August 29, 2005, - 9:27 am

Chock Full O’Criminals: MTV’s VMA Awards

By Debbie Schlussel
Besides being a shameless pimp-and-ho show, the MTV Video Music Awards show now rivals the Superbowl for the most criminals performing. (And like the NFL, the criminals weren’t advertised in the promotions.)
First there was R. Kelly. Awaiting trial for having sex with and urinating on a 14-year-old girl (while making a porn videotape of it)–and suspected of the same with multiple other under-aged teen-age girls, you’d think he’d be ashamed. And you’d think that MTV’s audience might be a little subdued during his performance. But you would be wrong.
R. Kelly’s “actions” only enhance his street-cred with the MTV crowd (not to mention those who made his silly 5-part soap opera song CD #1 on the charts).

R. Kelly & Lil’ Kim: Two of MTV’s Most Wanted

Then there is , the sleazy rapper about to go to the big house for lying to a grand jury and obstruction of justice, claiming she didn’t know and didn’t see close friends of hers involved in a street shooting. Yes, Lil’ Kim, a/k/a Kimberly Jones, was a proud “presenter” at MTV’s annual slut-and-gangsta fest. Her sojourn to prison was the subject of humor as she announced an MTV award. It was an improvement from her previous performance–on the stand and then, later, defending her lying on the stand–when she compared her experience at the shooting and conviction for lying about it, to the 9/11 attacks (!).
And MTV has learned a lot from the NFL. Besides no embarrassment, it celebrates the criminal “achievements” of its glitterati. Where the NFL has likely multi-murderer Ray Lewis as its sometime-MVP, MTV has Suge Knight, the gangsta king of Death Row Records, who served prison time and is suspected of involvement with several shootings and the like. He was shot during this weekend’s MTV festivities.
Great stuff for the kids.

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4 Responses

On the other hand,Lee Iacocca has an alibi;Snoop Dogg threatended to kidnap his granddaughter and stick her in a Dogg video.

jaywilton on August 29, 2005 at 10:17 am

MTV= Moron T.V., Monkey T.V., molestor T.V. MV sucks. Bring back that Jew band Rush! I love Geddy! He’s great!! He also speaks Yiddish fluently. P.S. His real name is Gary Weinrib, his grandmother couldn’t say Gary so hence the name Geddy

KOAJaps on August 29, 2005 at 8:34 pm

I never thought the day would come that being a Rush fan (yes, bring them back :-)) was a sign of impending middle age-hood 🙂
Bring back the MTV that actually SHOWED music videos 🙂 (or as Bowling for Soup says in “1985” ‘Music still on MTV’). Remember when….MTV played ROCK for the “disco sucks” crowd and rap was the enemy, how times have changed.

