M.I.A.’s first response to being profiled by the New York Times Magazine — Twitter-posting writer Lynn Hirschberg’s phone number as if it were her own—only seemed to reinforce Hirschberg’s portrait of the pop star as shallow, posturing, and incoherent. Hirschberg told the New York Observer the stunt was “fairly unethical” and “not surprising.”
Round Two, however, is a much savvier move by M.I.A.: this time, she Tweeted a link to a recording of audio clips from her initial meeting with Hirschberg. One of the most talked-about asides in the piece was where Hirschberg seemingly caught M.I.A. in a moment of limousine-radical buffoonery:
“I kind of want to be an outsider,” she said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry. “I don’t want to make the same music, sing about the same stuff, talk about the same things. If that makes me a terrorist, then I’m a terrorist.”
On the audio clip, though—which sounds as if it’s been shortened and edited—the enthusiasm for truffle fries is all coming from the interviewer. “They have like truffle, they have like three different kinds, it’s very elaborate,” Hirschberg’s voice says. To that, a blase-sounding M.I.A. replies “I’m just going to have some starter, yeah.”
“Get whatever you like, ‘cause the New York Times is—it’s paying,” Hirschberg’s voice says.
Then, after one more pitch for the flavored fries, including truffle, Hirschberg apparently addresses the waiter: “Can we order the french fries that come on the bar menu, the basket?”