Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: Obama’s #FiascoGate And A Drone Poem By Michael Robbins
Who the hell booked Lupe Fiasco for an inaugural event celebrating Obama? Whoever it was, I bet they wish they did a little googling first, because this (first posted June, 2011):
A few weeks ago, the political right criticized President Barack Obama for having Common, a Chicago-native rapper, to the White House for a poetry reading.
Now, the situation’s turned on its head, as a Chicago rapper is attacking the President for being too far right in his foreign policy.
In an interview on “What’s Trending,” a CBS News video segment, Lupe Fiasco — a rapper known for his socially conscious and politically charged lyrics — had some harsh words for the president.
“In my fight against terrorism, to me, the biggest terrorist is Obama, and the United States of America,” Lupe told host Shira Lazar. (Scroll down to watch the interview.) He went on to explain the comment:
“I’m trying to fight the terrorism that’s actually causing the other forms of terrorism. You know, the root cause of terrorism is the stuff that the U.S. government allows to happen, and the foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists. And it’s easy for us because it’s just some oil.”
In another interview, Lupe had this to say:
Lupe Fiasco is on a press run in support of his upcoming album Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1, and during an interview in Philadelphia with Power 99FM’s Mina SayWhat, Lupe had some criticism for President Obama. When asked about who he feels is putting out positive images, he responded, “On one hand, you have someone who is a great speaker, but kills little children – our President.” He continued, “I’m talking about ordering a drone attack. Ordering drone attacks that go and kill mothers, innocent bystanders, children. Militants too, but the collateral damage. You’re responsible for that, too.”
When Mina defends the President, saying that any killings of innocent people as a result of Obama’s orders are not intentional, Lupe responded, saying, “A drug dealer can say the same thing. ‘I didn’t mean to kill all the people in the restaurant. I was just trying to get that one dude who killed my cousin. Just so happened that that little girl was there.’ Same thing.”
Geez, Lupe, why you gotta be all like opinionated and stuff?
So some genius decided to book Lupe Fiasco, and he busted out a 30 minute anti-war song. Then his microphone was cut, but he kept going. Then the lights flashed. Then he was removed from the stage.
Incompetence, or the work of a deep GOP mole trying to embarrass the President? You decide.
Joking aside, suppressing free speech is not a great way to start a new term, but hey, anyone expecting a progressive butterfly to emerge from the first term’s cocoon of corporate neoliberalism is delusional. A president who wages this kind of war against whistle blowers is not going to suddenly appreciate being told the truth from those below him.
If Lupe’s #fiascogate (sorry) isn’t absurd enough, this week’s poem, titled To the Drone Vaguely Realizing Eastward, has also caused a bit of a stir, though not for being about drones, but for the author’s use of the word queef.
The author, Michael Robbins, is a great poetic mish-masher of culture. I wrote up this post a few months ago about absurdity, which concluded with a poem from Robbins, from his book Alien Vs. Predator (Penguin, 2012).
To read the poem, click for more, or go to Michael Robbins’ tumblr page. Enjoy!
To the Drone Vaguely Realizing Eastward
This is a poem for President Drone.
It was written by a camel.
Can I borrow your phone?
This is for President Mark Hamill.
Newtown sounds a red alert.
Mark Hamill asks is Ernie burnt?
Every camel’s a first-person shooter.
The Prez’s fez is haute couture.
It seems strange that he should be offended.
The same orders are given by him.
Paging Pakistan and Yemen.
Calling all the drone-dead children.
The camel can’t come to the phone.
This is for the drone-in-chief.
Mumbai used to be Bombay.
The bomb bay opens with a queef.