Last week, Code Pink came out with this wacky rap about how Blackwater “makes a killing out of killing.”
I’m all for raising awareness about the mercenary firm’s never-ending scandals, and have written extensively about the industry myself, but I’m not sure that this was the right way for the antiwar group to get the message out.
While the video has gotten attention, which some might say makes it a success, it may not be the kind of attention they were looking for. As Spencer Ackerman writes over at Danger Room:
Whatever the merits of the substantive case, we’ve got to say: this is going too far.
Does Blackwater really deserve the sight and sound of Benjamin bobbing her head and waving her arms like a fish out of its cultural waters, spitting, “They got a mercenary here, a mercenary there/ Erik Prince’ll send a mercenary” — wait for it! — “a-ny-where”? Must it suffer through a relentless AABB structure and a mid-tempo synth-driven beat, with no variety and no flow? Should it have to watch an ersatz-contractor, in blue polo shirt and wraparound shades, pantomime killing people and making it rain on himself? And what, no Cartman-with-an-AK reference? Cube’s “AK-47 is the tool” line in Straight Outta Compton” sets it right up for you!
Not even the presence of D.C. rapper Head-Roc on the chorus can save Benjamin. Jim McMahon’s “Super Bowl Shuffle” verse is officially no longer in the record books for most cringe-inducing mic performance.
Who exactly they were hoping to reach with this is unclear. Older folks generally aren’t going to be into it because its rap. And all the younger folks who’ve seen it that I know, all of whom are sympathetic with the message, found it rough to watch.
It would also seem to discredit Medea Benjamin – and the wider antiwar movement – in the eyes of those who don’t already agree with her politically. I could see conservatives seeing this as just one more bit of evidence that peace folks are wacky and not like them.
What do you think? Does simply getting attention with a stunt like this make it a success? Or do the downsides outweigh any positive affects it might have?