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Thursday, September 28, 2006

That Ex-Drunk

Posted by on September 28 at 9:20 AM

It is common for ex-drunks to boast of newfound clarity and focus of mind. Evidently such benefits have not been awarded to Robert L. Jamieson, who, as everybody must by now know, has been dry for over a year. His sobriety has instead produced a muddled column about The Stranger’s denouncement of a popular dancehall star, Buju Banton, who advocates the extermination of homosexuals. Jamieson not only calls our response “a witch hunt,” he also believes that Buju “has undergone a musical transformation” and now “produces songs about spirituality and non-violence…”

But if the ex-drunk had bothered to read our posts and paper carefully then he would have come across this:

In Miami this past Memorial Day, the Miami New Times reported that Banton said onstage, “People ask me: ‘Buju, don’t DJ “Boom Bye Bye” anymore..’ There is no end to the war between me and faggot.”

What the hell is Jamieson on? Just coffee? Perhaps if he fell off the wagon for a day or two, he might be able to discern the difference between an anti-gay slur and a murder threat.

CommentsRSS icon

maybe he's an ally in the war on teh gay?

or maybe he's high on god? dun dun dunnn!!

wait for it, wait for it... its a race thing. right? or is he being a crybaby?

btw, did you guys (the stranger) send anyone to the show? i'm interested to know if this whole saga added fuel to buju's on-stage homofire.

If only Skrewdriver were still around. He could have a fundraiser to fight the "PC Police", and they could headline it.


What about the myriad of American songs containing "kill the faggot" lyrics? Why do those get a pass?

There have been University Conferences on the hatred and homophobia in Hip Hop.

But you attack only Buju. Yes Buju is bad, but he's no worse than Ice-T.

Get a fucking clue dude. You're self-rightous anger looks really lame Charles. There are tons of homophobic American performers with "kill the faggot" albums in the stores.


You have got to be the biggest dickhead the Stranger has ever employed.



Hurray for productive arguments...

hey Charles, i thought the aricle you and Sarah wrote about this was very well done, the Neumos folks deserved a fair representation at the end of the day, and you 2 provided that, so thanks!

just for the record: most of us didn't fully know the picture of Banton's current anti-gay crusade until yesterday, and i didnt know about the beating incident until this morning when someone posted about it.

i dont know if the end result of all of this was a good one. BB played a show in Seattle and got paid any rate, its over now right?

i think it is great that the Stranger provides this forum for people to discuss these issues. the actual healthy dialog and debate (however sparse it is on these threads) can be informative and good. is it just me, or does it seem like the people who actually sign their own names are the only ones actually saying anything? it does command a bit more respect to be honest about who you actually are...just my opinion though, please dont pig-pile on me.

oh yeah, and Sober people are rad, leave em alone Charles, ya bully


All of these angry reggae people are all worked up because some practicioner of their BORING genre got moved to another club.

All the songs sound EXACTLY THE SAME, so it must be that they really like the anti-homo lyrics.

Faced with Banton's visit, these cultural arbiters had a knee-jerk reaction, squashing dialogue or debate.

Uh, WTF? Debate and dialogue have been absolutely RAGING here on the very blog Jamieson castigates.

I haven't been reading his columns very long (maybe 3 months) but it seems that most of his stories are lifted from seattle-related blogs (metrobloggingseattle, Seattle Livejournal community, seattlest, slog). Does he think that people who read the PI don't own computers? I can picture him with multiple browsers open on these blogs, constantly hitting 'refresh'. How uninspired.

Anyway Charles it's so refreshing to read some else who hates sober people as much as I do. The whole "recovery" crowd in Seattle is so boring and Jamison is a perfect example. AA and sobriety has got to be one of the most damaging things to ever happen to America. The Stranger should really do and anti-AA anti-sobriety movement issue. That'd be so cool.

Sober assholes and AA types suck. Jamison is your typical idiot. He can't even grasp the difference between a song that says "kill the faggot" and one that says "kill the bitch" or "kill the cop".

Everyone with half a brain knows there's a big difference between "kill the bitch" and "kill the faggot".

And yes there are tons of American Hip Hop songs about "kill the faggot". But American performers know how to put the words in context. Inbred Jamaican illiterates are too stupid to do anything except roll their next fatty.

Ah, good morning. Thought Buju would go Bye Bye today on the Slog. No such luck, but in my sober clarity, I will defend Charles' side, but just briefly.

In Charles' defense, I think many have been missing Charles' more subtle point. Buju didn't just write a homophobic song about the murder of homosexuals...Buju wrote one calling for specific acts of violence, and seems to continue to stand by it. And, while his American fans don't seem to be rushing out do kill the 'fags', there is at least some evidence that Buju has been involved in at least one seriously violent gay-bashing incident. So if you are going to bring up the "tons of homophobic American performers with 'kill the faggot' albums" then you should be specific, and compare the performers' current stances and actions with those of Buju. I think the point Charles is making is that Banton rises to a level beyond the "I ain't a fag, those parts don't fit" sort of lyric to the actual promotion of gay-bashing backed by his actions of doing it. There is a difference.

That said, I am a Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jenings, Willie Nelson fan. I also love a lot of North African music. This, and many other sorts of music contain many references to ideas I don't support, and the performers definitely have different ideas than I on a whole range of topics, homosexuality included. But I still like the music. And though I can sometimes be found blasting Motley Crue, I never actually shout at the devil. Someone can be a Buju fan and hate homophobia, and Buju can talk about killing fags all he wants without anyone following his lead. But there is a difference between early 90's rappers and Banton. If you can't at least figure that out you are quite dull.

Charles, what does Jamieson's alcoholism have to do with his opinion of Buju? Why even bring it up? Sure, he can be sort of daffy sometimes (praising Mike McGavick for his "candor" was just plain weird), but to drag his drinking problem to discredit him is really low.

How lame of the Stranger. Resorting to an ad hominem attack while not addressing what Jamieson said. Also, he's right: you would have been orgasmic over this act if he would have criticized the Right or Jesus-freaks. Get over yourself.

Here's a lyric from a popular American Hip Hop song:

You gay ass fag, I'll blow you to ashes with tactics

I'm probably dense but to me that doesn't sound like the performer wants a date at to watch the pride parade. It sounds like killing a fag by blowing holes in his body with a sawed of shotgun.

Here's a list of American performers who have songs about killing fags, shooting fags, raping fags, and shoving cactus up the asses of fags.

I will tell you how Jameison's opinion relates to his sobriety. It is this notion that a person has reformed when he has become "more spiritual" or "nonviolent." But neither of these attitudes have much to do with reality. Life is killing. Life is consuming. Life is flesh, concrete substance, alcohol, bread and sex. They are the very things that make us go.

charles, you really have no class. because someone points our your hypocrisy and inconsistency, and you can't really address his arguments, you resort to name calling? ex-drunk?! i think you owe him and your readers an apology.
why don't you address the fact that the stranger praised this guy a few years ago? why don't you address the fact that a lot of other performers have equally offensive lyrics, but they perform on the hill with no objections from the stranger?

Jameison is one of these sober assholes from the creepy "recovery community" that is ruining Seattle. Charles, Jameison is beneath you really. I'm just glad The Stranger is finally speaking out against these AA asshole and "spiritual" sober creeps.

If Jameison brags about being sober he has no one but himself to blame for been called on his stupidity. This issue has everythig to do with sober people being creeps. I'm glad Charles attacks Jameison for his sobriety. It takes balls but Charles is a great writer and fierce too.

Hmm. Charles says:

"about The Stranger’s denouncement of a popular dancehall star, Buju Banton"

But of course it is not the denouncement of Buju that is unsettling, but rather the call to shut down his show entirely.

Sarah Mirk angrily claims* that only Charles Mudede called for the censorious cancellation. Charles continues to imply that the call to shut down an artist's performance for political reasons was that of The Stranger at large.

Which is it?

* The links supplied at the end of individual comments don't work properly— if you want to link to a specific SLOG comment, edit the link to end with, e.g., story_title.php#c123456 instead of story_title.php#comment-469736

Here's a letter I just wrote to Jamieson:

Mr Jamieson,

The Stranger reports this week that This past Memorial Day, the Miami New Times reported that Banton said onstage, “People ask me: ‘Buju, don’t DJ “Boom Bye Bye” anymore..’ There is no end to the war between me and faggot.”

That doesn’t sound like the words of a man who has undergone a spiritual transformation, regardless of how his music has changed. This sounds like a repeated call to violence towards gays, and one that Banton insists on repeating a decade after he wrote the song advocating for shooting faggots in the head. So how is it mere political correctness not wanting this man coming to the center of the gay district of Seattle? And what is the debate/dialogue we’re supposed to be having here?

Your article hints at a kind of subtle racism going on here by the gay community not wanting Banton on their turf – that because the man is black he’s subsequently getting his free speech rights violated. Well, the gay community was up in arms about Eminem and his homophobia and tends to call every artist on their own words and actions. I applaud the community for standing up for their right to not be threatened on their own ground.

The irony is that Banton still got to play, got paid twice and didn’t have his hate-speech rights violated. Bully for him.

The sad thing is that you seem to think it’s still okay for people to advocate violence against gays. PC police indeed.

Here's the text of an email I just sent off in response to Mr. Jamieson's commentary:

Mr. Jamieson,

I read your editorial comment appearing in this morning's PI ("This
time, the PC police may have gone too far", Thursday, September 28,
2006) with great interest. Aside from making speculative conclusions
about the collective character of the people who exercised their
Constitutional rights of free speech with regards to the Jamaican
Dancehall singer, Buju Banton, your commentary omits and/or ignores
several key issues surrounding this person, his history, and his
present state-of-mind that are crucial to the debate.

Your assertion that Mr. Banton "has undergone a musical
transformation, producing songs about spirituality and non-violence
that have come to define his body of work" in no way counterbalances
the fact that he continues to express virulent homophobia, that he has
never publically apologized for his exhortations to commit violence,
and in fact continues to profit from a song that promotes such
violence. One only has to look at his recent acquittal last year of
charges that he participated in the brutal beating of a gay man in
2004 (while also noting the Jamaican law enforcement and justice
systems' well-documented institutional bias against such hate-crimes)
to see that his true attitudes have in no way changed, despite his
musical assertions to the contrary.

As point of example, while "Boom-Bye-Bye" was indeed written some
fifteen years ago, to-date Mr. Banton still continues to perform the
work, and furthermore, as recently a few months ago (during a concert
in Miami this past May, a portion of which is viewable online at:
publically stated, "There is no end to the war between me and faggot".
This is, as you say, "ugly, unconscionable", and should be
intollerable to anyone who believes in the principle of universal
human rights.

In your commentary, you make comparisons to groups such as NWA,
Eminen, et al, and I would agree with your point that the lyrics
contained within many of their songs is truly offensive. And in
instances where, like Mr. Banton, these groups or individuals
actively, personally (as opposed to an unsympathetic character
committing an act of violence within the context of a story being told
through song, for example) advocate committing violence against other
individuals, I also agree that people should vociferously object.
However, there is also a huge difference between "disparagement", for
example, calling someone a "n****r" or "f****t", and saying, as Mr.
Banton does "Guy come near we/Then his skin must peel/Burn him up bad
like an old tire wheel" which, along with other lyrics in the song
clearly advocate murder, torture and mutilation of individuals. I
would pose to you that, if this had been an instance of a white man
singing such words about blacks, there would have been an uproar in
Seattle's African American community equal to the one that occured
this week in the local GLBT community, and rightly so.

Finally, I would point out that, while there were in fact many
individuals who suggested to Mr. Severin that he cancel Mr. Banton's
appearance at Neumo's, the final decision to do so rested solely in
his hands. There was no horde of protestors outside his establishment
threatening to burn the place down, or haul him out and
tar-and-feather either himself or Mr. Banton. There were no angry
mobs setting piles of Mr. Banton's records or CD's on fire. Rather,
the preponderance of the messages that have been posted on the subject
called for a boycott of this and future Neumo's shows, a
Constitutionally protected act, and historically a completely
legitimate tactic, one used successfully by many constituencies over the years to combat similar instances of intollerance - of which I'm sure I need not remind you.

While you may choose to characterize this as "policing artistic
expression", it is most certainly NOT censorship. No one has abridged
Mr. Banton's right to sing "Boom-Bye-Bye", nor to continue to make his
hysterical homophobic statements. But, the people to whom his words
are aimed have an equal right to not have to listen to them, to
express their objection to them and to the person who sings them, and
to exert economic pressure on the businesses that promote and profit from them. That is exactly what happened, and Mr. Severin was put in the arguably uncomfortable, but nonetheless completely moral position of weighing the economic cost-versus-benefit of profiting in the short-term by allowing the show to go on as scheduled, against the long-term risk of alienating a significantly large portion of his patrons and other
business and residential neighbors in the community in which he does
business. In the end, his decision was based, as much if not more, on
economic and public safety considerations, than on artistic, aesthetic or moral grounds.

It is my sincere hope that one of the results of this episode is that
audiences WILL begin to listen to the words of their favorite artists
with a more critical ear, and that similar instances of such hateful
speech, regardless of who says them or to whom they are said against,
will no longer be tolerated in our community.

If not, it would indeed be "hypocracy" - liberal, conservative or otherwise.




As to the impression that the only worthwhile comments are ones with people's real names attached to them, I would politely observe that the people using their real names in the comments tend to be people who already have established reputations in Seattle's music world: e.g., Kerri Harrop, Dave Meinert, and yourself.

It is possible that such people use their real names in part because those names and reputations lend weight to their comments, in addition to motivations based in personal honesty an integrity.

Kwab said:

"is it just me, or does it seem like the people who actually sign their own names are the only ones actually saying anything? it does command a bit more respect to be honest about who you actually are"

Precisely why I've always made a point of doing so. I'm not afraid to stand behind what I say, and I'm not afraid to engage in honest, heartfelt debate. I don't mind if people don't agree with what I say, and if they can defend an opposing or alternate point-of-view, all the better. I understand why some individual may not feel comfortable putting themselves out there in the same manner, but they have to realize their unwillingness or inability to own their words leaves their credibility, however sincere or forthright it may be, in question.

Trolls on the other hand, are just gnarly, repugnant little vermin, who, if they can't be bounced by moderators or kill-filed by posters, should just be ignored.

And away we.. go. People told me how stupid Seattle people are getting all upset and morally superior about dumb things.

The conservatives want to control song lyrics, and The Stranger wants to control song lyrics.

Waaah...Waaah... We need a nanny state that prevents people from hearing naughty lyrics in songs. Waaahh...Waaahh..I want to be the one who decides what music is politically correct.

Politically Correct thought police are so funny.

this is now the 15th post on this topic penned by stranger writers 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 subhest or are we just going to continue to read the same opinion over and over again?


Whether someone is "known" or not within a certain community is irrelevent.

I for one have absolutely no standing or reputation in the Seattle Music Scene; I would be surprised beyond belief if anyone in that constitutency besides a handful of personal friends and acquaintences would recognize my face, let alone my name.

It's all about having the balls/ovaries to stand by the conviction of your beliefs. I'm not afraid to take responsibility for what I say, nor to accept rebuke or correction when others point out my factual, logical or argumentative errors, nor to modify my beliefs accordingly when I'm shown to be wrong.

In the end, all I really have to stand on is my name and reputation, and so far as I'm concerned if I can't be proud of either, I have no business opening my mouth.

good point Robot Slave (if that IS your real name. Its fine with me if people wanna use pseudonyms. it does seem like some (not all) hide behind these names so they can do things like call my friend Kerri names, say shitty things that they wouldnt say without their identity masked and post dozens of spammy posts that you and i have to wade through to get to the real discussion...

but hey, its a free forum so that sort of thing is to be expected i guess.

keep on chooglin

Dear Kerri,

When you own or work for a publication with a blog site that allows commenting, then you can choose what you write about. Other considerations aside, if all you want to do is complain about what's being (or not being posted), you're certainly free to go out and start your own publication or online blog site.

Until then, be thankful you've been offered a forum to voice your opinions, rants, perspectives, et al.

Or, if being here and reading this, and responding to it is now so onerous to you, you could, you know - just stop.

comte: just wanting to know if there is any actual news on this topic, rather than the same opinion being said in different ways. seems like a pretty valid question, after 16 posts on the same topic.

it's not onerous at all. i am curious as to what happened last night. i had hoped that further commentary by stranger writers would offer something other than a repeat of what has been said.

asnd, i am indeed thankful for such a forum. hence my participation. community dialog and debate are key to a civilized and healthy society.

Why does Jamieson censor G n' R lyrics with "N-bomb" but sprinkle the term "Faggot" on his column?

"Although I don't condone everything musicians spew -- rap group N.W.A. extols gang rape, Guns N' Roses drops the N-bomb, Eminem disparages gays, KMFDM celebrates the gun -- I hold my nose and defend their right to say it."

"The alternative weekly touts itself as a champion of free speech and a pusher of artistic envelopes. "Hey, Faggot" was a catchphrase from Dan Savage's sex column."


Catalina beat me to the Skrewdriver reference. White power, baby. It's just free speech, right? Right?



That's harsh thing to call someone one on one, but to shout it from your media pulpit for general public to read?

Here's to the hope that this will someday come back to haunt you!


