Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Birthday parties are dull.  They start with boring conversations that gives way to uninspired singing of a tired song.  "Happy Birthday...Dear Blah Blah...Happy Birthday To You!" Next, you eat sheet cake with too much icing.  Wash it down with overly sweet fruit punch while you watch your friend pretend to love her gifts.  "Ooh! Cute socks."  Oops...let's get back to our subject: Turkmenistan.  Desperate not to subject his guests to such a ghastly affair, the president of the desert nation, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, decided to spice things up.  So he spent $1.4 million to fly Jennifer Lopez to Ashkabat for a private concert for his 56th birthday gala. 

It all went quite smoothly.  A private jet whisked the diva and her entourage into the Central Asian nation.  A Cadillac Escalade then chauffeured Ms. Lopez to the resort town of Avaza.  After a quick Perrier bath, she slithered into her mini-skirt and hit the stage.  Organized by an oil company, the front row was packed with wealthy tycoons, crooked officials and muggy ministers.  To their delight, Jenny belted out her hits. She then went backstage and changed into the traditional Turkmen embroidered white gown.  Finally, she channeled her inner Marilyn Monroe and gave a sultry serenade to the President. "The very happiest of birthdays to you.." she cooed.  Done.

Imagine J-Lo's surprise when she returned home to the Bronx to a thunderstorm of bad publicity!  Believe it or not, it turns out this Gurbanguly Guy is a horrible tyrant.  In fact, Human Rights Watch calls Turkmenistan "one of the world's most repressive countries."  Poor Jenny is confused...those 'stan' countries are hard to tell apart.  When she performed last year at a wedding in neighboring Uzbekistan (for $1 million)...no one cared.  What's the big deal?  Well, according to Reporters Without Borders, Turkmenistan trails only North Korea in Press Freedom Conditions.  Sorry...Jenny...it is a 'big deal.'

This must have really hurt J-Lo.  Recently, she has been trying to reinvent herself as a caring humanitarian and not a spoiled diva.  She produced and starred in Bordertown, a gritty film about the violence inflicted to women in Ciudad Juarez.  She has been active in Amnesty International and volunteers frequently at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.  But today, her devotion and motivation is being questioned.  "Lopez obviously has the right to earn a living performing for the dictator of her choice and his circle of cronies, said Thor Halvorssen of A.I. "But Saturday's actions utterly destroy the humanitarian message she has cultivated."  Ouch! 

For the time being, Jennifer Lopez is busy doing damage control.  Her representative issued the following, trite statement: "Had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended."  Hmm...it's really not that hard to find information about a world leader like Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.  Just do a Google Search like we do here at the DUNER BLOG, Jenny! And...if you're reading, J-Lo...how about donating that dirty cash to the Duner Blog Research Foundation?

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