by Gene Howington
Let me start by saying “What’s wrong with that? I’d like to know.” I’m a huge fan of Jack White. From The White Stripes to his solo and collaborative works, he’s one of the most interesting guitarists and songwriters going today. But his management company, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME), has blacklisted the University of Oklahoma (OU). What was their egregious sin that merited saying their client would never play OU again? The Oklahoma Daily, the OU newspaper, published White’s contract with the university. The contract wasn’t a state secret and the paper obtained it via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. This isn’t an uncommon practice. There are whole web sites devoted to publishing the sometimes very strange riders that entertainers have on their contracts. What was the straw that broke the camel’s back?
They published Jack White’s guacamole recipe.
Oh the horror.
In the spirit of disclosure, as an alumni of the University of Kansas (KU) I can go along with pretty much any reason to blacklist OU. It’s Tuesday. Kitties are cute lil’ killers. If you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. However, this is a little silly.
The contract was public knowledge. The disclosure as a basis for legal action? There is none. His guacamole recipe doesn’t rely on some Earth shattering trade secret. In fact, other than the size of it and the omission of a bit of cumin it is identical to my guacamole recipe. Perhaps realizing that this sounded silly on its face, WME also stated they were upset about the terms of the contract being made public. However, the $80,000 payday isn’t shocking for a performer of his popularity although one can understand in these times of budget cuts why the school newspaper headline read “Jack White concert costs OU over $80,000”. The rider provision that White’s favorite meal is a “New York strip steak, prepared medium, no sauce, with clean, steamed vegetables on the side” is easily done in a cattle state like Oklahoma. The demand that they wanted no bananas is peculiar but easy enough to wrangle. Normally I’d write this off as management acting weird but White addressed the disclosures at the show, telling the audience “Just because you can type it on your computer doesn’t make it right.”
Perhaps the no bananas rider was to limit competition.
I understand the desire for privacy in a world where privacy is becoming harder and harder to maintain and practically nonexistent if you are in the entertainment industry. It’s a very real concern and yes, Virginia, even entertainers deserve to have a private life. However, this seems to be the very portrait of tempest in a teapot and/or spoiled celebrity overreaction. I’ll grant that it could be clever PR, but consider that this kind of action essentially “crying wolf” diminishes other claims of legitimate media overreach like publishing photos of celebrities kids without permission or detailed “exposes” of what they do on vacation. Things that could actually cause them personal and professional harm are not in the same league of complaint as disclosing a guacamole recipe. If it’s a good recipe, sharing it does no harm and spreads happiness to the avocado aficionados of the world. So to my much loved and appreciated rock auteur Jack White, I have to say, “Really, man. Get a grip. Lighten up, Francis. It’s only rock and roll guacamole and I like it.”
What do you think?
Running the risk of ruining any non-existent chance FFS has of getting an exclusive Jack White interview, I relay said guacamole recipe. If you want to make my recipe, cut this in half, substitute red onion for yellow and add 1/2 tsp. of cumin.
Guacamole, Jack White Style
8 x large, ripe Haas avocados (cut in half the long way, remove the pit – SAVE THE PITS THOUGH – and dice into large cube with a butter knife. 3 or 4 slits down, 3 or 4 slits across. You’ll scoop out the chunks with a spoon, careful to maintain the avocado in fairly large chunks).
4 x vine-ripened tomatoes (diced)
1/2 yellow onion (finely chopped)
1 x full bunch cilantro (chopped)
4 x Serrano peppers (de-veined and chopped)
1 x lime
Salt & pepper to taste.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, careful not to mash the avocados too much. We want it chunky. Once mixed and tested, add pits into guacamole and even out top with a spoon or spatula. Add 1/2 lime to top layer so you cover most of the surface with the juice. (The pits and the lime will keep it from browning prematurely.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until served. [. . .]
That being said, I don’t begrudge a little peculiar in my artists. I kind of expect it. So to show you why it might be a good idea to see Jack White or buy some of his music, I close this column with a small selection of favorites from YouTube. Enjoy both the guacamole and the music.
Support live music.
Source(s): The Oklahoma Daily, YouTube