117 – RAGE AGAINST THE HYPOCRISY: KILLING IN THE NAME OF… MONEY MONEY MONEY!

 

After confirming to hotel security that it was Lance who triggered the alarm, lying that he had had a panic attack, when he actually had a temper tantrum, Ciccone and Lear completed their check in, and retreated back to the Royal Suite.

“If you really wanna play some hardball with the House of Saud, and I don’t doubt for a second that you do, we need more information, if we are going to get everything we can get out of the gambit,” the old extortionist to the rookie.

“Such as?”

“For starters, what’s behind their purchase of all that Live Nation stock?”

“A number of things. One is economic diversification. In the long run, oil is done. They’re on a buying spree. They already had five percent stakes in Uber and Tesla. They’ve just bought up $500 million worth of Disney shares, $500 million worth of Facebook shares, $500 million worth of Citigroup shares, $500 million worth of Bank of America shares, and $700 million worth of Boeing shares. They also just sank $1.5 billion into the Indian telecom giant Jio.

“They’re trying to buy Newcastle Untied Football Club, but they are getting a lot of resistance. The World trade Organization has just released its findings after an 18 month into massive Intellectual Property theft by the House of Saud. Evidently, they’ve been pirating all sorts of product from TV networks around the world, and it looks like that will sink the deal.

“I imagine they were actually stealing the broadcasts of football matches, including Newcastle. Interestingly, the WTO may be able to do what Newcastle fans could not, because many of them were vehemently opposed to the deal, and said that it made a joke of the Football Association’s rules, which forbid ticket scalpers from owning any part of a club, but not human rights abusers, or even war criminals.

“They’re betting that the virus will, eventually, be wrestled to the ground. If the global economy rebounds, hopefully in a new paradigm of capitalism with a human face, tourism will grow again.

“Saudis citizens take $20 billion dollars out of the country when they vacation abroad. The Prince wants to keep a large chunk of that in the Kingdom, and attract foreigners. They’re building a massive entertainment megaproject, and they want A-listers like you to play it.

“If they are to attract tourists to the Kingdom, they have to erase the stigma of being a barbaric, backwards state, especially after what they did in Istanbul. They were, probably still are, contracting a New York comms company called Karv $120 thousand per month to wash Khashoggi’s blood off their hands, and sugar coat them, so they Karv may have advised them to buy into Live Nation.

“They fucking slaughtered a man, like a pig, and then hired a comms company called Carve to spin it?”

“Yeah. But Muslims don’t slaughter pigs. Probably can’t even find one in the country. And, not that it matters but it’s spelled K A R V.”

“What fucking ever.”

“It’s the kinda black humour that would have Hitler and Stalin rolling on the floor, laughing their asses off.”

“Holy fucking sugar coated shitballs, Batboy!”

“They don’t lack nerve. Anyway,, hHaving stars like you play their version of Sun City will go a long way to changing their image, and having a hand in Live Nation will increase the likelihood of that happening. So, that’s part of the play.”

“Okay, so why go to war with them? Why not play carrot and stick with them, instead?”

“What are you thinking?”

“Not totally sure, at least not how to play it, but the basic idea would be to extract concessions from them, in the form of reforms.”

“The young Prince is a reformer. He has banned flogging, and minors will no longer be subject to the death penalty. Not sure if they are planning to stop stonings, beheadings, and crucifixions.” Lance smirked and added, “But stonings, beheadings and crucifixions would make for an interesting stage show if an Islamist death metal band opens a show for Gwar.”

Madonna ignored the crack, and asked, “How old is the Prince?”

“Mid thirties. As is the majority of their population.”

“Where there is youth, there is hope,” Madge said.

“Agreed. But he’s being held back by the old guard, and the religious zealots.”

“Everyone fears change. It threatens their position, at least in their minds, if not in reality. Paranoia will destroy ya. Nothing new about that.”

“There’s no indication that they are getting any more open to criticism, and they’re not exactly falling all over themselves to emancipate the sisterhood” Lance informed Madonna.

“Well, that can be used against them.”

“And should be.”

“Yes, but if they’re averse to criticism, they will love praise. Carrot and stick. If they are praised, from the outside world, for reforming their culture, the Prince can use that praise to his advantage, especially if there is reward that comes with the praise.”

Lance deliberated this, and asked, “So, if they free jailed dissidents, you and a few others reward them by playing a show there?”

“Something like that. Maybe less, maybe more. You dig around, while I look into just who is, or was, lined up to play Live Nation shows in the not too distant future.”

Fifteen seconds later, Madonna shrieked, “Jackpot! Got it!” Lance perked up, and asked what she had. “Rage Against the Machine.”

“I heard something about them getting back together, and touring. They’re doing it through Live Nation?”

“They were gonna tour this summer, but COVID cancelled that. But they have rescheduled for next summer, and they’re selling tickets through Ticketmaster.”

“What the fuck? Even before the Saudi’s bought in, everyone hated Ticketmaster.”

“Oh, I know.”

“So, will it be the Rage Against the Hypocrisy Tour, or the Killing in the Name of Money Money Money Tour?”

“That’s good, kid! But maybe it will be the Raging for Reforms Tour.”

“So, the band says they will not have anything to do with Live Nation, unless/until the House of Saud divests.”

“Keep going.”

“The band says they will not have anything to do with Live Nation, unless/until the House of Saud starts a reformation program in the Kingdom.”

“Two points for Lance Lear, buy genius!”

“You think the Saudis will capitulate?”

“Worth trying. They capitulate with contractual obligations to execute reforms before the show. Before any show.”

Lance liked this, but had a caveat, “You many wanna find a word to replace execute.” And he had a question, but by the time he asked it he realized it was rhetorical, “Any show, anywhere, any band, or performer? Rage starts it and everyone falls in line?”

Madonna nodded. “We could take it one step further. Rage could demand to play a show in Riyadh.”

“Oh, that would be fucking epic!”

“Fuck yeah, it would! I’d even get up on stage, and do Killing in the Name with them, if they’d have me.”

“Holy fuck, Madonna! I can see it. I can see it starting a fucking revolution.”

Madonna started bouncing up and down, yelling.

FUCK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!
FUCK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!

Lance got up off his ass and started singing along, bouncing off her, making sure not to slam the old gal to the ground in his exuberance, lest she break a hip

FUCK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!
FUCK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!
FUCK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME
FUCK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!
FUCK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!

MOTHER FUCKER!

118 – FROM THE DARK A BEATING HEART

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