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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Buju I Hardly Knew You

Posted by on September 28 at 11:01 AM

I’m sure everybody wants to give the Buju Banton thing a rest already, but I do want to address the complaints about the The Stranger’s perceived “hypocrisy” on this issue.

Point number one: The Stranger is not a monolithic entity. Sometimes we speak with one voice (political endorsements, for example—which are only issued after vociferous internal debate), but generally, we’re all responsible for our own opinions. I, for example, agree with a commentator below: Charles didn’t need to resort to an ad hominem attack to point out the problems with Robert Jamieson’s argument. (I also despise AI.)

A corollary point: Nate Lippens is his own person. Just because he wrote an Up & Coming expressing support—nay, curiosity—about Buju Banton’s supposed conversion to nonviolence in 2000 doesn’t mean Charles isn’t entitled to express the opposite point in 2006. (Robert Jamieson conspicuously failed to credit Nate as the author of that short preview, implying it was a general endorsement.)

Moreover, Nate was working on a set of assumptions that no longer apply. According to ample documentation, which Charles cites below, Banton has not renounced his old views. He still thinks beating faggots is a good idea, and still performs the song in which he advocates that violence.

Not cool. The Stranger staffers are entitled to say it’s not cool. Neumo’s, for its part, is entitled to respond to community pressure, voiced by the Slog and other local blogs, and decide to cancel the show. It’s not censorship. It’s common sense.

You free speechers got your show anyway—and you got your debate. Stop being so goddamn sanctimonious.

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Day Four: Damage Control

What part of McCarthyism don't you fistards not understand? The McCarthy referred to being Joe of the witch hunts, not Gene or Jenny.

Jamieson's got you nailed. Learn from him.

Typical nanny Seattle. Pushing your own values and morals on others is so Conservative Republican.

Buju is a fuckwad, but cancelling the show at Neumos only made it better for Buju. He gets paid (twice) and gets to perform down the street in South Seattle,

Nice victory.

I for one think Charles's ad hominem attacks on that sanctimonious windbag Jamieson are the funniest thing I've ever read, and I look forward to more of them.

you created a mess. a big mess. clean it up and stop thinking you are helping when what you are doing is harming. get a clue. the fact that the stranger does NOT support freedom of speech seems like reason enough for readers like me to boycott you. ok seattle, here my battle cry!

Annie, thank you, this clarification should have come much sooner.

Charles Mudede continues to write as though his opinion on this matter is that of The Stranger. This is possibly a stylistic quirk— he uses the third-person voice in his writing almost exclusively, and if you read his slog posts, you won't find much of that word so frequently used in blog writing: "I."

In this case, though, his stylistic preference has, I believe deliberately, given the public the perception that his personal views are those of the paper.

As to being sanctimonious, the poles in this debate are rooted in fundamental principles, which constitute sanctimony by definition. Mudede and his supporters certainly haven't held back with the sanctimonious language, so don't pretend it's just the "free speechers" who are dishing it out.

shit! i knew i spoke too soon. amend my comment from charles' post (copied below) to the 16th post on this topic.

clearly, there is very little else going on in the city today.

this is now the 15th post on this topic penned by strangerwriters since monday afternoon, when charles fired the shot heard 'round the hill:

The show should not happen here or, for that matter, any part of this city.

correct me if i'm wrong but, i don't think i've seen this much attention paid to one subject in such a short period of time on slog and line out since kyle huff went on his shooting rampage.

the big difference? the multitude of slog posts with regard to huff's deadly spree were reporting the news, as it unfolded.

the majority of the buju posts have been in defense or justification for the opinion offered by the stranger.

kyle huff killed people on capitol hill. with actual guns and bullets and blood. buju banton wrote and performed a song that expresses hatred and the desire to kill a segment of the population.

i am with my friend meinert on this one: much of what has been posted this week by the stranger feels like grandstanding at best. at worst, it appears to be the case of a newspaper generating news, rather than reporting it.

every opinion offered by stranger writers has been on one side (cancel the show). there has not been a voice of dissent raised from anyone at the paper on slog. this has not been the case in the multitude of commentary the topic has generated.

so, i ask you this, stranger staff: did anyone actually attend the performance last night? was the controversial song performed? were there protesters? do you have any news to offer on this well worn subject or are we just going to continue to read the same opinion over and over again?

