a “contradiction”? One can criticize economic stratification and still enjoy gourmet food. Bono doesn’t get this kind of shit when he jets around wanking about third world debt relief in Armani.