In Defense of Jack White

I'd be pissed too

I’ll admit that I’m kinda late to the White Stripes/Jack White/Jack-Whites-Various-And-Sundry-Projects game. I never really listened to the White Stripes too much before, not because I didn’t like them, but because it never really caught me in that way. But I respect him as a musician: that abrasive, garage, cheap guitar sound is fun as hell for one. He also seems to have a knack for pushing other bands and formats (his recent experiments with and push for vinyl are amazing). But recently, he’s taken some slack for an article that OU-Daily wrote up about his tour contract, rider, etc. 

Now, I wonder what the purpose of this article is? Was it a slow news day? Were they lacking for content? It seems to me that when a newspaper, any newspaper, writes up an article that breaks down the cost of certain events that there’s an implication that the cost warrants some investigation. It’s suspect at best, insipid at worst. And once the media got ahold of it, all hell broke loose. The paper defended itself, citing FOI and a need to hole “public figures accountable”.

Here’s the thing, OU Daily: I’m calling bullshit. When your headline is “‘We want it chunky’ and other gems from Jack White’s contract with OU'” you’re playing the clickbait game. You found specific details, fucking REASONABLE ONES at that, and saw a bright, high-traffic light to push you into the blogosphere.

“As for harm, no harm was done to White unless you count his ego. But it’s important to understand that we didn’t publish that information to embarrass White. We published the information because students need to know how their money is being spent — even if it’s being spent on homemade guacamole and aged salami with a sharp knife.”

And yet you devoted a whole article to his demands. Is this responsible journalism? Do you really think that we’re buying that? You can’t purport to hold a public figure accountable while jumping on the opportunity to say “hey! LOOK AT THIS GUY! HIS FRESH GUAC IS CRAY!”  There’ve been recent examples of people jumping on the “ethics in journalism” bandwagon, and your argument is just as specious.

But even stereogum pointed out that this is COMPLETELY mild compared to other tour riders. White is understandably pissed because he caught on to your game. Look at the Van Halen example–one of the basic reasons for tour riders is to be able check if the venue is adhering to the little details the artist needs in order to keep a show running smoothly. In Van Halen’s case, they had the infamous “sorted M&M’s” clause that Diamond Dave explained was a way too see if promoters were paying attention: see, they had a highly technical (and sometimes dangerous) lighting setup that could potentially hurt someone if directions weren’t followed. If a venue was paying close enough attention to the rider so as to sort the M&M’s, then VH’s camp knew they would be just as thorough with the other details. We’ve seen what happens when things go awry…

So $80,000 and guac. That’s what this is about. Meanwhile, your football team is worth how much?

Yeah, Jack’s the asshole here.