BTW, censored is not a synonym for censured

Please use "Buju was censured" if you are thinking "censored". It is just good English.


Buju's Banton's hate-speech is protected by the constitution, sure. But, The Stranger - and its writers as individuals - also have free speech rights. We are free to use speech to speak out against words and actions we find reprehensible. That's what protest is about. It's not about the b.o. and the pot - it's about changing people's minds and behavior.

The most asinine thing Jamieson said in his column was this: "When you start to police artistic expression, you set a dangerous precedent."

The Stranger isn't the police. The Stranger can't create or enforce public policy. What it can do is influence the free actions of Neumo's. Influence is not censorship, it cannot violate free speech rights.

The Stranger isn't the Seattle Times or P-I; it doesn't claim to present a "fair and balanced" opinion. Its goal is to influence the minds of its readers. Thank god! The last thing Seattle needs is another gutless rag too scared to point out real issues and take sides.

Confidential to Mr. Jamieson: You are hereby declared a horse’s ass. Also, you might want to learn how to construct paragraphs that consist of more than two sentences. More thought, less punctuation.

Erostratus-you really think this is a
"real issue"?? Get a life!!

Annie, I agree that the allegations of hypocrisy are ridiculous.

That said, there are still issues being addressed as to the lack of depth given the greater issue.

* No one at the Stranger has addressed Meinert's point about Mars Hill.

* No one at the Stranger has addressed succinctly why there's an ethical difference between local record stores carrying Buju's material, and a venue hosting a Buju performance. (David Schmader did touch on the surface, but he hasn't followed through yet.)

* No one at the Stranger has admitted that, despite the parallel blogs and Livejournal people who complained about Buju's date at Neumo's, the paper carries an unequal weight compared to the net-only voices. And there's nothing wrong with voicing opinions from that pedestal, of course. But I find the Stranger's "it wasn't only us" attitude to be slightly disingenous, since there's good reason to believe it made the crucial difference in the cancellation. No one can prove it, but there's good reason to believe it. Again, people can agree or disagree if the pressure was a good and/or bad thing, but I find The Stranger's inconsistent backpedalling on this issue of exerting pressure to lack balls.

the real issue is that people seem to be mistaking a private press entity for a public institution. have we really given that much power to the press?

there are other issues too, but i've already wasted my quota of freetime at work.

but i'd like to know why you think this doesn't raise interesting issues. i'd like to know why you'd waste your time pointing out my waste of time.

Jebuz Kerri, now you're resorting to posting the same rant over-and-over?

If the whole process is getting so tiresome that you can't at least develop new responses, maybe you really should take the advice I offered in the previous thread...

I've tried not to post on any of the many (13?) SLOG threads about this continual waste of time.

But I have to agree, Jamieson has a point.

If you want to protest his lyrics and music, just boycott the event, don't try to shut it down. And when you boycott it, consider it's an effective tactic to encircle the event with tons of flyers and posters and lots of guys standing around with t-shirts that say why you shouldn't hear it.

Better to have let it go on in an empty Neumo's - and give that message - than to shut it down from even happening. It sends a much stronger message.

comte: when in rome...

i have now seen 16 posts on this topic, all pretty much voicing the same opinion over and over again.

i honestly don't think it's much to ask the stranger to follow up with some actual news on the matter, rather than the same justifications over and over again.

i'm sorry my re-posting of my comment was difficult for you to understand. it was there to provide context for the statement this is now the 16th post on this topic.

i, like many folks i would imagine, turn to slog for a variety of information. i am merely curious as to why it has seemingly been all buju, all the time for the past four days around here, with very little to report on the subject. for a publication so concerned with the issue, i would expect a newsworthy follow-up, rather than the same tired opinion pieces.

whatever. i'm going record shopping.

Except Will, according to reports from Neumo's, the show was nearly sold out at the time of cancellation. So, what you would have had instead would have been a situation of however many protestors standing in the way of some 700+ patrons. Even if they didn't overtly block entrance to the venue, there would have been potential for some sort of escalation beyond mere shouting to something perhaps more violent.

