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Miscellaneous - Pop Hypocrisy

  by Jon Rogers

published: 16 / 4 / 2012

Miscellaneous - Pop Hypocrisy


In 'Hitting the Right Note' Jon Rogers examines pop musicians' penchant for double standards and hypocrisy

Don't you just love it when the more pious and do-gooding pop stars end up with egg on their faces? The sort of Sting-like characters that pontificate on saving the rainforest whilst jetting around the planet. Well, this writer had to chuckle in outrage at the latest goings on of celebrity couple Chris Martin of Coldplay and Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow. According to the 'The New York Post', the couple were chauffered all of 0.06 miles to the Madeo restaurant after a party for Paul McCartney's new video 'My Valentine'. According to the report the restaurant was all of four doors away from the party. While other celebrity guests battled the terrible terrain and long distance on foot. our dynamic duo played it safe and took a car. Well, 0.06 miles is such a long way and you never know what might happen. Better not to take any risks. Okay, in some ways we can all snigger at this ludicrous example of rock star behaviour and there are other examples of stars being driven ludicrously short distances. Australian singer Kylie Minogue was, reportedly, driven all of 75 yards in a Lexus during the shooting of her latest video so she could get from one part of the set to another. Jeez, is it that these people think that walking is beneath them? But what really sticks in the throat is that both Paltrow and Martin have both publicly backed campaigns to protect the environment and, as far as I know, Minogue has not made any pro-environmental statements yet. So while Minogue might be very guilty of just being a very pampered and over-indulged pop star at least there's not the whiff of hypocrisy about her. A quick check on the charitable interests on Martin reveals that he's involved with some very worthy causes such as Oxfam, Mencap and War Child. Oh, and something called The Carbon Neutral Company. Martin's band, Coldplay, were made patrons of the environmental law organisation ClientEarth about 18 months ago and he's sung about global warming in songs. Paltrow, too, does lots of charitable activities, associated with the likes of UNICEF, The Prince's Trust and The Environmental Media Association. She's also appeared in public service announcements about the environment in the US. So. while lecturing the great unwashed masses on the dangers of needlessly polluting the world and destroying the environment. they're quite happy to ignore their own advice when it comes to their own lives and notch up their own carbon footprint even further. The message these people seem to be saying is: "Do as we say, not as we do." They seem to weaken their argument if they can't themselves abide by their own views. But to be fair, they are not the only ones to have the hypocrisy tag labelled on them. The former Police singer and frontman, Sting, and his wife Trudie Styler like to pontificate now and again about destroying the rainforest and how awful it is. Strangely though this is the singer who would enjoy flying regularly on Concorde and enjoying the high life with a glass of champagne. Nothing helps the cause of the rainforest than polluting the world with airplane fumes. And Ms Styler wasn't immune either. She once flew her entourage, including a hairdresser, by private jet from New York to Washington just so that she could go to a party. Years ago this writer once phoned up his publicist when working for a music publication, to ask: "Why if Sting is so concerned about the environment doesn't he print his albums on recycled paper?" The publicist was caught off-guard, flustered and spouted some waffle about not being able to get the printing right. Yeah, that's setting a good example to us mere mortals to follow. And then we have the likes of Bono and U2. The Irish singer does like to stick his nose in to whatever fashionable cause is going on that week. While, admirably, Bono has supported an array of worthy causes including the likes of Greenpeace, Amnesty International and the Red Cross. One particular cause close to Bono's heart is that of poverty and a close association with the ONE campaign. All very commendable but his track record is tarnished when you learn that his hugely successful band U2 are registered in Amsterdam, not his home country of Ireland, for tax purposes. Perhaps if the band paid their share of the tax to their homeland some of their countrymen and women might not be in quite such dire financial straits with the government having to resort to austere economic measures. One John Lennon, singer of 'Give Peace a Chance' and pacifist, supported the IRA and the violent opposition they held against so-called "British imperialism". The ex-Beatle offered to sing at an IRA fundraiser after being outraged by the events in Derry in 1972 that became known as 'Bloody Sunday' when 13 unarmed protestors were shot by the British army. He also held talks with leading IRA activists in New York and went on anti-internment marches. And let's not forget all that waffle on 'Imagine' about not needing possessions whilst the video pans round your extensive mansion and white grand piano. and then cuts to you and Yoko having a nice stroll in your grounds. You didn't try very hard to have no possessions. It's hard to justify Bob Dylan's concert in China last year. The one time protest singer who became famous for "speaking truth to power", and who had a long list of songs that questioned those in authority and their actions with titles like 'Masters of War', 'Blowin' in the Wind' and, later on, 'Hurricane' played a concert in a country with an appalling track record on human rights. Various newspapers pointed out that Dylan would only play an "approved content" set list and notably make no reference to the numerous dissidents languishing in Chinese jails. Ironically, as Dylan was playing the outgoing US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, was giving his farewell address on the subject of human rights, referencing the detention of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo as well as others. In diplomatic terms, the language used was markedly undiplomatic. The problem is that everyone of us is guilty of some lesser or greater degree of hypocrisy in our lives and we don't always live up to our moral or ethical standards .but the difference lies in the fact that the vast majority don't go around making public pronouncements on issues and adopt a holier-than-thou stance on issues. Why should any of us mere mortals have to take note of anything these people say when they can't even live up to their own standards?

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