Now I know my ABCs

Phil Ford

Among the dumber ideas I’ve heard lately: Obama will “elevate” the culture (how do you do that, anyway? floatation?) to the point that black people will see through hiphop and its “thuggish violence, misogyny, clownish behavior and crude materialism.” When did we start thinking that politicians we like can get rid of music we don’t? I can sympathize with Stanley Crouch for wanting someone who “will greatly diminish the national appetite for and the defense of those who proudly commit intellectual suicide by submitting to anti-intellectual stances and the surface styles that repel across all ethnic lines,” but “those who proudly commit intellectual suicide by submitting to anti-intellectual stances” sounds more like Bill Kristol than, say, Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose defenses of hiphop have been so good that I have little to add. But Ta-Nehisi didn’t post Blackalicious’s “Alphabet Aerobics,” so I guess I still have something to add.

Stanley Crouch and those who take his opinions on hiphop seriously always say that things like this aren’t the rule, they’re the exception. But that’s always true. Exceptional art is rare. That’s why it’s exceptional. And when you start x-ing out all the exceptions, you really aren’t talking about the art form anymore, you’re just talking about sociological trends. Which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but then don’t pretend that you’re doing aesthetic criticism.

About Phil Ford

Chairman of the Committee for the Memorial to the Victims of Modernism
This entry was posted in Cop Show!, Hiphop. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Now I know my ABCs

  1. Ben Wolfson says:

    What’s the link for “exceptions” supposed to be?

  2. Brian C. says:

    Some people are always wanting the president to crack down on the “evils” of cathartic music — punk, hippie, heavy metal, and hiphop– the first three styles kinda lost popular resonance but hiphop is bigger than ever — I recognize that and I’m not even a fan.
    But I think Obama is smart enough to dig hiphop. Wasn’t his and his wife’s first date to see “Do the Right Thing”? With Rosie and her boxing gloves dancing to “Fight the Power”?
    No matter how “naughty” any individual rapper raps, its still a legit statement. Deal with it, people. People (like parents) screw up kids, not music.

Comments are closed.