According to Severin, it was the the volitility of this situation that played a major factor in his decision. Rather than risk harm to people on either side of the fence, with his establishment in the middle facing possible legal and/or economic consequences for the resulting violence, had it occurred, he elected to err on the side of safety.

News Flash- Gays can be bigoted hypocrites too! But we don’t hear much about that do we?

See Slog Forums post titled “Gays Putting Gays in Check Since 1999” (I could not post here as apparently some words triggered the Spam guard though the mentioned post is not spam)

Kerri, there's nothing difficult in the least for me to understand - but, I don't think you support your argument against the repetition of information here the past several days by engaging in the same activity you're criticizing, is all.

In "Whose Freedom?" George Lakoff talks about how everyone agrees freedom is important but that its expression is highly contested, depending on whether the base unit is the individual's freedom-to, or the community's freedom-from.

Lakoff's argument is that the former can't be the primary meaning because the concept of freedom only takes shape in a community context -- as a pure individual, you're absolutely free in the first place.

He offers, then, a limit to freedom-to: the proviso that your freedom (of speech, say) should not cause harm others. In that light, inviting Banton to appear in Seattle was a mistake (that Neumo's wanted to take responsibility for once it was pointed out).

It's unfortunate that knee-jerk reactions carried the day, though -- there was a teachable moment here and the key players punted rather than engage with it. I don't at all begrudge anyone a visceral response; I just would have thought Capitol Hill could have come up with a more creative response to musical bigotry than telling it to stay home.

A small observation.

Those in favor of shutting down the show cite a difference between hate speech and hate speech that calls for the killing of the hated. A difference between speech, and speech that recommends action.

Those of us who opposed shutting down the show cite a difference between criticism of the artist, and critisism coupled with a demand that the art be censored*, or the artist banned or cancelled.

The two sides are making the same distinction with regard to speech and action.

Where they differ is that those in favor of cancellation believe that the speech containing the call to action should be banned, while those opposed believe that the action itself should be banned.

In this light, the call to cancel Buju's show, on the one hand, would be analagous to a call to delete posts recommending the cancellation, on the other, which no-one has proposed.

The call to not cancel the show similiarly, would correspond to a call to not kill homosexuals, which no-one has made, either, because nobody involved in this debate believes in killing homosexuals, and because it's already illegal to kill anyone at all, homosexuals included.


* Whoever recommended the word "censured" clearly doesn't understand that that word does not mean "censored, except it can be applied grammatically to people instead of things."

Will, I agree.

Neumo’s should have refunded tickets upon request but let the show go on, coming out with a strong statement that explained the contractual relationship (that they were going to have to pay him regardless) and supporting, accommodating and joining the protestors in boycotting the show (making the protest/boycott against Bufu alone instead of Bufu and Neumo’s) and then donated any revenue from the show and profit from the bar that night to Lambert House (or some other worthy charity.) That way they could have gone with their current spin (“we had no idea he advocated for such shit, we are soooo sorry, it won’t happen again”) and paid reparation (as it were) to the community for the error. Sure, it might of gotten ugly and heated, but it would have been a unique opportunity to hold a public dialogue on an important topic while confronting hatred face to face. I would have loved to have booed anyone that showed up for Bufu from the bar, and who knows, he might possibly have wound up playing to an empty room. Neumo’s could have gotten a lot more than a black eye and their strained apology out of their $15,000.


NOT BANNED. I don't think anyone wants the speech banned. But everyone has a right to exert influence - and that includes influencing a venue to cancel a show.

You don't want speech that calls for action banned. But you don't want The Stranger to call for the venue to cancel the show. 'Splain.

So Annie. When Slog says:

"Seattle Times supports gay marriage"

per your argument shouldn't Stranger writers say "so-in-so at the Seattle Times supports gay marriage"?

Charles clearly said "there is no reason for us, at the Stranger, to be ambiguous (Banton must be shutdown)."

He is speaking (as a paid spokesman) for the Stranger.

