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Being polite to Linda Ronstadt

It seems that you can make a very popular movie (apparently it was described in the New York Times as his best so far – could well be) without it being popular everywhere:

When singer Linda Ronstadt praised Michael Moore’s anti-war movie Fahrenheit 9/11 during a concert at the Aladdin hotel in Las Vegas, the audience walked out.

What’s more, hotel president Bill Timmins was in the audience and took action himself.

Says a spokeswoman: ‘Her suite was cleaned out, her things were collected and security escorted her. She wasn’t happy, but we were very polite.’

She might have been wiser to say a few nice things about Spiderman 2, which has been described by Mark Steyn as:

… the spinning, squirting, swinging antidote to the stunted paranoia of Fahrenheit 9/11

Showbusiness. You can please all of the people some of the time, and you can please some of the people all of the time, but …

30 comments to Being polite to Linda Ronstadt

  • Dale Amon

    I really like Linda Ronstadt’s material, and I still play it on a regular rotation along with Carly Simon, James Taylor and other folk and folk rock artists whose material I used to perform myself.

    What I find sad in many artists is their inability to move on. Yes, the late 60’s and early 70’s were a marvelous time: but it is gone. Yes, Viet-nam was none of our business: but Ho Chi Minh had no desire to blow up NYC or to kill millions of American civilians whereas the people we face today, do.

    Linda and other artists got wild cheering by saying anything anti-war back then. I’d have been one of the ones cheering too.

    But then is then and now is now. One really must understand the difference.

  • MusselsfromBrussels

    This sounds like a strange story. The whole audience walked out over her endorsing a film?? Nobody in the audience liked the film? And then she was kicked out of the hotel? Again, this does seem a bit extreme reaction to a film endorsement, even if done “politely”.

  • Yank Girl

    Linda Ronstadt had a lovely voice and I liked her style. I only wish that artists would do what they do best and leave their politics aside. I am all for her and ANYONE else including my plumber the right to express their views but not on my dime.

    What many of these people forget (or maybe they just don’t care) is that about half of their audience/fan base do not share their ideology. I don’t want to know their ideology unless they are running for office.

  • Yank Girl

    To Mussels,

    Its not that it was a film promotion. Moore’s film was proven to be generally false though the artistic quality may be nice. This country is very divided and many see this film as propaganda for the Left and Kerry.

    Ronsdadt equated Moore as a “Desperado” a heroic character against all odds evil when many have the opinion he is just another opportunist and a lying sack of sh**. Endorsing the film makes a huge (albeit idiotic) political statement. Why can’t these people just shut up and sing?

  • Richard

    There’s a little more to this story. I think about half or more showed their disapproval within the audience, and a few cheered. Outside, her posters were torn down and defaced by exiting audience members, and at least one through champagne on one of the posters. It seemed to be quite a disturbance.

  • Julian Morrison

    This whole event worries me. Specifically, the uncivility of the response. It smells of McCarthyism.

  • Customer dissatisfaction is not McCarthyism. Government looking for enemy foreign agents in all the wrong places (and – by accident – a right place or two) is McCarthyism.

  • Guy Herbert

    But the extension of misplaced government paranoia into civil society also comes under the rubric of McCarthyism. There were plenty of people not investigated by the state who lost non-government jobs in the 50s on the basis of suspected political belief.

    What this really smacks of, though, is traditional 00s corporate cowardice: small incident + little damage = hugely wasteful butt-covering overreaction.

  • Julian Morrison

    Guy Herbert : corporate cowardice is the dark side of “corporate ethics” – when every minor naughtiness requires sackcloth and ashes, public weeping apologies, and ritual suicide of the board, then companies are naturally inclined to be jumpy and preemptive.

  • Johnathan

    I take it you mean Mark Steyn, not Stein, Brian.

  • Dan

    People paid money to listen to her artistic performance. Her political views were not within the scope of her art.

    Imagine the trouble many of us would get into if we lectured a bunch of coworkers or customers with political or religious rants in the workplace. Should a performer like Linda Ronstadt or Sinead O’Connor be exempted from such a standard because they have a microphone in front of them.

