Last night, Slam Free or Die (the Manchester, NH slam venue, and a well-loved member of NorthBeast) put on an event called Vote or Die. MTV showed up, theoretically to cover the event. If you click the link above, though, a curious thing will happen: you will discover that MTV seems to think Vote or Die was a Ron Paul rally. Slam Free or Die has never supported any one candidate, so that’s a strange thing for them to take away from this event.
Sam Teitel, a Slam Free or Die co-SlamMaster, has this to say about it:
Last night Slam Free Or Die hosted a night of politically-themed poetry that MTV claimed to be covering. The event was called “Vote Free Or Die” and consisted of politically themed poetry as a reaction to Saturday night’s debate. There was a wonderful and diverse open mic and dynamite featured performances from James Caroline, Harlym 125 and Sarah Sapienza. Everybody who read did a fantastic job. A few Ron Paul supporters showed up and shared their poems and we were happy to hear from them because we are happy to hear from anybody with any viewpoint on our open mic. That’s why it’s called an open mic.
The article published on MTV’s website this morning claimed that the event was thrown by Slam Free Or Die to support Ron Paul. This is wrong. SFOD doesn’t endorse political candidates and if we did it wouldn’t be Ron fucking Paul.
The article on MTV.com doesn’t use the names of any poets but does take direct quotes from some of the poets who performed (including myself) at claim that they are quotes supporting Ron Paul. To these poets I apologize. I apologize to everybody who showed up being promised that their voice would be heard and had their work misrepresented. I put a huge amount of work into this event and to have it end like this is heartbreaking.
And to MTV, fuck you.
We will be working to get MTV to correct or remove their statements.
This article and this visit from MTV would be great publicity for slam as a whole and specifically for SFOD … . if the article had actually covered the event that happened. As it stands, they’ve published a load of misrepresentation and crap.
I suppose I’m not surprised that MTV News doesn’t really hold to the highest standards of journalism, but this whole affair is pretty offensive. I know personally that everyone at the venue was really excited for MTV to show up, and for them to betray the venue and the people there is reprehensible. Spread the word, everybody.
EDIT: A slightly more official statement from Slam Free or Die will be on this blog later today.
EDIT 2: Here are some other relevant links and reactions. I’ll add more as I see them.