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The Big Hurt: Clubbing baby seals: not okay

This week in social activism
By DAVID THORPE  |  April 8, 2008

Pop icon RICKY MARTIN paid a humanitarian visit to Cambodia recently in support of victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Although he’s remembered as the radiant Latin heartthrob behind “La Vida Loca,” Martin has shown an admirable commitment to philanthropy. As president and founder of the Ricky Martin Foundation, he seeks to put an end to the egregious international nightmare of human trafficking, which affects more than a million children per year. For Martin, the fight is personal; he himself is a victim of MENUDO, the notorious child-exploitation ring that’s claimed the innocence of dozens — maybe hundreds — of Puerto Rican youths.

Hatian-born ex-FUGEE WYCLEF JEAN has always kept a special place in his heart for his native country, and he’s worked tirelessly toward its improvement. In fact, Haitian president René Préval named Jean “roving ambassador” to the turbulent Caribbean nation last year, calling him “our best asset to promote the country’s image around the world.” The authority implicit in this appointment has gone to Wyclef’s head, however, and he now seems to think he can just waltz over there and start bossing people around. In a recent interview on Hatian radio, he ordered his countrymen to knock it off with all the rampant crime and epidemic kidnapping and whatnot. “You should not be raping women, kidnapping people and children,” the preening big shot proclaimed. “There can be no excuse for doing so. I reject these evil practices.” Does someone need to get his ego in check?

Not that we don’t rely on artists to advance controversial and unconventional ideas, to challenge our conceptions and broaden our horizons. TOM MEIGHAN, singer for dance-rock act KASABIAN, has staked out a bold position: “I don’t think it’s okay to smash a baby seal’s skull.” Shocked into moral crisis, I lay down my club.

Speaking of animal activism: RADIOHEAD it’s reported, gave an “intimate matinee performance” for the BBC on April 1. For those of you who skipped biology class, the matinee (or “sea cow”) is a gentle aquatic mammal whose numbers have greatly diminished because of poaching and human encroachment. The groundbreaking British group have been known to include references to the vulnerable beasts in their lyrics: “I jumped in the river and what did I see?/Black-eyed angels swam with me.” Although the “intimate matinee performance” went off without a hitch, one has to wonder just how intimate it was — legend has it that love-starved sailors would occasionally mistake the friendly, playful matinees for mermaids, and God only knows what happens when you add Radiohead’s testosterone-addled rocker masculinity to the mix.

Then there’s floppy junk urchin PETE DOHERTY, who pissed off the organizers of a dyslexia charity by cancelling an appearance at the last minute. If he’d been there, maybe this column would be free of ridiculous errors like the one in the previous paragraph. As if to make up for his gaffe, the Babyshambles/Libertines dude has been dipping his toes into one of America’s most trusted humanitarian organizations: SCIENTOLOGY. Enticed by a Dianetic girlfriend, Doherty has been exploring the faith, reading up on its tenets, and possibly preparing to save humanity from the dead souls of ancient aliens by electrocuting alien ghosts out of rich people, or back into rich people, or whatever-the-fuck. Keep fighting the good fight, Pete!

In environmental news: the Daily Mirror reports that BRITNEY SPEARS has been undergoing regular colonic-irrigation treatments to cleanse her body of impacted unpleasantness (or alien ghosts, or whatever-the-fuck). Treatments are paid for by the United States government, which declared Spears’s colon a toxic “Superfund site” after the Federline disaster of 2004.

In a recent interview with England’s Sun newspaper, R.E.M. frontman MICHAEL STIPE expressed his support for presidential hopeful BARACK OBAMA, who’s proved to be a divisive figure among musicians. Whereas ARCADE FIRE, WILCO, and the surviving GRATEFUL DEAD have thrown their weight behind Obama, the blogs have been ablaze recently with the words of a notable skeptic. An interview in last month’s XXL magazine revealed that enthusiastic pet owner DMX remains measured in his support. “His name is Barack?! What the fuck is a Barack,” wondered the rapper. “Barack Obama. Where he from, Africa? . . . What the fuck?! That ain’t no fuckin’ name, yo. That ain’t that nigga’s name. You can’t be serious. Barack Obama. Get the fuck outta here. . . . Wow, Barack! The nigga’s name is Barack. Barack? Nigga named Barack Obama. What the fuck, man?! Is he serious? That ain’t his fuckin’ name. Ima tell this nigga when I see him, ‘Stop that bullshit. Stop that bullshit. . . . That ain’t your fuckin’ name. Your momma ain’t name you no damn Barack.’ ”

  Topics: Music Features , Barack Obama , Ricky Martin , Wyclef Jean ,  More more >
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The Big Hurt: Clubbing baby seals: not okay
I think Wyclef Jean needs a bigger ego if he's putting it to those causes.
By gordon on 04/10/2008 at 1:14:43
The Big Hurt: Clubbing baby seals: not okay
Regarding the Radiohead performance, it's spelled manatee (not matinee). So David, when you said, "For those of you who skipped biology class, the matinee (or “sea cow”) is a gentle aquatic mammal...", it seems like you're the one who needs to go back to biology class. :-)
By Nicole on 04/11/2008 at 9:31:57
The Big Hurt: Clubbing baby seals: not okay
I'm a little confused about Radiohead's "matinee performance." Did Thorpe really just spend an entire paragraph making the hilarious error of confusing a "matinee" (you know, an early afternoon performance) with a "manatee" (an animal he helpfully describes for those of us who "skipped biology class" )? I'm almost unwilling to believe that such a ridiculous mistake could make it through any kind of editing process, and want to chalk it up to his making some kind of very lame, unfunny joke--maybe something that would have played much better verbally, with deadpan expression, but falls utterly flat in print (with the added bonus of making the author look completely ignorant). But he seems so earnest about it...and Radiohead DID play a matinee show, which as far as I can tell had absolutely nothing to do with sea mammal activism, manatee or otherwise, and an awful lot to do with taking place at 3:00 in the afternoon. Is it possible that he doesn't know what a matinée is? I'm clipping this one out and saving it.
By dreamsoftornadoes on 04/12/2008 at 3:12:41
The Big Hurt: Clubbing baby seals: not okay
Does anyone (a) understand satire, (b) read an article in its entirety? Thorpe even tossed you a bone and admitted the ridiculousness of the manatee bit in the VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH. Whether you found it amusing or not, it sure as hell shouldn't have been confusing. And congrats to Nicole for being the contrarian who proves your opponent's point.
By jackrabbit on 04/13/2008 at 2:03:50
The Big Hurt: Clubbing baby seals: not okay
Thanks "jackrabbit" for pointing out my error... you are right, I did not read the article in its entirety. I saw "manitee" and the biologist in me jumped to the wrong conclusion (that he didn't know how to spell). My apologies to David Thorpe. Though I feel slightly better knowing I'm not the only one who thought this.
By Nicole on 04/25/2008 at 2:39:08

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