When Apparently Cool People Do Uncool Things
I grew out of the Beatles by my late teens, and although I can’t remember what sparked my interest in the Police, I do recall acquiring a copied “Best of…” cassette, which I played over and over again. Without having much interest or curiosity about the lead singer. The Police was one in a series of light and bright, kinda-funny, kinda-sad seventies pop that I enjoyed in those days, others being Abba and Simon and Garfunkel.
Sting hit my radar when he burst on the stage with the hit single “Desert Rose” in the late? mid? nineties- now the period of video clips and satellite shows. There was a time, it seemed, that you could hear and see Desert Rose everywhere, all the time. It pressed the right buttons. Sad reedy thin white man, exotic heavenly-voiced Arab man, lots of beautiful girls, lots and lots of sex… naturally, the white man rose to dizzying heights of superstardom, and everyone forgot about the Arab singer.
My downtown Tehran apartment graced with contraband satellite, I regularly watched old Police clips, matching them to the cassette songs of several years ago, and I liked what I saw. “Ugly-pretty” (joli-laid) a critic called Sting, and the epithet appealed to me. Without inspiring any of the “chill” I later found in my favourite music, Sting and his songs sat comfortably on my top-ten list throughout those years.
To be honest, he could have still been there, as there is no denying the cold beauty of the songs “Shape of My Heart” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger”. But then, the stupid greedy ignorant git (as the British say) went to Uzbekistan and sang songs for the dictator’s daughter, a sweet man known for burning citizens in oil and child slave labour.
So now, despite myself, whenever I hear the tuneful bells which seem to ring in his most-played songs, something in me goes ick.
Despite myself, I say, as in general, I fall into the “don’t judge” camp when it comes to artists and their misdeeds. After all, I argue, I don’t know the details and the circumstances; I have only heard a slanted media version; there are far worse things going on in the world; and people shouldn`t generate news just because they happen to be good singers/film directors/actors/whatever. In this case, I hadn’t even heard of the dictator and his daughter, before I heard Sting had sung for them.
It’s the deep hypocrisy which turns me off. Going on and on about yoga and standing on his head and living the good, pure life, portraying such a benevolent, wise, know-it-all figure (I had the misfortune to watch him on Oprah – as nauseating as the dictator thing). And then to do something like this. What a mullah. His breath reeks to heaven and back to his designer, diamond-studded yoga mat. Go away Sting. The shape of your heart is a reeking dollar sign.
photo credit: Getty. downloaded from: http://www.unfreemedia.com/europe_central_asia/images/europe/uzbekistan/Uzbekistan%20regime%20Sting.png