In future publications I hope you don't resort to saying "The PI supports this" or "The Times supports that"

So Annie. When Slog says:

"Seattle Times supports gay marriage"

per your argument shouldn't Stranger writers say "so-in-so at the Seattle Times supports gay marriage"?

Charles clearly said "there is no reason for us, at the Stranger, to be ambiguous (Banton must be shutdown)."

He is speaking (as a paid spokesman) for the Stranger.

In future publications I hope you don't resort to saying "The PI supports this" or "The Times supports that"

As I just wrote to Jamieson, if you own the soapbox you get to decide who stands on it. If we follow the free speech model many of you Buju defendants propose, we should expect to see more editorials in the PI about the virtues of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Severin and Neumo's made a grand and conscientious gesture to the neighborhood, for which we should be grateful.
And Matt Fisher, if it offends you that record stores carry Buju's CDs unchallenged, maybe we ought to challenge. Go in, take the discs up to the counter, tell the cashier that you don't think they should carry these records .. then buy something else, maybe that Antony and the Johnsons CD. Instead of boycotting, show them that their customers don't want hate music, but will buy other things.

Still no word on the boycott/forced removal of Buju's products at the following businesses:

Sonic Boom
Zion's Gate
Easy Street Records
Everyday Music

Still waiting ...

Just a question for the Stranger staff: How come the article "Bad Buju" was listed as "By Sarah Mirk and Charles Mudede" in the online Stranger early this morning, but is now only listed as "By Sarah Mirk"? How come Charles' name was removed? Did he help write the article?

So, what do y'all think of activist groups who try to get Dr. Laura and Michael Savage kicked off the air by threatening to boycott their advertisers? Is that censorship?

Always with the conundrums posed at your convenience. The rational mind sees this shit and asks itself, "Do I take route A or Route B at the fork in the road?" while the relative mind intuitively says, "I know shit when I smell it, fuck this road of shit entirely".

You guys are the new Baptists.


I don't think you understood the argument I made at all.

I don't mind if The Stranger calls for for a show to be cancelled for political reasons, though I do disagree with such calls. I do mind, though, when a show actually is cancelled for political reasons, which is why I argue against (not seek to suppress) calls for such actions.

If I wanted to prevent The Stranger from calling for cancellations to politically unacceptable shows, I'd be suggesting that posts containing such calls be deleted, or that people protest outside the paper's offices until all such calls are eradicated, or similar. I'm not doing any of that, I'm just saying The Stranger is wrong when it calls for politically-based censorship, because I believe such censorship is itself wrong.



No, that is not censorship.

A boycott of the Buju show would not have constituted an infringement on free speech, either. But that's not what we're talking about here, is it?


But it's not censorship. IT'S NOT CENSORSHIP. It's a venue choosing to cancel a show after a people have exerted influence. Censorship is when an entity with final authority (this can be a government or a corporate official, depending on the context) actively prevents someone from making speech. NO ONE was prevented from making speech.

A call to cancel a show is not an authority decreeing the cancellation of a show. I'd have been adamantly opposed to the City of Seattle closing the show. That would have been censorship.

Free speech does not exist in a vacuum, and speech is rarely without purpose. Protests are about changing outcomes. The outcome of free speech here was that Neumo's cancelled the show.

I couldn't care less whether that show played on Capitol Hill, and I'm a fag who grew up in a rural place, constantly ridiculed and abused. I understand that Banton has a right to say whatever the hell he wants with his art.

But art shouldn't take precedence over other kinds of speech - like muckraking journalism. Or blog entries, or blog comments. It's all speech. Art is not and should not be defended against journalism, by any law or right thinking person.


WAIT! I've changed my mind. Kind of.

There was an act of censorship. Neumo's censored Buju by canceling his show. But that's their call.

And bully on them. I censor things in my office. There will be NO TCHAIKOVSKY while I'm in. Everyone knows this, and no one plays Tchaikovsky. (Except for me, but only the nutcracker suite, and only after thanksgiving.)

Now, if my employees all got together and urged me to accept Tchaikovsky, or lower stop playing my beloved Janacek, that would be free speech. I might change my mind about my decrees - my censorship - and alter my actions. It would certainly be politically motivated - I HATE TCHAIKOVSKY. But I might do it.

