“The media is not fooling me” - Ani Difranco circa 2000
This quote came to my mind a couple weeks ago. I LOVED it. For those who don’t know, Ani Difranco used to be a counter culture indie music icon. She created her own record label and has made lots of albums as well as tours(I’ve seen her 5 times). I admired her so much. Especially in high school. The quote is from a song about 911 and George Bush. She was taking a stand against the media and the establishment back then and I respected her for it. I’ve tried to keep up with her songs and albums though my admiration has faded. The last concert I went to I took my mom and boyfriend. I felt awkward as Ani bitched about the patriarchy standing next to my boyfriend and it seemed like the audience was taking their anger out on him. It’s also important to note that Ani’s band is all men. I haven’t really listened to her too much since then. I did check her Facebook page once and saw her promoted Angela Davis. So anyways, as I was thinking about the quote from about 20 years ago, I decided to look her up and see what she has been up to this year. I found a picture of her wearing a mask. An article said she has been in isolation for the last however long and only came out to film a video and wears her mask in-between takes. The video does show her in her home mask-less initially so I wonder if the film crew was wearing masks but not her and in that instance it was okay. Her song is called Do or Die and her quote about it was full of common mainstream media cliche buzzwords like misogyny, white supremacy, and gun violence. The song lyrics talk mention the sheet-less KKK on Pennsylvania Ave. The video shows her shaving her head and then riding her bike around by herself wearing a mask. Everyone in the video is masked while exercising as well as while all alone. A few characters take them off briefly. Once a guy take his mask off to let a dog lick his mouth. She shows black people mostly, calls for defunding police, and makes protests signs and hangs them around. My impression is that she is trying to show herself helping black people make protest signs, which comes off very weird to me. At the end, she officially promotes The Breath Act. Just a few things that would do, eliminate ankle bracelets, end life sentences, defund police and other agencies, end cooperation with immigration authorities, abolish gang databases (WTF?), get rid of metal detectors in schools, close youth jails, lifetime education for illegal immigrants, allow local and state resident voting for illegal immigrants. It was introduced by the squad. Looking through what Ani Difranco is currently promoting has been very disturbing. I think back to admiring her so much in high school and hanging on to her every word. I was cheering her on as she complained about patriarchy and capitalism. Now, I’m thinking about how she is married to a guy, tours with an all male band, and is a successful entrepreneur with her own record label, artists underneath her, and continues to sell CDs and merchandise. A quick duck duck go search for her net worth says she’s worth 5 million dollars. Another site lists her net worth at one hundred thousand to one million. It seems that complaining about capitalism and patriarchy has been good to her. I wonder if she just isn’t making the connection. The last concert I went to was to promote her album Binary. At the concert she said she was living a very isolated life and didn’t know that the term binary was currently referring to gender. She said that wasn’t what she meant by it and some fans were mad that she was so out of touch. I’m kind of hoping that she is still that out of touch as far as her latest video I saw is concerned. Perhaps she just sees people protesting and thinks all protesting is good and it reminds her of her youth. Maybe she didn’t actually read the Breath Act she’s promoting, maybe she is deathly afraid of viruses. Or maybe, just maybe, the media IS fooling her now.