There is a pretty common thread among liberal singers who turn political. Let’s look at an example: Linda Ronstadt gave a one-night concert at the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas. Not having grasped the concept that fans prefer to hear singers sing and not bloviate about political issues, she dedicated her rendition of the Eagles song “Desperado” to “documentary” filmmaker Michael Moore. A bit miffed, the 4000-plus audience erupted in boos and catcalls. While some people cheered, a loud and upset percentage of the audience went beyond verbal protests and marched out of the concert. Some even clustered around the ticket office, demanding their money back. Anywhere between one-quarter and one-half of the audience left in disgust, depending on whose numbers you believe. But regardless of the number, no singer would feel comfortable watching a sizable percentage of her audience voting with their feet. Bill Timmins, the head of Aladdin Casino, made the decision to have Ronstadt escorted from the casino, and it is unlikely that she will ever perform there again.
It wasn’t the first time that Ronstadt had dedicated this song to Moore, but now she feels it is time to speak. “This is an election year, and I think we’re in desperate trouble, and it’s time for people to speak up and not pipe down,” she said. Then she followed up with a real stunner: “It’s a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I’d rather not know.”
Perhaps it’s time to make Linda the Left’s poster-girl for tolerance and acceptance. As Rabbi Daniel Lapin so eloquently pointed out, Ms. Ronstadt seems to feel quite comfortable bashing Christians:
What do you suppose might be the reaction if an entertainer would say, “It’s a real conflict for me when I find out someone in the audience is Jewish. It can cloud my enjoyment”? Or what if some politician had once announced, “It’s a real conflict for me when I find out that someone in the audience is homosexual. It can cloud my enjoyment”? Of course almost no entertainers or politicians would ever say anything as bigoted.
But singer Linda Ronstadt did. The point is, however, that she didn’t insult protected minorities like Jews, homosexuals, Moslems, or blacks. She insulted what she calls “fundamental” Christians. (Note to Linda: the term, if you must use it at all, is Fundamentalist.) To quote a line from the lyrics of your song “Desperado,” Linda, “Lighten up while you still can, don’t even try to understand.”
Naturally, Michael Moore jumped to Linda Ronstadt’s defense in an open letter to Bill Timmins. I’m sure you can guess one of the primary planks of his complaint:
What country do you live in? Last time I checked, Las Vegas is still in the United States. And in the United States, we have something called “The First Amendment.” This constitutional right gives everyone here the right to say whatever they want to say.
Yes, Michael, Linda does have the constitutional right to free speech, and she was well within her rights to dedicate this song to you, or to Chairman Mao and his little red book, or to anyone else she pleased. But what seems to escape both you and Linda is the concept that the every member of the Aladdin audience also enjoys the right to freedom of speech, and many chose to exercise that right. I guess liberals want freedom of speech for themselves, but are shocked and angered when the masses demand the same. We also saw evidence of this when the Dixie Chicks bashed President Bush while touring in Europe. They also fell back on the freedom of speech excuse, while failing to recognize that their fans had exercised the same right.
Here’s a free clue for Linda Ronstadt, the Dixie Chicks, and any other singer who aspires to be a political commentator: don’t assume that your fans shell out big bucks for your overpriced concerts because they want your political opinion. They come to enjoy your music and, if you’re cute, to watch you strut your stuff onstage. If you cannot control your comments between songs, at least have the intelligence to judge your audience and tailor your comments accordingly. If you fail to do this, don’t go whining to the press because of your own failings.
Just about every right has an attendant responsibility. Peggy Noonan calls this concept “paying a price for where you stand.” If you choose to swear at your mom, be prepared to get a mouthful of soap and a spanking from Dad. If you choose to call your boss a sheep pimp, you can reasonably expect to have a character defamation lawsuit leveled against you. If you choose to call in a bomb threat at your school, resign yourself to a ride downtown in a cop car and a possible suspension. If you choose to bash the President in an international forum, as the Dixie Chicks did, do not be surprised when some of your audience stops purchasing albums and concert tickets. If you choose to dedicate a song to Michael Moore, as Linda Ronstadt did, steel yourself to accept the result of angry and hostile fans.
But liberals have classically refused to accept the natural results of their free speech. Since people have different opinions about politics, religion, sports and numerous other issues, if you state strong opinions on these subjects, you cannot expect everyone to agree with you. Yes, you certainly have the right to speak your mind, but don’t be so boorish as to attempt to deny others the right to respond to your comments.
If you do, you are probably a liberal. After all, you are known by the company you keep.