A Cautious Man
August 18, 2004
It Takes A Red-Headed Woman
To Get A Dirty Job Done

Meet Dr. Marilyn O'Grady, candidate for U.S. Senate for the Conservative Party in New York. Dr. O'Grady faces a tough fight in her attempt to unseat Sen. Charles Schumer (especially since there's also a Republican candidate, but apparently nobody knows much about him). In an effort to boost her candidacy, Dr. O'Grady has hit upon an apparently sure-fire scheme - call for a boycott of Bruce Springsteen. As reported by Fox News:
"He thinks making millions with a song-and-dance routine allows him to tell you how to vote," Marilyn O'Grady says in the 30-second spot. "Here's my vote: Boycott the Boss. If you don't buy his politics, don't buy his music."

In a statement, O'Grady said Springsteen "has a right to say what he thinks, but we have an equal right to speak. Now that he's moved onto the political stage to bash my president, it is entirely fair to respond."
You can view her ad from the site at this link.

As an aside, if you are reading this you may have noticed that a certain (choose one: characteristic/trademark/drawback) of this site is the (choose one: frequent/constant/annoying) use of references to the work of one particular artist, in titles and the like. There's no particular reason for that - it's just something to do while setting down these random thoughts. As a result, more than one individual did ask me why I hadn't commented before on the Vote for Change tour. After all, it has everything I've been writing about here - Springsteen, concerns about the Administration's war policy, right-wing calls for celebrity boycotts, and even some musings from Bill O'Reilly. But, in addition to being lazy the week that news came out, I didn't feel the need to add my two cents. But something about this just bugged me, so ...

Back to Dr. O'Grady, who from the video is a red-headed woman spreading some pretty ugly ideas. Remember, she wants to be a U.S. Senator, and she seems to believe that people who disagree with her should be bullied into silence. It's one thing for radio hot-heads, dime-a-dozen columnists, message board scribes or two-bit proprietors of boycott websites such as Pabaah.com (they still won't let me link from here) to "Dixie-Chick" someone. But, someone who aspires to the position of U.S. Senator, ought to have a little more respect for a basic liberty such as freedom of speech. And I don't buy this "they have to face the consequences of their actions" nonsense. Look, if an artist is giving a show to support a cause you don't support, then don't go. If they release a song with a point of view you disagree with, don't buy it. But this idea that you boycott everything involving a musician, or an actor, whose politics are different from yours, is offensive.

A boycott which is designed to change something (as in the 60's civil rights struggles), is different from this kind of boycott. The purpose of these boycotts isn't to change the political views of an artist, but to make that artist shut up (or worse, to keep someone else from daring to speak out). The only appropriate response, to speech you disagree with, is for you to speak your mind - not to force the other guy into silence.

Folks like Dr. O'Grady need to learn the difference between acting like Dr. King, and acting like Dr. Evil.



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