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Mixing Pop and Politics # 2 – We’ve Nothing But Total Respect for Annie Lennox

There is nothing wrong with one having convictions. (Well, morally at least. Actual convictions can tend to have a ruinous impact on one’s life, as Boy George is about to find out. And it’ll mean when he sings his most famous song, he’ll be telling fibs. Singing about not having convictions without conviction when he does indeed have convictions. I’m confusing myself here.) And there is fundamentally nothing wrong, nothing at all, about supporting causes you feel passionate about. But sometimes can who you are rather upstage the point?

Annie Lennox is a case study here. She appeared at the weekend, ‘leading calls for the end to Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip’ according to the BBC. And my first reaction was, as it always is when I see a musician doing something like this, why has the news picked her to be the spokesperson here? Was there no activist or protest organiser available? Why does having hits twenty years ago qualify you to speak on complex political issues?

Now, ELM is an avowedly apolitical website and will remain so. This is not a debate about who is right and who is wrong in this situation. It’s just impossible not to find it a little patronising when pop stars tell you what to think.

Oh, okay then; certain pop stars.

Annie Lennox has always struck me as a tool. The blatant self-regard, the style over substance image, being that close repeatedly to Dave Stewart and not stabbing him…the list is endless. The last few years, however, have seen her move into a whole new level of tedious drone. For a start, she no longer sees herself as a pop star, nor even a musician; no, these days La Lennox regards herself as a ‘humanitarian’. Nobody who isn’t in some form of showbusiness would ever regard themselves as that. Missionaries, fundraisers, Medical volunteers, people who build wells for drought-hit African villages, people who drive trucks laden with aid through dangerous territory to poverty stricken areas…….they are humanitarians. And even THEY wouldn’t describe themselves as that. It’s juts one of those tautologies. No-one who would describe themselves as a humanitarian can actually be one.

This may look a bit uncharitable, and frankly it is. I’m sure she means well, and in the final analysis, it doesn’t do any harm. the counter-argument is that it helped generate more publicity. But did it really? This is the number one story in the world right now – well, it would be if we weren’t so shallow and Celebrity Big Brother hadn’t started – so what did it do? Add that sheen of celeb?

The fact is, Annie Lennox may feel she saves the world one bit at a time. But if she really wants to do something useful, she could change her actual job rather than just a title. Till then, it’s self-indulgent posturing. Real people combine jobs with making a difference; she could too. But while it’s merely about making her feel like a ‘humanitarian’ then its pretty safe to say that she won’t.


3 Responses

  1. Seeing her at the weekend made me consider moving to an illegal settlement in the West Bank and dedicating my life to the armed Zionist movement.

  2. She was always going to be walking on broken glass with this subject.

  3. Do you guys remember the comeback song ‘I Saved The World Today’? I thought it was ironic, I now realise it was her diary.

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