What's wrong with that? It's people using legal means to get what they want. And that's what America is about. (That's a joke - kind of.)

You people at The Stanger need to get over your binary thinking. Buju put on a great show and there were hot gay guys in the audience. Are you so stupid you can't seperate lyrics from the performer.

Richard Wagner declared himself and anti-semite and never renounced his hatred of Jews. But Seattle Opera puts on a Wagner festival every year?!? Where's the outrage?

Does music itself express a political view? Can a drum track express racism? Last I read music transcends all that and gets people out of themselves dancing together.

American audiences don't even know how to say "Faggot" in Jamaican, so wouldn't even know if Buju sang about faggots or not.

The real issue here is whether an artist that hold views you disagree with can create artwork that moves you. The human race answered that question a thousand years ago. Charles Bukowski probably gets drunk calls women bitches and has foul smelling farts. I'll still read his poetry. Wagner hated Jews, but Wagner's chord structures contain unspeakable beauty.

You assholes at The Strangers act all high and mighty but you dropped the ball on this one. You could have at least gone to Buju's concert and watched people dancing. Then you could have written about "why is it that an artist who has views I disagree can move people to dance and feel joy?."

Before you go off again on Buju. Stranger Staff - Get it through your dense heads - Richard Wagner was a dispicable Jew Hater, yet Seattle hosts a Wagner festival every year. You don't protest Seattle Opera.

Great music transcends the political. Talent trumps politics. Buju's music won this round.

P.S. If I can't dance I don't want to be a part of your revolution. You cancelled the dance at Nemos. Deal with the fallout.

Every time somebody pulls that musty Emma Goldman trope on me I always say, "If I have to dance I don't want to be part of YOUR revolution."
Carry on.

Who said anything about Opera or revolution? Seattle people love to feel upset so they can feel morally superior. All this bullshit about a stupid concert. None of this even matters.


Is your office open to the public? Does banning Tchaikovski there have any effect on people you've never met?

And I'm not buying the libertarian private-property arguments proffered in defense of cancelling the Buju show.

The initial private-property owner's decision was to book the show, and then many individual citizens exercised their private commercial rights by buying tickets to that show, but none of the pro-cancellation forces seem to respect those initial private property decisions, though they are quick to invoke private property in saying Neumo's didn't do anything wrong in cancelling the mostly-sold-out show.

Pressuring a business through means other than simply not spending your hard-earned dollars there is distinctly non-libertarian, and non free-markets, too, though I don't profess any particular allegience to either of those political stances.

Also, making noise about what is and isn't actually legal or illegal is dodging the moral issue. It didn't impress me when Schmader tried that kind of evasion, and it doesn't impress me now.

Thank you Erostratus, I was about to make that same point myself.

I will, however, add that many people seem to be confusing an "absolute right" (e.g. the Constitutionally protected right to speech) with an "economic imperative" (for want of a better term).

As many of us have stated all along, Buju has an ABSOLUTE RIGHT to his opinion that homosexuals should be murdered, tortured and mutilated, no matter how patently offensive that may be to individuals or to the larger society. Acting on his speech, or inciting others to do likewise would of course be a completely different matter; that's not speech, that's action, and it's not protected.

However, Buju does NOT have a "right" to make his speech in any venue other than the open air. Neumo's (as was pointed out above) is not the Government. The people who own it make decisions every day about what acts they will or will not book; presumably at least in part, these decisions are predecated on the political and/or moral views of the bookers. Does that mean that any performer they choose not to book has been censored? Of course not, just as it doesn't mean they can't change their mind about an artist they've already booked, if it turns out new information enlightens their aesthetic/moral perceptions.

The difference between Buju's right to Constitutionally-protected speech and his ability to perform in a privately owned venue is that, in the former instance he doesn't need anyone's permission, while in the latter he has to engage in some sort of economic transaction in order to be granted permission to perform. He doesn't get to walk up to Neumo's and say, "Hey, I'm going to play here, so you have to let me.", because they in fact DON'T have to let him. In order to be allowed to play at Neumo's he has to agree to enter into a contract with the venue that spells out the legal (very DIFFERENT from Constitutional) rights each party agrees to grant to the other for the term the contract remains in effect, in exchange for certain mutually beneficial financial remunerations.

