Wednesday, April 01, 2015

4.2.15 Jesus, Etc.

This article originally appeared in the 4.2.15 issue of Metroland.


            So, the demented clown car that is the Republican, Christianista, fascist, hate-mongering right wing has had its karma chickens come home to roost.

            This is what happens when dark money fills up state legislatures with fake-conservative stooges, who redistrict the state to insure an anti-democratic stoogist hegemony for years to come, supported by a distinct minority of uneducated morons who are whipped into a lather by fake, big-lie “news” outlets controlled by the same sources of the dark money that put the stooges in office.  The issues that the fake news outlets peddle are all fear-based and phony, and the morons believe them and cling to their Bibles and guns and support the stooges who dutifully enslave the morons by quietly stripping them of their financial well-being in the name of “freedom.”  Welcome to Indiana.

            It’s beyond sickening.  A law called “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act” which is nothing more than a license to engage in wholesale discrimination.  Signed in a closed ceremony where Governor Mike Spence, Stooge-In-Chief, refused to identify the handful of lobbyist-attendees, some of whom were notorious anti-gay zealots.  Then we see Pence feigning outrage that anyone would consider the law as a portal to discrimination, cowardly playing the victim of “outside hostility”, and lying repeatedly about the law and its effects.  He even invoked a visit he made to Selma to try to prove that 1 plus 1 equals 3.  Some have suggested that Pence is just stupid.  I won’t give him that benefit of the doubt.  He is evil.  He is a stooge.

            To make this even more insidious, all of the major Republican presidential candidates have rushed to his defense, as have all of the right-wing fake news outlets.  And much of the mainstream press has presented the debacle in the sickening light of “false equivalence” that maybe there are two sides to this story.  There’s not.  There is nothing but hate, fear and greed cloaked in un-American, un-Christian dogma. 

            And in that delightful Southern tradition of shooting yourself in your big ol’ white-trash foot, the Arkansas legislature rushed through an identical bill, as if to say (insert pathetic southern accent here) “ain’t no gott-damn libruls gonna tell us what to do down hee-yah.”  Let’s break out the Bud Light, Skoal and Crisco and have a party!

            But, amazingly, there’s been push-back.  Big conferences scheduled for Indiana have been cancelled, huge corporations like Apple and Wal-Mart have gone public with criticism. Yes, I said Wal-Mart.  State and city governments have banned travel to Indiana, including New York and Connecticut.  Massachusetts is apparently just watching, with its newly-elected Republican governor not raising a finger against his Super-bowl betting buddy Gov. Pence.  Come on, man.  Grow a pair.  You won the bet.  Make it hurt.

            And then there’s Wilco, who canceled a May concert in Indianapolis in protest.  One wonders why more acts haven’t done the same thing.  A quick look at Pollstar shows plenty of shows coming to the hate-state, among them: Weezer, Imagine Dragons, Rihanna, Passion Pit, Neal Diamond, Chick Corea, Surfjan Stevens, Big Sean, Arlo Gutrie, Kenny G…  Maybe they’ll say something on stage.  Maybe.  The delightful Audra McDonald, who’s got a couple Indiana shows coming up, slammed Gov. Pence on twitter (“Some in my band are gay & we have 2 gigs in your state next month. Should we call ahead to make sure the hotel accepts us all?”) and then announced she’d donate the money she made in Indiana to the Human Rights Campaign.

            One wonders what kind of a haircut Wilco is taking by cancelling the gig.  They were going to play the 2500 seat Murat Theater in Indianapolis with tickets priced from $30-$50.  So let’s assume a gate of around $100,000, most of which would go to Wilco.  And then there’s lost merch sales.  There was probably a substantial deposit (often 50% of the guarantee) that will have to be returned.  And the promoter is out-of-pocket for hall rental, promotional expenses, and the like for which Wilco will be responsible.  Or will they?

            There is a standard performance contract clause, with the fancy name of the force majeur clause, that excuses each party from any obligations to the other under certain circumstances that would render the show “impossible, infeasible or unsafe.”  My favorite circumstance is the performer’s “inability to perform.”  Imagine.  The other circumstances include things like acts of God, civil insurrection (cool!), explosions, fires, bad weather, labor strikes, and “act(s) or regulation(s) of any public authority or bureau.”

            Could Wilco prevail claim that the passage of Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act made its performance in Indianapolis “infeasible” (which means not possible to do easily or conveniently) so it can invoke the force majeur clause?  When all these other acts are willfully doing their shows?  Maybe Wilco should invoke the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act and say that its religious beliefs make performing in a state with such a law infeasible.  That’ll show ‘em.

Paul Rapp is a local entertainment attorney who has no religious beliefs to speak of.


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