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Rap vs Talk Radio


 

David Segal has a fun piece in today’s NYT about the parallels between right wing talk-radio and gangsta rap. It seems to me that the analogy is more illuminating in what it reveals about rap than it does about talk radio, maybe because the motivations and ideological structure of talk radio is much cruder:

Even beyond simple matters of style, rap and conservative talk radio share some DNA. Once you subtract gangsta rap’s enthusiasm for lawlessness — a major subtraction, to be sure — rap is among the most conservative genres of pop music. It exalts capitalism and entrepreneurship with a brio that is typically considered Republican. (Admiring references to Bill Gates are common in hip-hop.)

Rappers tend to be fans of the Second Amendment, though they rarely frame their affection for guns in constitutional terms. And rap has an opinion about human nature that is deeply conservative — namely, that criminals cannot be reformed. The difference is that gangsta rappers often identify themselves as the criminals, and are proud of their unreformability.

UPDATE: Gawker is less impressed with these ‘nilla musings.


 
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Rap vs Talk Radio

  1. Ahem…"And rap has an opinion about human nature that is deeply conservative — namely, that criminals cannot be reformed."

    I hardly expect the left/lib NY times to fairly or properly describe conservative positions, especially since it has in recent years adopted "advocacy journalism", a disturbing trend in the media generally.

    Personal responsibility is at the heart of the conservative position on crime and crime control. You can either choose to commit, or refrain from commiting, crimes. And if you choose the former, you do the time. A person who commits crimes should be punished

    Liberals, on the other hand, think that the criminal justice system isn't about meting out justice but instead is a big therapeutic exercise. We should help and assist in reforming criminals, which is the corrections system's raison d'etre, but it's not the main or principal role of the justice system which is about ensuring that the punishment fits the crime and that victims receive justice in our courts.

    • I hardly expect Jarrid to fairly or properly describe liberal positions. Liberals think that the criminal justice system can be about both meting out justice and assisting to reform criminals. This Liberal, at any rate, thinks the punishment should fit the crime and that victims should receive justice in our courts, but that once that's done, it can give hope and support to the criminal such that he can realistically choose to refrain from committing crimes. I don't think our criminal justice system does that (at all well) at present, yet another area where we need a complete overhaul.

      • You'll get no argument from me there Jenn, the criminal justice system has more than one goal. I also think the corrections system needs an overhaul. It's generally a place where hopelessness reigns.

        • Any CPC initiatives in this area that you can share?

      • "I hardly expect Jarrid to fairly or properly describe liberal positions…"

        Oh, I do. I expect him to hold forth on any number of topic, all of which he is entirely uninformed. Just wait until there's a post about a unified field theory. Prepare to be awe-struck when he turns his attention to that.

    • To paraphrase Sage Francis:

      If you could have been there from the beginning if you could be there right now,
      If you could promise to be there when you're needed, would it raise an eyebrow?
      How would your mind be different if you dropped by for visits?
      Is it your place to judge?
      Could anyone erase your posture telling you its all been said before?
      Or change the words you wrote, exchanging metaphors for scars?
      They'll be added to the collection with smiles.
      Next time you want to paint with razor blades and need a canvas use your own skin.

  2. I suspect it all began with Reaganism and late feminism in a very superficial way: Way back in the late 80's the hiphop/rap community embraced all things preppy and conservative – the man's-man's power symbols- just as white middle class boys embraced all things 'urban' in the 90's – the boys macho symbols. Since then, we have watched 2 mutual masturbatory co-dependent dysfunctional consumer cults get played off each other in an endless narrative of machismo fear while the spindits, moguls and marketers laugh all the way to the bank.

    Phat white Phools vs Pimped out wannabe preppies.

    Some accidental cross-over products that come to mind: Cadillac Escalade, Chrysler 300, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilffiger, Courvoissier, Smith and Wesson. Who could have imagined the connection between overweight republican white golfers (Dick Cheney?) sharing consumer demographic with overpimped black pseudo gangsters (Puffy Doodoo)?
    Boys + Fear + Guns = a marketers dream.

    • True dat.

  3. Re: talk radio.
    If Harper gets a majority, and when he sells off the CBC, won't it be great to have Charles Adler as our main source of balanced, in depth discussion?

  4. Any issue of the New York Times exalts capitalism and entrepreneurship. There is the travel section, the food section, there are ads for exclusive condos, there are ads for diamond bracelets with soft focus photos of naked young women decades younger than your typical NYT reader. There is Frank Rich being angry and hateful and here is Paul Krugman doing the same. Hey, there is a columnist named Maureen Dowd whose entire shtick is based on clever word play and cultural and consumer product allusions. Hey, The NYT is juts like rap. Someone give me a column so I can write masturbatory crap and pass it off as deep thoughts too.

  5. Any issue of the New York Times exalts capitalism and entrepreneurship. There is the travel section, the food section, there are ads for exclusive condos, there are ads for diamond bracelets with soft focus photos of naked young women decades younger than your typical NYT reader. There is Frank Rich being angry and hateful and here is Paul Krugman doing the same. Hey, there is a columnist named Maureen Dowd whose entire shtick is based on clever word play and cultural and consumer product allusions. Hey, The NYT is juts like rap. Someone give me a column so I can write masturbatory crap and pass it off as deep thinking too.

  6. The premise for this piece is flawed. Segal wants to make a link between the 2nd Amendment-loving conservatives who host talk radio shows, and gangsta rappers who frequently rap about guns and their use of them. However, he has failed to identify gangsta [or gangster, if you will] rappers. The rappers he discusses are pop musicians. Had he seriously wanted to discuss the similarities, he should have stuck to just referring to rappers in general, as mainstream pop that is based on rapping and hip hop uses gangsta rap tropes as a way of simulating a perceived authentic black experience for white audiences. I think a better tactic would have to actually done some research into gangsta rap, examining the work of Too $hort, Geto Boys, Mobb Deep, and Cypress Hill. [i'm old so i just don't know the gangsta rap the kids are listening to these days, just what was popular when i was young]

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