The very fact that such a transaction takes place immediately transforms his words from Constitutionally-protected SPEECH into a COMMODITY that possesses intrinsic economic value; his words are now a product to be bought-and-sold, and from which he may now derive a profit. By changing the substance of his speech from political to economic, he loses the "absoluteness" of the former, and becomes subject to the limitations of the latter, which is why such things as contracts exist in the first place.

If Buju wanted to stand in front of Neumo's and sing "Boom-Bye-Bye" at the top of his lungs, and assuming he was not committing any other civil or criminal infraction, his speech would be legally protected under the Constitution. But, he trades away those protections the moment he asks someone else to pay to listen to him, while they in turn trade away their absolute freedom to hear his speech by agreeing to be a partner to the transaction through the purchase of a ticket that grants them access under certain limited conditions.

It's not censorship if a venue bars an individual or group of individuals from entering their space for whatever reason management decides, despite the fact they may otherwise have a legitimate contract (which is all a ticket is really, a contract that, in exchange for your money, the venue agrees to provide access to the artist on the date and time indicated, or if not, to reimburse you the cost of the ticket; while the ticket-holder in turn agrees to abide by the terms set by management, or risk expulsion without reimbursement); venues do this all the time, and in fact the ticket states, in unambiguous terms their right to do so.

Likewise, it is not censorship to bar the performer from playing in the venue, again if the owner so chooses, for whatever reason (Neumo's contract with Buju no doubt granted them the legal right to cancel the show, so long as the performer was compensated. Hence, Buju's $15,000 "money for nothing" payday). Exercising a legal, contractual provision is not censorship; if it WERE, it wouldn't be legal in the first place.

Even so, Buju could still elect to play anywhere else that will have him (as turned out to be the case), or he could choose to forego the economic benefit of selling his words, and go back to shouting them on the street for free, thus again retransforming them from an economic commodity back into Constitutionally-protected political speech.

Preventing him from doing that WOULD be censorship, but nobody, including anyone at "The Stranger" to my knowledge, has EVER advocated that.

Neumos is in an area now being developed with lofts and condos selling for over 600k. In this era of gentrification for the southern portions of Cap Hill hip hop, rap, dance hall acts, etc... just don't have a place there period. When clubs in this same area have had to stoop to these kinds of nights in the past to make money all it has led to is violence. If anyone has a right to complain about a pathetic artist like Buju Banton performing at Neumos it is the people who live adjacent to it. The residents who would have to put up with the "element" that an act like Buju Banton would draw should be the voice that tells Neumos just how offensive they find or don't find it. Not a bunch of people posting about "freedom of speech" issues. It isn't about being PC or unPC, but about the cause and effect of allowing an artist like Buju Banton to perform in a neighborhood where his ideals would not be welcome.


See my previous post, #38.

Apart from what I said there, I'll add that the "Money trumps Morals" argument bothers me a great deal, and that it's pretty damned weak in this particular case anyway, what with so many tickets having been sold before the show was cancelled and then moved.

Nemos itself is going to have to go away soon Buju or not. I live nearby and at nights noisy people are outside the club. It doesn't matter what band is playing, most concert goers are loud creeps.

I'm glad the gay community shut down one concert, but to really silence Nemos it's going to take all of us working together. Most of the performers at Nemos have racism, sexism, homophobia, something objectionable about them. I hate the place and can't wait for it to go under. Props to The Stranger for silencing Nemos for a night.

"have to put up with the "element" that an act like Buju Banton would draw"
I assume you refer to the young, white, stoned, and possibly hemp-necklaced or even dreadlocked "element," who might drive over (gasp) bridges en route to the show?

I can certainly see the locals getting upset about those people, so you're right as far as that goes.

The element these concerts attract is the reason for the boycott. Buju sings about killing faggots and the audience goes wild and starts slaughtering gay people. Sounds like what I want happening on the sidewalk below my condo? NOT!

