I’ve seen Mos Def in a few movies and always admired what I consider his slyly understated acting ability. Mos Def can act. Mos Def can also make some pretty decent music. Unfortunately, like many of his multi-talented colleagues in the entertainment business, Mos Def can also diminish his own artistic merit with idiotic pronouncements on the subject of politics.
Earlier this week, Mos Def (born Dante Terrell Smith, but also known as Yasiin Bey) decided to show his support for the detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In a stunt orchestrated by a self-labeled “human rights” group called “Reprieve,” Mos Def endured a demonstration of the force-feeding method currently being employed at Gitmo to keep hunger-striking islamofascists from hunger-striking out.
The video, which was posted to liberal blogsite Huffington Post, is described in a warning as “graphic.” To be honest, it is a bit tough to watch; although my discomfort strayed from that of others. I have no doubt that being force-fed through a tube is about as much fun as watching Rachel Maddow after losing the key to the liquor cabinet. But dying actually sucks even more than sober Maddow viewing. It’s also worth noting that Mos Def isn’t actually starving. In fact, he probably celebrated his stunt by heading out for the finest whatever they eat in Los Angeles these days available for more than $50 a plate. While others note the extreme discomfort Mos Def experienced, I couldn’t help but think: This guy is an idiot.
What high-profile, low-information blowhards like Mos Def and so-called “human rights” groups like Reprieve miss through the haze of self-important ignorance is the fact that assigning yourself victim-by-proxy status is at best counterproductive. Mos Def is not a political prisoner. By pretending to be one, he’s drawing the spotlight away from whatever alleged abuses the Gitmo detainees might be suffering. Furthermore, the islamofascists undergoing force-feeding made a conscious decision to refuse nourishment — much as they made the series of brilliant decisions that ultimately earned them their room at the least friendly tropical resort in the Caribbean. (Author’s aside: Cry me a river, Akbar. Force-feeding or MREs might not be dinner at Le Cirque, but they beat the hell out of detonating a suicide vest in front of a group of woman who dared to take reading lessons.)
During my college days, one of those painfully socially conscious groups made up of wealthy suburban kids who major in sociology or the like put together an event on the quad in front of the main academic/administrative building. In what they claimed was either a protest against or for homelessness (they never really made it entirely clear), a lecture hall’s worth of Birkenstock-clad country-club refugees set up a temporary campsite and spent the night pretending to be homeless. The school’s administration remained mum on the squatters’ camp, though I expect the grounds department was less than pleased with the grass damage and mountain of garbage that almost always accompany large leftist gatherings. Meanwhile, the other students did what most college students generally do; and they ignored them.
Of course, the faux-bums were liberals, so they took the others’ apathy as a sign that their fake-homelessness had achieved some sort of consciousness-raising. It never occurred to them, just as it has never occurred to Mos Def, that the rest of us were not impressed by their theatrical faux-victimhood; we were embarrassed by their lack of sense. Refusing to sleep in the cozy dorm room that costs your old man an arm and a leg does nothing to elevate the situation of those who don’t get the choice; it mocks their suffering. Kids who drive Daddy’s BMW to the school Daddy pays for are not victims of anything except their own naïveté — and their professors’ lack of professionalism. And Mos Def is not the victim of force-feeding; he’s the perpetrator.
If Mos Def (or whoever) actually cares about human suffering, how about the millions of children who will be denied the chance to survive Kermit Gosnell and his abortionist accomplices? Where’s the love for the millions of Mideast citizens trying to survive the night while some Islamofascist terrorist group uses them as a human shield? If you have time to stage a concert to benefit cop-killing animal Mumia Abu-Jamal, couldn’t you spare a few tunes for the widow of Officer Daniel Faulkner (aka Abu-Jamal’s victim)? By the way, I couldn’t help but notice you never seem interested in “pretend to be a woman in Afghanistan” protests. Hmmm…