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OK, Toby Keith fans. I know this Toby Keith vs. Peter Cooper situation
has you all worked up, and I can respect your desire to defend your man's honor. But it's clear from the dozens of comments we've received that y'all don't understand a few things about (a) journalism and (b) the meaning of the word "lie."
As for issue (a), there seems to be a consensus among Toby defenders that, as commenter Sandra put it, "Peter Cooper should have investigated this information and made sure that all parties were in agreement." So let me get this straight: If the Palestinians and Israelis are not in agreement as to what's happening in the Middle East, it shouldn't be reported? That's not how journalism works, and I hope the reasons are obvious.
As for issue (b), numerous Toby defenders have lambasted Mr. Cooper for printing "lies." Peter Cooper has reported no lies. In fact, his report was 100 percent truthful. He said that Rolling Stone
ran a story in which Ethan Hawke claimed that the events in question occurred. That is 100 percent factually correct.
And as far as Ethan Hawke's contentions? We'll never know for sure if they're accurate or not, unless someone finds a videotape of the events in question. But Kris Kristofferson didn't deny Hawke's claims; he just said, "I have no memory of talking so tough to anyone at Willie's birthday party..." Notice that he didn't say, "It didn't happen." He claims to have no memory of it, which is probably true. There are many things that happen in our lives that we don't remember.
And according to former band mate Steve Conn, Kristofferson's memory in particular is not exactly a steel trap. Conn--who's worked with Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Loggins, Mark Knopfler, the Dixie Chicks and Albert King to name a few--tells his Kristofferson story, after the jump:
I played with Kris in the summer of '91 and spent six weeks on a tour bus with him. We were all in the same tour bus. Kris would stay up till 4 in the morning playing poker with all the guys, all of them smoking except for Kris. Yes, smoking. In a bus. That was nice. We did probably 30 or 40 dates.
The gigs were always great because you'd have the Smothers Brothers and people like that show up. Everywhere we played. We had dinner with Bill Gates, because he hired us to play at the Microsoft compound. Jerry Wexler took us out to dinner one night. It was amazing, a hell of a gig.
At that time I was playing harmonica on the gig. Kris wanted to learn how to play harmonica so he asked me if I'd come over and show him how.
I took my friend, Rev. Will D. Campbell [a civil rights activist and author of Brother to a Dragonfly], to The Belcourt when Kris was playing there solo, probably about five years ago. Will and Kris had become good friends because Kris' apartment was above Will's office on Music Row many years ago. They made it known that they wanted Will to come to the show, so I thought, "This is perfect! My buddy Kris, my ol' pal Kris, and I'll take Will." And they got us really good seats. Kris did a shout-out to Will at one point in the show and talked about his book.
So Will and I went backstage afterwards and hung around with Kris. I stood there for a while, and I waited for my opportunity to say hi to Kris. At one point I stuck my hand out and said, "Kris, it's so good to see you again," and he looked at me like the cow looking at the new gate. I said something like, "Kris! It's Steve Conn. Remember? We toured together." I'm not sure what I said after that. I stumbled so much, I was so flabbergasted that he didn't remember, that I'm not sure exactly what I said. I have low enough self-esteem to believe that I could be that close to someone and have them completely forget about me, but it still seems like a bit of a stretch.
And unlike Albert King, who called me "Piano Man," Kris did know my name.
I don't want to insult him, because I respect him as much as I respect anybody. I mean, he's one of the smartest guys I've ever met. I mean his ability to focus was amazing. We'd go run, and I could maybe go for a half-hour, and he'd run in the noon-day sun for two solid hours.
And hell, I can't remember what I had for breakfast.