She used to have a little, now she has a lot — of money for entertaining the leader of the oppressive regime in Turkmenistan. That doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
Yes, Jennifer Lopez sang happy birthday to Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, leader of the severely repressive Turkmen regime.
If you ever doubted the importance of learning history or geography — or Google — this should dispel it.
Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, or at least to awkwardly confuse John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy in the middle of their presidential campaigns. Those who don’t learn geography are doomed to invade small countries by mistake and stay way too long because, once you’re there, it is awkward to admit that you thought this was Libya.
Those who learn neither history nor geography wind up reprising Jennifer Lopez’s performance for the president of Turkmenistan, whose regime is noted for its human rights violations, the cult of personality around its leader and its strict control of the media.
Freedom House often lists it as among the “Worst of the Worst,” citing its lack of representative democracy, reports from Doctors Without Borders that it may be concealing a “dangerous public health situation” and its lack of religious freedom. ...
In other words, this is exactly the sort of person you want to be serenading on his birthday at the behest of China National Petroleum Corp.
Huffington Post reported that Lopez has been trying to excuse herself on the grounds that the location was vetted by her staff members, who had never heard of Turkmenistan and figured it was fine — no, I’m sorry, who say that “had there been knowledge of human rights issues (of) any kind, Jennifer would not have attended.”
This is what happens when you combine vast ignorance and vast money. Those two are at the root of pretty much every awkward celebrity performance for hideous dictatorial regimes, on the grounds that their People Who Are Supposed To Know Things were too busy rubbing money all over their torsos to type Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov correctly into Google.Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog at washington post.com/blogs/compost.