Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ringo under fire for comparing Liverpool to Compton

The Daily Star has a story today blasting Ringo for comparing his childhood neighborhood in Liverpool to gang-plagued Compton in Los Angeles.

Identified only as a "fellow Liverpudlian," James McMullan called Ringo an "idiot" for the remark.

“Compton is one of the worst places in the developed world for gang violence, robbery, rape and murders – to compare Liverpool to this place is disrespectful and out of touch," said McMullan.

“This will not please city leaders, police or many people who have lived here all their lives.”

Ringo made the remark during a radio interview, where he spoke about the sometimes hostile press reception the Beatles' got in the U.S. during their first visit in 1964. When addressed with silly or insulting questions, the band gave as good as they got - generally in a friendly and humorous way.

“You know, if you’re going to pick on me, brother, I’ll pick on you! You know what I mean? That’s where we come from, that neighbourhood," Ringo said.

“You know, the Compton, I call it, of England. I used that on my Twitter there. Straight outta Compton. I put ‘Straight Outta Liverpool’.”

This isn't the first time Ringo's run-afoul of the "Chamber of Commerce" view of Liverpool. He apologized in 2011 after joking in a TV interview that he missed "nothing" about his hometown.

What the Star doesn't mention is that Ringo's upbringing in the Dingle neighborhood of Liverpool was rough and that he did experience gang violence as a youngster. He was speaking to that experience, that time and that particular region of Liverpool, more than 60 years ago.

While not precisely Compton, it was a neighborhood where youth violence and poverty were very much present and where growing up could be a tough and sometimes fearful experience, leaving one with the "toughness" Ringo spoke of in his interview.

With that added perspective, the comments aren't as far off as they might initially seem.

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