Friday, September 07, 2007

Public Enemy #1

On September 25, Congress is holding a hearing into media stereotypes and degredation of women titled "From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degredation". The hearing is being organized by (African-American) representative Bobby Rush of Illinois, who is also head of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection. The goal is "To engage not just the music industry but the entertainment industry at large to be part of the solution". Witnesses will include bigwigs from Universal, Viacom, and Warner Music, as well as representatives from African American women's groups. the only artist confirmed at this point is Master P, who made a shitload of paper in the 90s doing gangsta rap, but has recently switched to more positive messages. the fact that his sales had flatlined probably had some influence on his decision to switch tactics.

We are spending billions of dollars a week on an unpopular, unsuccessful, and illegal war. The middle class is getting squeezed out of existence, healthcare is out of control, and everyone in the country is up to their eyeballs in debt. We have 2 million people in jail, mostly for non-violent charges, and african americans are overrepresented in prisons as well as homicide statistics, both as victims and perps.

In other words, the US in general and african americans in particular have bigger fish to fry than the copious use of the word bitch and ho in rap lyrics. I am happy that they are taking on the white execs who help decide that offensive lyrics are what the kids want, and thus what they will produce. But really, the whole thing seems like a waste of time and money. Why not work on helping ex-cons find legitimate work, or in reforming our justice system so taht we don't just chuck mass amounts of young men into prison each year. Why don't we focus on the socioeconomic problems behind offensive lyrics? Hell, for that reason, why don't we focus on women in general rather than african american women only?

We are allowing our government to torture people, to deny terror suspects of their civil liberties, to deny the whole public of civil liberties in teh name of protection, and our biggest beef is with rap lyrics? That's fucked up, Mr. Rush.

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