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“If you’re a socially engaged consumer, the past year of pop culture might have left you despairing over how to spend your money ethically. Do you forswear Yeezys to protest Kanye West’s dalliance with President Trump? Did you refuse to watch “Camping” to signal your disapproval of Lena Dunham’s since-rescinded defense of Murray Miller, a writer for her show “Girls,” who has been accused of sexual assault? (He denies the allegation.) And given the range of behaviors that have prompted #MeToo revelations, how should audiences distinguish between Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None,” Louis C.K.’s comedy and Harvey Weinstein-produced movies? It would be easy to default back to separating the art from the artist, simply to avoid being overwhelmed, or because you feel boycotted-out.
But if you’re looking for the definition of a worthy case for a boycott, you’ll find it in Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” miniseries, which concluded last weekend, and the long-running #MuteRKelly campaign. The R&B singer has become a prime example of how wealth can buy apparent impunity. He secretly married the singer Aaliyah when she was 15; was tried, though not convicted, on child pornography charges; reached at least five settlements with women over sexual-misconduct or domestic-violence allegations; and in 2017 was accused of running a coercive sex cult by the mothers of some of the women who were in relationships with him. Throughout, he has maintained his innocence, even in a recent, 19-minute track titled “I Admit.”
As I wrote in 2017, after that last story broke, it’s one thing to have some portion of a ticket sale go to an artist you disagree with politically, and another thing to know that the money you’re spending on art may well be underwriting misconduct. The organizers of the #MuteRKelly pressure campaign put it even more bluntly: “Radio spins = Club spins = Concert bookings = Cash to pay for his crimes.””
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."