hairymon on August 30, 2005 at 6:29 pm

MTV is sickening, a show that promotes sick bastards, but hey, it’s free speech. But here’s something that I’m sure Debbie doesn’t know. You know from my previous thread that Geddy Lee is Jewish but read beyond;
The Jewish News Weekly
Friday June 25, 2004
How the Holocaust rocked Rush front man Geddy Lee
by scott r. benarde
The Canadian rock trio Rush will draw from an impressive song catalog spanning four decades on its current 30th anniversary tour, including classics such as ìNew World Man,î ìTom Sawyerî and ìFreewill.î The band also is performing tracks from its newest album, ìFeedback,î a collection of favorite songs by other acts, including rock standards such as ìSummertime Blues,î and ìHeart Full of Soul.î
But it is another song in the Rush repertoire that concertgoers should pay close attention to when the band performs in the Bay Area July 9 and 10.
The 20-year-old song ìRed Sector A,î from the 1984 album ìGrace Under Pressure,î comes from a deeply emotional and personal place in the heart of lead singer and bassist Geddy Lee.
The seeds for the song were planted nearly 60 years ago in April 1945 when British soldiers liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Leeís mother, Manya (now Mary) Rubenstein, was among the survivors. (His father, Morris Weinrib, was liberated from Dachau a few weeks later.) The whole album ìGrace Under Pressure,î says Lee, who was born Gary Lee Weinrib, ìis about being on the brink and having the courage and strength to survive.î
Though ìRed Sector A,î like much of the album from which it comes, is set in a bleak, apocalyptic future, what Lee calls ìthe psychologyî of the song comes directly from a story his mother told him about the day she was liberated.
ìI once asked my mother her first thoughts upon being liberated,î Lee says during a phone conversation. ìShe didnít believe [liberation] was possible. She didnít believe that if there was a society outside the camp how they could allow this to exist, so she believed society was done in.î
In fact, when Manya Rubenstein looked out the window of a camp building she was working in on April 15, 1945, and saw guards with both arms raised, she thought they were doing a double salute just to be arrogant. She did not realize British forces had overrun the camp. She and her fellow prisoners, says Lee, ìwere so malnourished, their brains were not functioning, and they couldnít conceive theyíd be liberated.î
It is easy to see why Manya Rubenstein had given up on civilization. She and future husband Morris were still in their teens Ăł and strangers to one another Ăł when they were interned in a labor camp in their hometown of Staracohwice (also known as Starchvitzcha), Poland, in 1941. Prisoners there were forced to work in a lumber mill, stone quarry, and uniform and ammunition manufacturing plants.
From Staracohwice, about an hour south of Warsaw, Manya and Morris, along with many members of both their families, were sent to Auschwitz. Eventually Morris was shipped to Dachau in southern Germany, and Manya to Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany. Thirty-five thousand people died in Bergen-Belsen from starvation, disease, brutality and overwork, according to information from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Another 10,000 people, too ill and weak to save, died during the first month after liberation.
Lee told his motherís story to band drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, and ìNeil took that sentiment and wrote [the lyrics to] ëRed Sector A,íî says Lee, who wrote the music. For a song thatís supposed to be set in some unstated, undated future, lyrics such as, ìRagged lines of ragged grey/Skeletons, they shuffle away/Shooting guards and smoking guns/Will cut down the unlucky ones,î sound realistic and reportorial. Perhaps it is the music with its pounding drums, chilling guitar and ominous synthesizer that transport the listener to a yet-to-come time and place. But maybe it is simply easier for Lee to deal with this song as metaphor instead of family history.
Lee was born in Toronto on July 29, 1953. His parents had immigrated there in 1947 and opened a discount variety store. (They had reunited after the war and lived in the officersĂ­ quarters of Bergen-Belsen after it was turned into a displaced-persons camp. They were also among 2,000 couples who married in the camp during the first few months after liberation.)
Unlike many Holocaust survivors, Leeís parents did not bottle up or hide their experiences. Lee began hearing the horror stories as early as age 8. Though his mother insists she never spoke to her children about the Holocaust when they were young, Lee remembers the stress and nightmares the stories triggered. ìThese were the things that happened to them during the most formative time in their lives. Some people go to horseback riding camp; my parents went to concentration camp,î Lee says.
The couple gave their children a Jewish education, and Lee had a bar mitzvah at 13. Unfortunately, his father died the year before from chronic health problems that took root in the camps. Today, Lee considers himself a cultural Jew.
His mother, like many Holocaust survivors, was overly protective of her three children. During Leeís teens, which he describes as ìa selfish time,î he distanced himself from his parentsí history, and also discovered rock íní roll. Singing in a rock band, Lee says, ìwas me yelling backî at authority. It was well after Morris Weinrib died that an aunt told Lee his father had played the balalaika at bar mitzvahs and weddings, but he had purposely kept that fact from his children. ìHe didnít want us going into music as a career,î Lee says, adding, ìIt was a great feeling to know he was musical.î
Lee was 16 when he formed the first incarnation of Rush with guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer John Rutsey in 1969, and released their debut album in 1973. Current drummer and band lyricist Neil Peart joined in Ă­74, thus the 30-year celebration now.
ìRed Sector Aî is not the only song Lee has written based on his motherís life. Leeís solo album, ìMy Favorite Headache,î released in 2000, includes the song ìGrace to Grace,î which he co-wrote with fellow Canadian Ben Mink, a multi-instrumentalist and another child of Holocaust survivors. The song, Lee explains, is partially about his motherís courage, survival instincts and ìher ability to keep her head upî though all of the horror she lived through.
Leeís mother, along with the rest of Canadaís Jews, has been reminded of Hitlerís Germany by a wave of anti-Semitism that included the April fire bombing of a Jewish day school in Montreal. The rise in anti-Semitism in Canada, Lee says, ìis upsetting to all of us. Ö There is no such thing in the homes of Holocaust survivors as ëIt canít happen here.í They always feel it can happen again. My mother [has] never felt secure again.î
Except for possibly one time.
In 1995, Lee, his older sister and younger brother accompanied their mother back to Germany to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. They met many other survivors as well as British army veterans who had liberated the camp. Their mother also took them back to her hometown in Poland and the house in which she grew up.
ìThe Holocaust doesnít go away,î Lee says. ìMy mother still has a tattoo on her arm, but that was a great trip for her, a completion of something. It made her feel fantastic to stand on those grounds with her children. For the first time she felt like a victor, like, ëIím here and youíre not!íî

KOAJaps on September 4, 2005 at 7:47 pm

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