More FREE fun for the People– in Berkeley

Em em eye eye ay ay.PNG

Via my Auntie Valsa’s kid, Jasmin, over at ASATA, news of an upcoming free M.I.A. show at Amoeba Records in Berkeley, this Saturday at 2pm.

I “hella” thought those of you in the yay area who have reconciled your inner turmoil regarding her connection with/representation of/grahpic allusions to the LTTE might want to know. Me? I’m still conflicted, so I’ll keep humming

Let you be superior
I’m flithy with the fury ya

…it’s easy being morally inferior when there’s such a sick soundtrack to feel shame to. I keed, I keed.

61 thoughts on “More FREE fun for the People– in Berkeley

  1. Well, that’s a convenient way of characterizing those portions of her lyrics that don’t sit well with your claims. You decide, based on your ideology, what is integral to her ideas and what is simply an means of “muddying the waters.” Yes, there is Tiger imagery in her artwork, and I suppose in a couple of her videos, but I fail to see any explicit LTTE imagery in the songs themselves. The quote “terrorism is just a method” is hardly the ringing endorsement of the LTTE that you make it out to be. (Of course terrorism is just a method! What else is it?)

    LeftyProf: The tiger is not some Tamil totem (it does have some significance as the symbol of the Chola dynasty, but that’s a stretch), it is specifically about the LTTE. If she wanted something powerful symbolizing Tamil identity & resistance she could have picked the “vel” or a rampant, ready to pounce Rajnikanth. And what, in this visual day & age imagery used in vids don’t signify as much as lyrics? I believe her academic training is in the visual arts. I know you’re Marxist but come on, you must be expending quite a bit of energy maintaining this ambivalence for a group that operates more like fascists. Just admit that you like to rock out to her when you are grading freshman intro class papers on Marxist interpretations of Dr. Seuss and don’t give her politics much thought

  2. I know you’re Marxist but come on, you must be expending quite a bit of energy maintaining this ambivalence for a group that operates more like fascists.

    Oh, believe me, I am not at all ambivalent about the LTTE as it exists today, and this precisely because of my Marxism. Although I’m not sure the fascism analogy works, there is nothing in the way the LTTE operates that is even remotely worthy of support, in my opinion. That isn’t the issue here, though, is it? I was responding to the reductionist way in which some folks equate MIA’s support for Tamil resistance with support for the LTTE, and now I have to face the same charges!?!!

    You are right when you say that the tiger imagery derives from the Tigers (capital T); but I would imagine that the imagery has a broader appeal in Sri Lankan Tamil culture, as part of the iconography of resistance that has developed, particularly among the youth who have grown up in the context of civil war. I doubt that Rajnikanth could effectively serve that purpose.

    I see this as similar to Palestinian youth who might wave the Hamas flag as a symbol of resistance, although they themselves might be thoroughly secular. (Of course, the analogy ends there, for I think that Hamas and Hezbollah have far better politics than the LTTE. The latter have become nothing but a bunch of thugs with heavy artillery.)

    Just admit that you like to rock out to her when you are grading freshman intro class papers on Marxist interpretations of Dr. Seuss and don’t give her politics much thought

    There’s something so obnoxiously belittling about this ad hominem remark, but I’ll let it pass.

  3. but I would imagine that the imagery has a broader appeal in Sri Lankan Tamil culture, as part of the iconography of resistance that has developed, particularly among the youth who have grown up in the context of civil war. I doubt that Rajnikanth could effectively serve that purpose.

    Um….Rajnikanth was a joke, as a Tamil I can tell you the “vel” is a powerful symbol of Muruga (our patron God, often associated with Skanda the vedic god of war). Go to London, see the fear that Tamil kids have for each other and ask yourself if this symbol is about a larger political struggle or about petty, street corner territoriality. I see the devolution of the African-American resistance movement into the Bloods & Cripps, I don’t want it for my people

    There’s something so obnoxiously belittling about this ad hominem remark, but I’ll let it pass.

    I am indeed beneath contempt, history is on your side

  4. Just admit that you like to rock out to her when you are grading freshman intro class papers on Marxist interpretations of Dr. Seuss and don’t give her politics much though

    Ad hominem? Most likely yes. If you were teaching lit. theory he probably would’ve made a crack about body-piercing or pornography but that’s another issue.

    another spin on this is that the described approach is perfectly benign. I listen to music primarily for production and the instruments played–IMHO, traditional rockist critiques that confine their analysis to gender, race and politics are completely irrelevant to many people who enjoy music for what it is–a primal command to dance!

  5. Muralimannered:

    Ad hominem? Most likely yes

    It wasn’t intended as such. Having never interacted with a Marxist in an academic environment (I did have a grand uncle who was a dedicated red) and not having had the benefit of an arts education, I assumed that the best way to introduce Marxist critical theory would be through Seuss. Introductory physics starts out with idealizations like point mass and conservative systems, intro economics starts with markets consisting entirely of guns & butter. Seuss in the Sneetches offers a simplified society in which star bellied elites control all means of production and there are no other sources of discontent (e.g. loss of soul or meaning)…in short an optimal environment for novice marxists

  6. oh dear, I fear that monsieur Louiecypher has a rather refined sense of humor.

    I do wish i brushed up on my Seuss before commenting–oh well, I guess God Is Not Great and Perdido Street Station will have to wait.

  7. Too bad the US led this terrorist-supporting hick into the country. Hope the prior visa denials taught her something though.

  8. we can’t, point is it does not matter what the song means to her, I can listen to it, make my own interpretations on it. Now much of the Beatles work on “revolver” is desi influenced. Do they fit the role??

    Sorry, I wasn’t trying to police personal interpretation :) I was just saying that if folks are curious in the artists’s viewpoint on his/her work, then I think context helps. iABD, my reference came from some of her early print interviews re: her father. I don’t think she meant it in the “I don’t want anything to do (in the future)” sense, I think she was referring more broadly to her father’s general estrangement from the family and the subsequent lack of artistic impact on her life from him. rudie_c, you’re of course allowed to interpret however you like :)

    Woody Guthrie’s song “this land is your land” could be a desi anthem at the moment?

    That’s funny, why do you say so? Because of recent immigration issues? (I actually really love this song, and Woody Guthrie more broadly, so I’m curious).

    Hard Kaur makes me giggle (in a good way), although my roommate thinks she’s a horrible example for women, Punjabis, and rappers. =/ I like her stanza on “Party in Bombay” (Mentor Kolektiv). Actually, I am just totally swayed by her opening with “kiddahn!”

  9. Is that picture of her from Gurinder Chadha’s boldly inventive new film “Desperately Seeking Suseela?”