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M.I.A. strikes back against NYT with new song

    So “French Fry Gate” is getting interesting, right?
    Now that the controversial M.I.A. profile in the New York Times Magazine has hit the stands, M.I.A. is striking back at reporter Lynn Hirschberg’s piece. Not only has she unveiled a new song “I’m a Singer” on her blog, she’s also released audio snippets of the interview – one that offers her explanation of why she wanted to perform at the Grammys, which did not appear in the story, and another that seems to show that it was Hirschberg who recommended and ordered the truffle-flavored french fries that she used to try to paint M.I.A. as a hypocrite. Hmm.
    As the Village Voice’s Rob Harvilla explains, Hirschberg uses a writing construct of “‘[Rabble-rousing thing],’ Maya said, while [bourgeois thing]” throughout the story to show that while M.I.A. talks of revolution and upheaval, she also enjoys rich-people stuff. It’s a valid point for discussion, considering M.I.A.’s move from Brooklyn to the tony Los Angeles suburb of Brentwood and her engagement to Ben Bronfman, son of Seagram’s heir Edgar Bronfman Jr. So why not ask about it and then print the results? Why try to damn her with circumstantial evidence?
    Of course, that doesn’t get to the point of why the focus of the piece is on the political thoughts of a musician either. If M.I.A. were running for office in Sri Lanka, these inconsistencies – whether they were staged or not – may be important. But as she points out in her new song “I’m a Singer,” um, she’s a singer. (“I'm a singer, never said anything else,” M.I.A. sings in the biting track. “I didn't lie to you, thinking of somebody else.”) Why not focus on that? It would make for a far more interesting article.
    Considering the players involved, this skirmish isn’t over. After all, M.I.A. has already Tweeted Hirschberg’s phone number and in “I’m a Singer” declares, “You’re a racist, I wouldn’t trust you one bit.” Who knows what will happen next?

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