On April 28, Nike released Are You In?: Nike + Original Run by De La Soul. It’s the fifth installment of the “Original Run” series, which has featured artists like LCD Soundsystem and Aesop Rock. The idea is that the commissioned artist records a continuous, single-track album that’s meant to be listened to while exercising. I received a promo copy of the De La Soul record this morning, and I put it into my computer so that I could listen, while seated comfortably in my desk chair drinking iced coffee, obviously. Then something strange happened.
iTunes opened up and the music began to play normally, but I noticed that the title of the album was listed as “Understanding Islam,” the track as “Reaching Out to Muslams,” and the artist as someone named Stephen Plaster. I’ve been trying to dig up some information on Plaster for a little while, but all I’ve got so far is that a Republican with the same name donated a total of $4,600 to Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in late 2007.
I’m sure it was just a mix-up somewhere along the line, possibly at the plant that pressed the promo copies, but I can’t imagine the folks at Nike, not to mention the gazillions of people who wear their sneakers, being too terribly pleased if this isn’t somehow limited to my copy of the disc.
Nike actually ran into a bit of trouble with Islamic leaders in 1997 when, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, they released a shoe whose logo looked like the word “Allah” written in Arabic. Nike addressed the problem by making a slight tweak to the logo, but it wasn’t sufficient, apparently, and they wound up having to pull 38,000 pairs of the shoes from shelves around the world. They also agreed to donate $50,000 to help build a playground at an Islamic school.
Strange stuff, for sure. Anyone out there have any info on this? Any idea who the hell Stephen Plaster is? Any other writers out there have the same thing happen to them? Does this happen if you buy it from iTunes? Seriously, who is Stephen Plaster?