And today's step-away-from-the-politics award goes to Joseph Curl:
Now, half-white Barack Obama (exactly my age) didn't say a word, even though he was talking to college kids that day, but make no mistake, MCA was no Jay-Z or Kanye West. This guy was the real deal, groundbreaker, up from his bootstraps, Brooklyn boy made good. Funny the "coolest president ever" doesn't say a word about the passing of MCA. Weird and kinda sad, actually. [...]
The president took time from his busy schedule to comment on the passing of black musicians. When Whitney Houston, a longtime crack addict, died this year, the White House put out a statement. "I know that [Mr. Obama's] thoughts and prayers are with her family, especially her daughter," press secretary Jay Carney said. "It's a tragedy to lose somebody so talented at such a young age."
And when accused pedophile and drug addict Michael Jackson died in 2009, the White House weighed in with the president's thoughts. "He said to me that obviously, Michael Jackson was a spectacular performer, a music icon," spokesman Roberet Gibbs said. "And his condolences went out to the Jackson family and to fans that mourned his loss."
Mr. Obama is said to have 2,000 songs on his iPod, but he's never mentioned the Beastie Boys. Too bad. He could learn so much from them. Still can.
JUST STOP IT.
Seriously, as both a fan of the Beasties and a non-fan of Obama, what I really want more than anything is to keep those topics separate, because they have nothing to do with one another, on account of politics being a tawdry zero-sum game and music being totally awesome. I'm not sure what's the sicker impulse here, to seek artistic validation from the White House, to politicize each and every last good goddamned thing about life, or to make this somehow all about race.
Even if you take the argument seriously, it's crap. Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were black, yes, but they also sold scores of millions of records each, which is the likely more relevant detail in this comparison. And there's nothing about MCA's terrificness that requires trash-talking the seriously talented and accomplished Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Read Gene Healy on "The Cult of the Presidency," and Nick Gillespie on "The Politicization of Everything." If you must, Talking Points Memo has a round-up of politician tributes to MCA. I liked the quick eulogy/remembrance by The New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones. LewRockwell.com is linking to some writing about and video of Yauch's anti-interventionism. And here's Tipper Gore and Oprah Winfrey panicking about the Beastie menace in 1986 (with Jello Biafra testifying for the defense):
And let's not give politicizers the last word: