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July 21, 2004



The NYTimes is not aware that Las Vegas is no longer "sin city" but actually a family destination.
Hearing an aging bimbo tell families who often have relatives serving in the armed forces to see a propaganda film that insults them and their beliefs is a bit too much...especially after a hard day gambling and a couple of beers...they didn't pay good money to be insulted. After all, usually the casino sponsors the act, and one reason you chose one casino over another is for the entertainment. So essentially this was a "captive audience"...
Now, if this was merly a concert, then I'd say differently.
If I go to a Dixie Chicks concert and hear them bashing Bush, at least I am aware that I might hear liberal politics.
If I go to a Michael W. Smith concert, I might know I will be told Jesus is Lord...
Hmmm...Do you think the NYTimes would editorialize if a bunch of Las Vegas customers had a near riot after a secular singer told them they needed to follow Jesus or go to hell?


Do you think the NYTimes would editorialize if a bunch of Las Vegas customers had a near riot after a secular singer told them they needed to follow Jesus or go to hell?

Absolutely - they would insist upon a strict separation of church and gambling.


"they didn't pay good money to be insulted"

When Don Rickles is in town, they do have that option...

Patrick R. Sullivan

Remember the immortal words of the famous political philosopher, Michael Jordan: "Republicans buy underwear too."

Jim Glass

"It implies there is a philosophical contract that says an artist must entertain an audience only in the ways that audience sees fit."

Considering the price of tickets, that entertainment contract might be considered a bit more than philosophical.


Entertainers offer a product to a market. Their entertainment product may include music (Ronstadt), music and dance (Britney), music and politics (U2), music dance and humor (Bette Midler), music dance humor and politics (Kinky Friedman), music dance humor and religion (BoneyM)etc.

The entertainer is perfectly within his or her rights to offer whatever mix of political and cultural content that he or she thinks the audience will enjoy. Or even not enjoy. Entertainers, like artists, occasionally seek to "challenge" their audiences, both culturally and politically. This can happen from a leftish entertainer who moves to the right (see Dylan's conversion to born-again Christianity in the late 70's) or, more often, apolitical entertainers who move left. Again, this is the entertainer's right.

Likewise, audiences have a right to reject the product offered them. They may reject the political content while applauding the cultural content or (less likely) vice-versa, but it is perfectly acceptable for an audience to voice its rejection, and to do so in a rude manner, because the relationship is primarily a commercial one in which the consumer is free to reject the product on offer.

If the Stones decide to open with a lame act, then the audience is within its rights to boo that act off the stage. If Bob Dylan decides to regale the audience with his dancing ability or harangue them about their personal salvation, then the audience is free to demand that he stop dancing or proselytizing and get back to singing. If the Chicks want to indulge in a little Bush-bashing, then the audience is free to engage in Chick-bashing.

When did entertainers assume the status of high priests?

And if the audience for the Dixie Chicks or U2 or whoever The relationship is purely a simply a commercial one in which one side offers a product and the other accepts or rejects that product.


That's shoes, not underwear, Patrick.


No peeking, I assumed Patrick meant Jordan's campaign for Hanes.

Now I've peeked - regardless of what Patrick meant, the consensus is "shoes". Or "sneakers".

OK, sym is back and better than ever.


Being an Atlanta Braves fan, I can attest that they weren't so forgiving in their editorials when it came to John Rocker's big mouth.

Inconsistency, depending on the message?

Who'da thunk?


"Isn't that wrong? Isn't the Times stifling the free speech rights of its very own reporters, on a daily basis?"

Now that's absurd. The New York Times is a news organization that is supposed to report the facts; its reporters are supposed to uphold that organization. If opinion is on the pages of a newspaper, it goes into the editorial sections.

You can have the opinion that she shouldn't be making political statements, but unless she violated some contract, she hasn't done anything wrong.


"Inconsistency, depending on the message?"

Are you referring to the comments he made about sitting next to a queer with AIDs and a punk with dyed hair, or whatever it was, on the subway in New York City? If so, then I imagine the editorial in The Times was critical because of what he said, not where he said it.


"OK, sym is back and better than ever."

Unlike a certain legendary basketball player...

J Mann

Didn't the NYT fire Andrew Sullivan a while for writing mean things about Al Gore?

I don't recall them worrying too much about his "right to express a political opinion" from the Sunday Magazine . . .


Hmmm . . . I read on his website that Michael Moore is calling this an abridgment of Linda Ronstadt's 1st Amendment right to free speech. That amendment is, specifically, designed to protect the press (or anyone, for that matter) from censorship _by_the_government_ (look it up, if you're not sure what it actually guarantees).

I don't recall anyone in Washington telling her she couldn't speak like that at her concert. Or Moore think that The Aladdin is the seat of our government?


Some newspapers are because it generates too many complaints. What about Trudeau's free speech rights?

And why won't *any* of them publish my letters to the editor?

It would be interesting to see the bold position taken by the Times when campus protestors routinely disrupted speeches by Reagan officials in the '80's. IIRC, the issue was the Contras.

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