Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why we need to wait on opinions (Taibbi on the Imus scandal- best thing by far you will read)

Countless times you have heard be sing the praises of Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, far-and-away the best political journalist/ commentator in the Ameircan press. He is offensive and usually right. In his latest posting for RS, Taibbi takes on the Imus affair. You may say it has been played out, but you must take the time to read this scathing diatribe against the American culture that creates such a spectacle. He takes on Imus, NBC, Sharpton and Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, a USC professor, Baywatch, Carlos Mencia, Paris Hilton, Tupac, and the entire music industry. Yes, he even calls today's rap singers minstrel singers.

No one could get away with speaking such truth on television. Please read and let me know what you think. Warning- offensive language and serious thoughtfulness.

Here are some choice quotes:

First of all, let's just get this out of the way: The idea that anyone in the media world gives a s__t about the dignity of women, black or white, is a ridiculous joke. America's TV networks have spent the last forty years falling over each other trying to find better and more efficient ways to sell tits to the 18-to-35 demographic. They make hour-long prime-time reality dramas these days about shopping-obsessed sluts hitting each other with pocketbooks, for Christ's sake. Paris Hilton -- dumb, rich -- gets her own prime-time show. MTV, the teenie mags, the pop music industry, they're basically all an endless parade of skinny, half-naked brainless women selling makeup and jeans to neurotic, self-hating, weight-obsessed little girls.

The idea that NBC -- the company that proudly produced 241 episodes of Baywatch, a show whose two main characters for nearly a decade were Pamela Anderson's tits -- was "offended" by the use of the word "ho" is beyond preposterous. Until this incident, I would have wagered very good money that "ho" would be in the title of at least one NBC-produced reality pilot within the next ten years... an adult white male I also know a minstrel show when I see it, and that's what rap has turned into. Satan himself couldn't have designed a more effective vehicle for marginalizing black culture than modern hip-hop. In the early days rap music was scary social commentary; it was raw and real and it vividly described a violent street culture that white people didn't know about and didn't want to know about. But very quickly rap turned into a multibillion-dollar industry in which the same corporate behemoths who sold us crap like Garth Brooks and boy bands and Britney Spears made massive profits selling a stylized, romanticized version of black misery to white kids in the suburbs.

That was bad enough, but even worse was the way black politicians and black intellectuals so easily bought into the idea that these endless video images of gun-toting, ho-slapping black men with fat wallets, rock-hard tattooed abs and fully-accessorized rides were positive living symbols of "black empowerment" and "black manhood." Like Tupac was the next Malcolm or something.

Yeah, right. Seriously, how dumb do you have to be to not see through this s__t? Here you've got the modern-day version of The Man signing big checks to back your record deals and cheering along as all the artistic talent from the black community starts walking around in public wearing one-word stage names like strippers, writing song lyrics featuring preschool-level spelling and primping endlessly for the cameras with gold teeth and swimming pools and pimped-out cars -- all of them absurd caricatures of the capitalist wealth
fantasy. How exactly is any of that that different from the minstrel show, the conk and the zoot suit? The black man who can dance and sing, but can't control his urges, can't resist ____ and just can't get enough of what Whitey is selling, can't stop preening in his Caddy...that's innovative? That's empowering?

Bull___. Rap was real once, but once it became an industry it turned into the same con white people have been playing ever since they set foot in this country. It's a bunch of shiny trinkets for the isle of Manhattan. Here's your Hummer and your b_____s, knock yourself out. You need us, we'll be buying the African grain market. Oh, and, thanks for the cap, my kid loves it, he wears it sideways just like you...No matter how catchy the music is, on a deeper level, that's what big-money rap acts amount to now. And the longer the black community eats it up, the more time Whitey is going to have to laugh all the way to the bank, like he always has...

...we love our black jokes, we love our Jew jokes, we love our redneck jokes and we love our misogyny -- we just don't want it all on the wrong network in the wrong time-slot, coming from a white guy, in whose mouth it might very well sound like the bigot in all of us. And when it does pop up in the wrong place, coming from the wrong person, we've got to pull the "I'm shocked, shocked" act and pretend it's a criminal aberration. Because that's much easier than facing the truth about what we just heard.

* by the way, this is an example of a non-Immediatista. Matt waited until the heads shut up and listened to everyone before giving his assessment on the subject. This article makes the idiocy of the entire Imus debacle worthwhile.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the article, it says a lot that I think. That guy can write.

I am not sure about his conlcusions though. Unless I misunderstand him.

It seems to me it is only offensive if someone is offended.

Nor am I sure the solution is to pretend differences don't exsist and not allow ourselves to laugh at them rather than teaching people not to play the victim when it comes to words. The team should have said Imus who, who cares..of course Sharpton was offended enough for everyone.

He should take the context thing a little further. It is diffrent to call a specific someone a jew or whatever than to say all those jews. I think that might seperate the Imus words from the comics and maybe even the hip-hop.

Isn't a bit of irony though that the reason Matt Taibbi is so good is becausue he is so provocative. It might seperate him from the talking media heads but maybe not from Imus himself.