Thursday, May 27th, 2010

M.I.A.'s New Protest Tactic: Inciting Prank-Call Flash Mobs

all i wanna do is ring a ring ring ringM.I.A. is apparently not happy with the profile of her in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, in which Lynn Hirschberg engages in a pretty meticulous takedown of the pop provocateur's cannily crafted image. (Sample line, in which M.I.A. is responding to criticisms that her overheated take on the Sri Lankan civil war is simplistic and damaging: "'I kind of want to be an outsider,' she said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry." There are also lots of descriptions of the clothing M.I.A. wears.) M.I.A.'s response to the profile: a Tweet containing a phone number and the message "CALL ME IF YOU WANNA TALK TO ME ABOUT THE N Y T TRUTH ISSUE, ill b taking calls all day bitches ;)" The winky? Is likely there because the posted phone number actually belongs to Hirschberg. This seems like a bit of a petulant stunt — not to mention something of a tacit admission that the piece maybe cut too close to the bone, no?

44 Comments / Post A Comment

deepomega (#1,720)

Listen. When you're an entrenched minority singer fighting a monolithic news organ, sometimes you have to resort to tactics that the bourgeois monday morning quarterbacks are going to call "unethical" or "terroristical". Make your peace with it.

saythatscool (#101)

My father was an editor with a monolithic news organ.

deepomega (#1,720)

How big was the masthead?

saythatscool (#101)

Big enough to make my mother share him with another byline.

deepomega (#1,720)

So you're saying he had a pretty big classified section.

saythatscool (#101)

He buried his lede often and deeply.

deepomega (#1,720)

I only hope he had the good sense to protect his sources.

saythatscool (#101)

There was only one source that could handle him, Deep Throat.

deepomega (#1,720)

Is there an equivalent to Godwin's law about threads on the internet about publishing and jokes about Deep Throat?

saythatscool (#101)

There is. I was struggling to come up with a printing joke about "harry reems of paper" and took the easy way out instead.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Meow meowing the wack catcher…

Mindpowered (#948)

Sheepishly, in Wolfe's clothing.

Renate (#360)

"'I kind of want to be an outsider,' she said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry."

I am stuck on that sentence.

Maevemealone (#968)

I stuttered at the following:
Gave birth in private room at Cedars Sinai
Bought a house in Brentwood
Interview held at Beverly Wilshire

Live a life of luxury, do what you want, but geez, lay off the weed and look around the room while raising your fist for the poors…

C_Webb (#855)

I kind of want to be a pomegranate, and I'm doing a better job than she is.

"When I grew up, I wanted to be a dinosaur."

libmas (#231)

I don't know much about M.I.A., but don't a lot of celebrities raise a fist for the poors while living lives of comparative luxury? Is this generally not allowed? Or is this a special case?

Brian (#115)

@libmas Yeah the story is fine and the cell phone thing is funny and good for both MIA and Hirschberg/NYT Mag, nothing to see here.

libmas (#231)

@Brian – I'm not that bright, so I can't tell if you're entirely serious. But I wasn't trying to comment on M.I.A.'s prank-call stunt, but rather on Maevemealone's criticism of her living luxuriously as she championed the poor.

Fredrick (#268)

Having read the whole article (or, all the parts I cared about), I can say that she is painted as a basically 'worthless human' who was driven to succeed and then did, and so it's like 'poor people shouldn't want her championing them' or something.

Maevemealone (#968)

I think everyone should be able to give birth in a private room at Cedars Sinai or wherever they want to. I guess or no doubt it was a joke when she said she was going to give birth crouched up against a tree like her grandmother? That's extreme and attention getting, and she got it.

I'm not anti success, very much pro success, pro making it big. Go for it, everyone. But I guess for having an image so funky and weird and rebel and Tamil Tigers RARRR! and all… her life is really just gated Brentwood country club banal?
I guess I at least thought maybe she'd live in a more interesting neighborhood, or drink in a more interesting bar, anything a bit less The Hills. Go M.I.A, I guess.

HiredGoons (#603)

'crouched up against a tree'

Maybe it was a cedar IN Sinai?

Miles Klee (#3,657)

as a non-fan i have been getting really smug about her recent implosive streak

Art Yucko (#1,321)


Backslider (#819)

I heard she really grew up in Scarsdale.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

I heard she and Ga.G.A. were neighbors in Yonkers?

La Cieca (#1,110)

My reaction to this story rhymes with "petulant stunt."

Bobby Womack (#4,074)

Eminence front? I love that song!

Crapulous runt. Ms. Mia, you're almost 33. This would be fogiveable if you were 21, but you're not.

She's married to a Bronfman, right? I thought gagoozillionaires had damage control PR people, or is the youngest generation beyond that? Just wait till she stages a kidnapping…

uh, "..foRgivable", though my typo sounds nice.

I heard she used to live on Tory Ln.

KarenUhOh (#19)

Bucky Dumb Gumflapper.

Ted Maul (#205)

Didn't she recently claim that she was pals with Tupac? Because her cousin "knew all the Bloods and Crips". Eh. The new album had better be good.

I heard she does stunts for Deepak Chopra in gay movies.

Crantastical (#4,127)

I can't believe this article didn't address the Ginger Genocide video.

Kate Croy (#973)

It gets burned: "at best, politically naïve."

Kate Croy (#973)

*Um ignore that, I missed semiserious' reply earlier.

Fredrick (#268)

Damn. Guess she got Bashir'd.

semiserious (#2,430)

It does: "As a meditation on prejudice and senseless persecution, the video is, at best, politically naïve." after calling it "exploitive and shallow."

Which, is totally correct, but also says that she didn't really have that much to do with the video and just kind of let the director do his thing.

KeithTalent (#2,014)

I didn't think it was a total takedown piece. However, I don't see why its necessary to write things like (paraphrasing) "Maya's mom was a seamstress for the Queen SAYS MAYA". Can't the NYT find out one way or the other? The "says maya" construction seems so lazy. It (or somehting like it) appears a few times. If you think she's full of it, find out for sure.

Or a snide way to say no proof or corroboration found.

KeithTalent (#2,014)

I can live with snide but it just seems kind of lazy. If Maya's lying by saying her mom worked for the Queen for 25 years, that's something people may want to know more about. Presumably LH had a few months to work on this.

Oh, and for those of you too young to know, or too drug-induced senile to remember, about the Sam Bronfman kidnapping, here's a little info:,9171,913409,00.html

The best part of which is:

The crime jolted a family long accustomed to the luxurious living that wealth affords-a world of multiple estates, private aircraft and gracious entertaining in a circle of New York's theatrical, intellectual and political elite. Edgar Bronfman, 46, owns a $750,000, 174-acre estate in Yorktown, some 35 miles north of New York City in Westchester County,

Read more:,9171,913409,00.html#ixzz0pA8yRnBw

Nyuk nyuk. $750,000 for a Westchester estate. This is now a two-bedroom in Astoria, right?

Jeff Barea (#4,298)

It was still funny listening to her tv while she fumbled to cancel the phone.

Totally should have kept yelling out redrum redrum…

Also, still don't like any of you.

Someone tell Foster to tell Brian I think he writes cute stuff…

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