by Graeme Wood

Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, is cashing a two-million dollar check from the daughter of Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov, in exchange for performing at her arts festival. Marina Hyde has the story.

Craig Murray, the outspoken former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, calls Sting's defense "absolute bollocks": 

I agree with him that cultural isolation does not help. I am often asked about the morality of going to Uzbekistan, and I always answer - go, mix with ordinary people, tell them about other ways of life, avoid state owned establishments and official tours. What Sting did was the opposite. To invoke Unicef as a cover, sat next to a woman who has made hundreds of millions from state forced child labour in the cotton fields, is pretty sick.

Murray and others have alleged that Karimov has boiled his enemies alive.

A commenter suggested a boycott of Sting's music. I was going to agree, but on reflection it would take an enormous effort to track down someone who listens to it, before we could ask them to stop.

(Via Joshua Keating.)