The issue kerri brings up is not that The Stranger is "a publication with a blog site that allows commenting," but rather that The Stranger is putatively a news-gathering organization, and as such is failing to do follow-up reporting on a story that its readership has expressed a great deal of interest in.

There are unanswered questions that a reporter could answer (though, as I never tire of pointing out, according to the masthead, The Stranger does not currently employ anyone with that title):

  • Were there any protesters at all outside the show?

  • Does Neumo's indeed have to pay the the cancellation fee, even though the show was relocated?

  • Was the song in question performed at the show?

  • If so, were there any homophobic comments overheard at or after the show?
  • It has been established that Buju still performs the song in question; has he expressed homophobia in any of his work since? Has he expressed homophobic opinions in interviews or appearances other than in response to questions about that specific song?
  • Is there any evidence that in the past 15 years the song in question has persuaded anyone to kill a homosexual? (OK, this one is a loaded question, so I'll stop now, but the others are legit, and unanswered.)

Wait a minute. When those cartoons that pissed off the Muslim world so badly a few months ago were all over the place (and in The Stranger, if I recall), didn't Jamieson rant that they were hurtful and shouldn't be allowed?

Well, we don't know for a fact that they're NOT working on a story dealing with those points at this very moment. All we do know is that they have elected not to post anything on the Slog. Maybe they want to save it for the print edition next week.

Oh, and the other thing we could infer is that nobody else posting here today went to the show either. Otherwise I presume at least some of your (legitimate) questions would have been answered by now.


Not going to the show was the first choice of action for the anti-cancellation brigade, and the second choice for the pro-cancellation armada. OF COURSE nobody here went to the show!

i believe mr. mudede was calling the stupid twit Jamieson an ex-drunk to comment on his belief, and that of a surprising number of people on the slog, that Buju has changed. i think the irony of it was lost on most of you.
and to all of you that wouldn't stand up to this bigot: fuck you! the gays in this community are your neighbors, coworkers, friends and relatives. most gay people move to seattle to get away from the bigotry of less progressive places. we come here to feel safe, accepted and embraced. to have this piece of shit, ignorant fuck come into OUR neighborhood, and into OUR community, is bullshit.
apparently those of you who object to the treatment (snicker snicker) of buju have never been called a 'fucking faggot' from the 4th grade on through high school. you've never been kicked, punched, harassed, beaten and berated, because your former community didn't much care for fags.

i will not go back. WE will not go back. this our community. straight, gay, dyke, tranny, queer, bi, and whatever kind of freak has found a home here. we will not be silent and passive as bigots try and come into our home and spread their hate. we will fight and we will win, with or without some of the members of the seattle community who have turned their back on us.
thank you to mr. mudede and the stranger for having the courage to fight for those that do not have a voice.

if mr. buju wants a war with fags so bad, he can have one.

Hmm, on second thought, "Get out there and protest the show" was the second choice for a lot of the pro-cancellation forces, though that impulse kinda seemed to evaporate once the thing was moved off of Capitol Hill, which is why I'm curious as to whether or not Schmader's threatened mob of angry sign-wavers showed up to chant slogans and be seen and so on.

still drunk:

I take it you went out to protest the show then, yes?

Could you tell us roughly how many protesters there were, and whether or not you succeeded in turning some people away from the show?

I smoked a fatty with a cute guy and danced all night to Buju's beats. It was a fun show. There were hot guys there and some gay men.

Everyone get over your binary thinking already! Music is powerful and brings people together - gay, straight, black, white and the rest of the rainbow.

Does a drumbeat have a political slant? Are certain chords more homophobic than other cords? Is a C# more racist than a Eb? Music is far, far, above all your petty politics. Music transcends. Some people won't listen to Wagner because Wagner was anti-semitic. But Seattle still hosts a Wagner festival. Fuckin' protest the Seattle Opera if you want to get upset about music.

If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. The Stranger decided to move Buju's dance party off Capitol Hill. That doesn't mean the rest of us can go to a sweaty, delicious dance party and have a great time.


Thanks for bringing up Richard Wagner who wrote several books detailing his hatred of Jews. I feel The Stranger should take a stand against Seattle Opera. Why should this Jew-hater have his music celebrated in our town?

I'm ready to say no to hatred and force Seattle Opera to cancel their Wagner festival. As a Jew, Wagner music is offensive.

shojoshberly. so sad.

Sad and lame. All this bullshit about a stupid Jamaican concert. Seattle is just as politically correct and stupid as people warned me it would be.

Well, Champagne, nobody's forcing you to stick around.


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