MIA Vs. Lynn Hirschberg, With Diplo In The Middle


THE ATLANTIC: Lynn Hirshberg’s cover profile of rapper M.I.A. in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine has provoked the kind of reaction normally reserved for a significant movie or album, and for good reason. The spectacular—and spectacularly nasty—takedown is full of repudiation by scorned lovers, French fries as means of character assassination, policy wonk soundbites, and first-world-third-world clash. But the piece’s reverberations really come from a question Hirschberg doesn’t pose or answer directly, but that has been a consistent animating theme in her best work. In an age of faked memoirs, staged reality programs, and self-reinvention as quasi-religion, do we need our celebrities to tell the truth about themselves? MORE

MTV: Journalist Lynn Hirschberg pulled no punches while profiling M.I.A. — debunking her claims that she hasn’t seen her father in years, contacting the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum to balance out her version of the country’s war against the Tamil Tiger military group, pointing out that she lives in “very white, very wealthy Brentwood [California]” with her fiancé, Ben Bronfman — and, in the process, painted a less-than-flattering portrait of her. And boy, was M.I.A. mad. Taking matters into her own hands, the singer posted Hirschberg’s phone number on her Twitter page, writing, “Call me if you wanna talk to me about the NYT truth issue, I’ll [be] taking calls all day bitches.” MORE

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Last weekend, longtime New York Times contributor Lynn Hirschberg published a rather scathing profile of the Sri mia_and_diplo1.jpgLankan singer that insinuated that she was out of the touch with the “outsider” status she had claimed and was naive about the politics she was advocating. Hirschberg, in a classic journalistic maneuver, damned M.I.A with juxtapositions like this one:  ”‘ I kind of want to be an outsider, ’  she said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry[…] Over the weekend, M.I.A. posted audio excerpts, allegedly taken from the interview, on her label’s website (under the label “here’s the truff”) that explains “trufflegate” — it was Hirschberg, not M.I.A., that ordered the expensive french fries cited in the interview. The site also features a new song about Hirschberg’s slight, “I’m a Singer” — set to a 2006 track of the song “Hater” by British group Various Production. MORE

LYNN HIRSCHBERG: Her father remained in Sri Lanka (whenever they saw each other, he was introduced to Maya as her uncle, so that the children wouldn’t inadvertently reveal his identity). Maya claims that she has not seen him in years. Diplo told me a different story. “I met her dad in London with her,” he said. “He was very interested in sustainable living and was teaching in London. But he wasn’t a good father.” Whatever the truth is, Maya has gone from trumpeting her father’s revolutionary past in order to claim that lineage to playing down his politics to support a separate narrative. “He was with the Sri Lankan government,” she now maintained, when I saw her in Los Angeles. “He’s been with them for 20 years. They just made up the fact that he is a Tiger so they can talk crap about me.” MORE

LYNN HIRSCHBERG: Diplo said, “I made her sing.” He was a producer of her first album as well as “Paper Planes” and was also Maya’s boyfriend for several years. “Maya is a big pop star now, and pop stars sing,” he said. “For me, making this record wasn’t easy. In the past, we were a team. But Maya wanted to show us how much she didn’t need us. In the end, Maya is postmodern: she can’t really make music or art that well…” MORE

MYA: “I’m tired of pop stars who say, ‘Give peace a chance.’ I’d rather say, ‘Give war a chance.’”  MORE

MYA: “Google and Facebook were developed by the CIA, and when you’re on there, you have to know that.” MORE

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