I occasionally feel sorry for celebrities. Sure, they have the multimillion dollar homes and fabulous yachts, and getting a table at Le Meurice or tickets for the Super Bowl is never a problem–but in other ways, the very fact of their fame puts them at a tremendous disadvtange. For one thing, celebrities–after years of being told that everything they do is brilliant, important and brave–develop very healthy egos, which has the unfortunate side effect of making them think they’re a lot smarter than they really are. That’s how you end up with Russell Brand waxing on about the wonders of socialism and Rosie O’Donnell tweeting about the presidential line of succession. Neither one of them have the slightest idea what they’re talking about–they just think they do because they’re famous.
Because of that, it’s easy–not to mention fun–for internet nobodies like me to pile on them when they say something stupid. It gets a little harder, though, when a celebrity means well but just gets caught out of his or her depth. This brings us to Katy Perry, who had the misfortune of being a guest on Elvis Duran’s radio show when he asked her about the Manchester bombing.
DURAN: The first thing I thought of this morning was, I just want to go to a concert. I just want to prove to the world that we need to get together and have festive get-togethers like your tour that you just announced. What are your thoughts on that?
PERRY: You know, I can’t tell anyone else how they should feel, but I just feel devastated
DURAN: Yeah. So you should. We all should. It’s a sad thing. People getting together for what is supposed to be the elevating show. And you know, they will continue. They will happen.
PERRY: Besides like all the weird stuff that goes around the Internet, which is, y’know, sometimes a great place but an absolute, y’know, underbelly mob-pit of horribleness, I think, like, the greatest thing we can do now is just unite as people, as like, fan bases, all of it, y’know? Cause I think, like, there, like, as much, y’know, whatever we say behind people’s backs, cause the Internet can be a little bit ruthless as far as fan bases go but I think that the greatest thing we can do is just unite and love on each other and like, no barriers, no borders, like we all need to just co-exist.
DURAN: True. And what happened last night gives us all the more reason why we need to have big, fun concerts.
PERRY: Absolutely. Absolutely.
DURAN: It’s kind of interesting how that works out. They try to ruin one, but actually it makes the ones in our future more important.
I know, I know, there’s some epic ignorance in that exchange, perhaps enough to rupture the fabric of space and time with its asininity. I’ll get to that in a moment–but for now, like Michael Moore on his eighth swing through the all-you-can-eat buffet, I’m gonna see if I can pick a few chunks of meat out of this conversational stew.
First: The idea that the answer to Islamic terrorism at a concert is more concerts–it’s not a bad one. In the past, when jihadis attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris for its satirical depictions of Islam, free speech advocates said that the best response was for even more media outlets to run the same kind of material. Not only would this give a big middle finger to the terrorists, it would also be a bold statement that the culture would not be cowed by violence. Carrying on with more concerts sends a similar message.
Second: Unity is important. One of the biggest weaknesses of the Western world these days is our fragmentation. Liberal vs. conservative, male vs. female, black vs. white, gay vs. straight–we’re all being set at each others’ throats by cynical politicians and a media that profits handsomely from all the rancor. So while Perry clumsily frames the issue in terms of popular music fan bases, the message itself is a positive one. I’d hate to be so jaded by politics that I would ignore that.
Now, on to the less-than-enlightened stuff.
Katy, the very reason we have so many of these attacks in the West–particularly Europe–is because a ruling class that is increasingly disconnected from ordinary people has been steadily erasing borders for decades now. That same ruling class believes they can make up for low birth rates in native populations by importing millions of people from cultures that don’t share the same values of free speech and self determination that are the foundation of Western civilization. Those cultures have always clashed with our own–but the difference is that now, many of the people who would wage war against us are living among us. The ruling class let them in. And they are not interested in co-existence. They only want submission. That’s why they bomb concerts where your young fans go to hear you sing.
So while the idea of no borders and no barriers might sound idealistic to you, the reality is that open borders in a very real way led to this tragedy. And as long as we refuse to acknowledge that, we’re going to have more of them.
Music may not have boundaries, but here in the real world we need them. That’s not going to change just because your heart is in the right place.