The Stranger did us Condo owners a favor driving Buju and his fans into another neighborhood. I hope The Stranger will call for to ban all Nemos concerts by black-type musicians that incite anti-gay violence. I just want to feel safe walking around my neighborhood.


I'm not making libertarian or free-market arguments. I'm making freedom of speech arguments. You seem to be against using speech as an economic tool, against using speech to influence economic activities?

What about feedback? What about reporting faults in a product? What about letting a business know that you won't buy its product because you're offended by it. If enough people do that, a business changes its products. That's market feedback, an extremely important part of economic activity.

The firestorm unleashed on Neumo's was not just free speech – it was market feedback. Are you really against that?

In a free market anything goes. Workers are free to combine their speech and form collective bargaining units like unions and guilds. Customers are free to voice their issues with products, no matter what those issues are. Businesses are free to ignore that feedback, or adjust their products to better meet the needs and desires of their customers.

This is beside the point, but I'll include it here because I think you need to learn more about economics. The last thing a business wants is for people to stop buying its products and not tell it why. Broad market feedback is vital to economic prosperity in a free market system.

Robotslave said:

"See my previous post, #38.

Apart from what I said there, I'll add that the "Money trumps Morals" argument bothers me a great deal, and that it's pretty damned weak in this particular case anyway, what with so many tickets having been sold before the show was cancelled and then moved."

There you go again, confusing the issues.

In a Capitalistic system - money ALWAYS trumps morals! In fact, such an economic system is designed specifically to remove morality from the transactional process, as much as is humanly possible.

Hypothetical Example: If my local convenience store chooses to stock "Green Haired MILF Vixens And The Dogs Who Love Them - Deeply" behind the counter, and it's legal for me to purchase it, then it's irrelevent whether the counterperson, or the little old lady standing in line behind me disapproves - I have a legal right to purchase the porn mag, if I so choose.

If, on the other hand, the convenience store owner chooses not to keep my favorite jerk-off mag on the shelf, they have every legal right to do that, too. And I can go in and whine, and beg, and plead and scream all I want about what mean people they are, and "how dare they censor this wonderful piece of art!", but from a legal standpoint I have no leg (third or otherwise) to stand on, and the only legal recourse I would have in that case would be to walk out in a huff, and vow to take my business somewhere GEMILFV-ATDWLT-D IS available.

Now, back to the real world:

In Neumo's case, so long as the ticket-holders were refunded their admission charge, then management has held up their end of the "contract", which is what they're legally obliged to do.

BSaying that Neumo's has some sort of "moral obligation" to present Buju, just because they decided to book him, and had sold tickets already is just flat-out wrong. They're not under ANY obligation, aside from those spelled out in the contract, and I'll bet you dollars to donut holes that there's not one word in there pertaining to any sort of "moral imperative".

From a legal/contractual standpoint, what Neumo's did was no different than if Buju had suddenly come down with strep and had to cancel himself. So long as the contract allows for such an act by either party, then it's perfectly legal (and indeed necessary) for them to exercise those rights in order to avoid litigation. That's what happened. The ticket-holders don't have a legal right to sue Neumo's for cancelling the show, UNLESS they don't get their money back, regardless of what they think of the decision that prompted it.

You can raise the "morality" canard all you want, but calling it a moral issue don't necessarily make it one.

And besides, in the end the only "morality" that really matters here is that of Neumo's, and regardless of whether you think what they did was moral or not, they made the call based on their own set of values. You don't have to agree with those values, or approve of them (and it hardly needs reminding that here are a LOT of people out there who DO approve of their decision), but the only legally effective means you have to express your disapproval is to withhold your future patronage.

See, it all comes back to money in the end.

I agree it's about market economics. Condo owners are a wealthier, more stable, and better educated group moving into a crumbling neighborhood. The only reason these tacky HipHop and Reggae Shows and the trash they attract are in our neighborhood is because of the cheap rent for the werehouse space. Once Nemos gets converted into Condos and shops, things will be much quieter. I'd like to see a nice art gallery in that Nemos' space. No more loud homophobic Jamaican bands. Good Riddance!

