Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Cheers Lorde

Lorde canning her Tel Aviv gig is a superb capstone to a year in which women finally got some cut-through in exposing sexual predators, and a brilliant young woman became our Prime Minister against massive odds. What a wonderful Christmas present.

Earlier, Lorde had appreciated reading this piece by two women, both New Zealanders, one Jewish and one Palestinian, in helping educate her. So yeah, it's smart and brave women all the way down here in Aotearoa.

The backlash started immediately, making plenty of noise but very little sense. Keep politics out of music is a desperately weak reed to cling to, ignoring everything from social commentary in Royals through to in-your-face protest songs.

Hypocrisy is the main charge though, as featured on on Page 1 of the anti-boycott playbook. David Farrar was particularly quick out of the blocks calling Lorde a hypocrite but it wasn't long before he was joined on this ridiculous platform by Israeli officials. The line seems to be that if you don't play in Israel you can't play in Russia either.

I'm not buying it. We all do what we can, right? If I see some guy hassling people on the street, my natural instinct is to intervene and make him stop. That's ok for me because I'm a big guy & not worried about physical interaction. Others might call the police, or try to persuade people who look more like me to have a go, or maybe just silently pray. We all do what we can in the moment.

In this situation, the hypocrisy-vendor does nothing but accuse others of moral failure: "oh, well, if you're going to intervene here, why aren't you also confronting violent gangs, joining the police force, or agitating for more spending on mental health". In his eyes, doing what you can in the moment, which is one good thing, is the worst of all sins.

Boycotts work if their target cares enough. Rugby boycotts of South Africa worked because those white people really loved rugby. A boycott of international tiddly winks or flower arranging wouldn't have had the same effect. So the impact of Lorde's decision should be measured by the rapid response from senior Israeli government officials: it's a home run.

There may well be a personal cost: the Israelis will be doing their best on this front. But nothing worthwhile is costless.

Thank you Lorde and kia kaha

1 comment:

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