    Free political speech allows anyone to stand on a soapbox and rant all they want. There is no requirement that your audience pay for the soapbox and a seat to listen. If Linda wants to give a free concert in Union Square and dedicate the performance to Michael Moore I would say “Free Speech” to anyone who objectes.

  • Dale: “Vietnam was none of our business”.

    How can you talk for ANYONE else but yourself? You collectivist pig!

    It was MY business, and it was the business of MANY rightfully concerned americans. If only Government didn’t interfere by monopolizing the military, forcing people to go there, and funding communist universities, all those concerned people could have defended Vietnam more successfully against communist terrorism.

  • Yank Girl

    Smells like…. *sniff sniff* FREEDOM OF THOUGHT! McCarthyism my ass. In this age of rampant political correctness: to disagree with a chosen celebrity is like equating oneself to nazism (whatever that is). Maybe its time McCarthyism returned and got rid of some of you a**wipes.

  • Dale Amon

    As a musician (or perhaps former at the moment since I’ve not gigged in 5 years) I have to think about the audience as well as my own politics. I have to judge. The right patter to the right audience gets them excited about your performance. The wrong patter gets you lynched.

    It is perfectly okay to inject your politics into you art, because your art is what you are, and your beliefs certainly are a part of that. But the best way to do this for someone like Linda is through her lyrics. And even then, unless you know the audience, you want “Lay it, between the lines”, as Peter, Paul and Mary put it.

    I think she believed she had an audience of ‘former youths’ like herself who were still living in the past and she could get away with it. That was the mistake. The events of her youth are not comparable to the events of today and most adults recognize it. Today’s icon is not a burning child running in a far off land; it is an american airliner, full of americans, ramming an american building in the center of an american city and murdering thousands of american men, women and children.

    There really is a difference.

  • Dj Walker-Morgan

    Well, first, the audience didn’t walk out.

    And second the management action seems to be possibly more to do with the take over of the Aladdin….


  • Aelfrith

    So what if Michael Moore’s a propagandist for Kerry and the Left, he’s a capitalist genius. He’s seen a niche in the market and made a million. He’s got a good product that does exactly what it says on the packet, an anti-Bush, anti-war, pornographic orgy. You pay for what you get, to have your prejudices confirmed or to be offended. He’s even kept his costs low by rehashing a load of existing material that he’s recorded from the tv and instead of spending millions on a vast promotional campaign like Spiderman 2, let news spread via word of mouth, newspaper reviews and indivduals like Linda Ronstadt.

  • Amelia

    Aelfrith- where have you been? Everytime I turn on the TV there is a F9-11 ad. Spiderman 2 ads have been sparse after opening b/c they do not need them. I have actually been thinking F9-11 must not be doing well b/c of all the ads and Moore’s recent ticket give away stunt in NYC where it should be doing well w/o hype.

    As far as Ronstadt goes, my understanding is that she’s a loon from way back. I find it funny that the left is so immature as to be shocked when ordinary people voice any dissent. You know they are thinking that the sheep should know their place.

  • Sandy P

    Ronstadt did it at all her concerts and got the same reaction.

    So she doesn’t care.

    San Diego-Union posted the story, that concert was after Vegas.

  • Verity

    Consumers rejecting a product – in this case Linda Ronstadt – is not McCarthyism. That anyone, especially a Samizdata regular, should be confused about this is baffling.

    Linda Ronstadt is indeed a loon from way back. She dated that weird governor from CA – can’t remember his name but he was a loony lefty.

  • David Beatty

    Verity, I’m pretty sure it was Jerry Brown.

  • GCooper

    Amelia writes:

    “I find it funny that the left is so immature as to be shocked when ordinary people voice any dissent. You know they are thinking that the sheep should know their place.”

    Precisely. And exactlly the same applies to Elton John who was kicking this particular football for all he is worth (ie not much) last week.

    Like so many on the Left, these people inhabit worlds where A/ No one ever disagrees with them to their faces and B/ No one holds any but champagne socialist views.

    They are shocked to the cores of their shrivelled little souls when they enounter anything other than fawning agreement.

    Their pampered, bloated egos won’t allow them to even consider the prospect that audiences rejecting their juvenile political opinions could possibly be expressing a genuine reaction. Ergo, it ‘must be censorship’.