Sorry, erostratus, but the "market feedback" argument doesn't stand up in this case.

Neumo's booked a show. A lot of people bought tickets to it. A lot of other people objected to the show, but instead of not buying tickets to it, or just telling the venue they didn't approve of the act they insisted the show, which other people wanted to see, be cancelled.

That's just not a free market at work, no matter how you try to spin it. If the people demanding the show be cancelled had instead simply called for a boycott of the show or even the venue, then that would have been your "market feedback" at work, and we wouldn't be having this debate. Instead, they called for the voiding of market transactions already completed.

But even if you did have a case, I wouldn't find market-based argument in favor of cancellation to be convincing from a moral standpoint. Markets, as I'm sure you, with your prodigious economic knowledge, understand, are amoral. At best, they can reflect popular opinion, but as I'm sure you realize, popular opinion is not necessarily morally conscionable opinion.


Wow. I really didn't expect anyone to defend the "Money trumps Morals" stance, but you've gone and surprised me.

And I am prepared to supply some supporting evidence in asserting that the debate we are engaged in is indeed at root a moral one. Where is your evidence that it is not?

I'm afraid that "Fuck You, Club Owners Can Do Whatever They Like Because They Have Sufficient Capital" doesn't move me, and it's an argument that will bite you in the ass when some business in your neighborhood inevitably decides to do something you find politically unacceptable, but doesn't back down in the face of non-economic pressure from an angry minority.

This Jamaican asshole and his hateful fans were kept off Capitol Hill. That's all that mattered. It could have been a slaughterhouse at this concert had it been at Nemos. Buju fans hate gays and there would have been fights.


We're not arguing morals. God forbid we seek to control what people do with their speech. This conversation began when you called the actions of The Stranger and Neumo's censorship.

I'll say it again, insisting a show be cancelled is not censorship; it's a use of influence.

And this too: exerting influence is a fair tactic in our culture and market system. Neumo's isn't just thinking of its ticket purchasers for that event, they're thinking of their long-term image in the community. I don't think morality comes into it at all.

But: If you're passionate about changing something you think is wrong, are you going to play nice? Are you going to follow lines, even when the real victories are won by going outside and really pitching fits?

Ticket holders were refunded, right? Their market transaction was not fully consummated, and could be reversed.

I'm done talking about this. I'm tired, and I have to go home. And I can't believe you don't think this kind of action is appropriate. I don't think I would take this action - I didn't call for Buju's cancellation. But I think this tactic is fully permissible, and I don't have a problem with this outcome.

If you've bothered to read the post RS, it's all in there. If you're unable to read it, I'm sure you can find someone who can read it to you, although perhaps you might want to have an "Econ 101" text handy for reference.

Might as well not bother Erostratus. RS has gotten the notion firmly implanted in his lil' ole' pea-sized grey matter that Neumo's had no right to cancel the show, because some people didn't want it cancelled. He's going to keep playing his "morality card", because it's the only one he has, and if he has to fold that in, he's got no other reason to stay at the table, debate-wise.

I'm just going to talk around him from now on, since he clearly can't grasp simple concepts like the true definition of censorship, or the basic tenets of Capitalism.

You cancelled the dance [sic] at Nemos [sic]. Deal with the fallout. -"Kimberly"

And for its next trick, The Stranger will control your very thoughts and actions. Just because, you know, The Stranger has unlimited powers.

God, people, Buju may eb racist but you guys just went off the deep end abouot something that happens dozens of times a week. Racist homophobes are everywhere in music and art (for example, Eminem, anyone?).

It's preaching to the choir at best and over people's heads and forgotten usually. It inspires nothing that already wasn't well on its way to being inspired.

Homophobe! Playground Strafer! Rape Lover! Freedom Hater! Flag Burner! Fag Burner! Vote Tamperer! Baby Dangler!

Why, you'd let anyone get away with saying anything they want anytime they want, anywhere they're paid to wouldn't you Gomez?

Well the jokes on you and all you homophobic homosexuals. We Queer, we're here and thanks to us Buju's rich, bitch! That'll learn him good!

Got beef? email me at

New math ain't what it used to be.

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