  • Deuce

    Well said, Amelia and GCooper. And yes, La Ronstadt dated Jerry Brown aka Governor Moonbeam, former California gov, currently Mayor of Oakland, California, and alas older but no wiser.

  • flaime

    GCooper: I’ve kind of followed the story, and Rondstadt never said anything about censorship. And she has been praising Moore at concerts all season.

    Yank Girl: So you must really hate Rage Against the Machine then…

    From what I have seen, Rondstadt says she was never forced to leave the hotel. And that she wasn’t told there was any problems resulting from her comments. I don’t think it would be unusual for her not to notice people leaving, and I’m not really sure she would care.

  • DSpears

    Joseph McCarthy was a lot closer to the truth than any of his critics. At least that’s what the KGB archives say…..

    “……but Ho Chi Minh had no desire to …..kill millions of American civilians …..”

    No, just his own, which he did.

  • Dale Amon

    Whatever you might say about Ho Chi Minh, I don’t think ‘he killed millions of his own people’ would be among them. That happened next door in Cambodia, and the Vietnamese, to their credit, were the ones to intervene and stop the carnage. Or at least replace it with a carnage level which must have seemed positively peaceful to the average Cambodian.

    I am not aware of any mass starvations there; there probably were large numbers of people eliminated after Saigon fell, but although bad, hardly enough to let the leadership enter the esoteric ranks of the true ‘statesmen’.

    What Ho and Giap gave Vietnam was not mass murder… just mass poverty and rather meagre civil liberties.

    I’d not want to live there but I could certainly come up with far worse versions of the Workers Paradise.

    Ho just does not make it into the 20th Century’s Top 10.

  • Guy Herbert

    […]the Vietnamese, to their credit,[…]

    Very true, and they didn’t get any. They got a shooting border dispute with China (OK, not news for a couple of thousand years) to discourage any further adventurism, and Pol Pot got to keep the UN seat and diplomatic recognition by the enlightened West for years.


    Consumer choice is sovereign, and ought to be, in the marketplace. But it that does not make it inherently virtuous. Plenty of consumers choose things that we would agree are undesirable, or for bad reasons.

    A consumer’s rejection of a product can be motivated by McCarthyism, and I think that’s just as discreditable a motive as a more conscious boycott of some good on anti-capitalist grounds. One is entitled to chose ones own motives (as far as one can) of course, but don’t expect me to admire anyone for joining a mob, rather than making their choices on the basis of rational evidence and personal taste.

  • Verity

    Guy, If a performer I had paid a not insignificant sum of money to see perform live chose to step outside her role of entertainer and began to slag off my political beliefs, I would get up and walk out. If half the audience was similarly repelled and also rose and walked out, this would not constitute a mob.

    Why are you assuming that the 50 per cent or so of the audience who walked out did not do so “on the basis of rational evidence and personal taste.”?

  • Guy Herbert


    My comments were quite general, and I assume nothing about the particular case. I wasn’t there and have no way of judging the mood of the audience. You said “consumers rejecting a product … is not McCarthyism” and I was saying (parallel with my rejection of Allen K Henderson’s over-narrow definition of McCarthyisim as the action of government agents further up the thread) that it could be.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever attended a public performance or event where a speaker did not at some point treat my personal beliefs with contempt, so maybe I’ve had tolerance forced upon me by being untolerated. It is like taking a service from a big company: you have to decide whether the benefits are worth the all the unwanted small print conditions.

  • Yank Girl

    Flaime asks “Yank Girl: So you must really hate Rage Against the Machine then…”

    Dear Flaime,

    “Hate” is such a strong word. How can I hate something/someone I don’t know. Pity comes more to mind. They always seem so angry and irritable.

    Flaime, I do have good taste in musica and NO I don’t sit around and listen to old gospel tunes and play the harmonica. I’ve listened to RATM…fine artists, good music but their “message” makes my head want to explode. Now, if I refuse to buy their music am I censoring their “free speech”?

  • Mark C

    This report is bullshit.


    [Editor’s note: actually following the link *you* provide, that indicates the report is not ‘bullshit’, just not *entirely* correct]