19 January 2003
Rock down to Eclectic Avenue
Peter Schickele opens his weekly radio show with a quote from Duke Ellington: "If it sounds good, it is good." And Schickele's selections are nothing if not eclectic; over the years he's played everything from the Allman Brothers to Jan Dismas Zelenka. But Schickele's a white guy, and a Midwestern white guy at that, and according to our self-appointed Ministers of Cultural Diversity, he must therefore be counted among the oppressors. No claim is made that this is why funding for Schickele Mix seems to have evaporated, but sometimes I wonder.
Meanwhile, David "Clubbeaux" Sims has had it up to here with this sort of thing:
[T]hese multicultural asswipes thought they were doing themselves a favor by forcing black, Hispanic, Caribbean, Indian, Native American and whatever the hell cultures down the throat of the 87% of Americans who are of British ancestry, what they really did was reduce America to a series of ghettoes. White Americans have proven, over time, to be the most fair-minded, open-minded, culturally sensitive people on the face of the earth in world history, but never has any identifiable cultural demographic been more vilified for being culturally insensitive. Nobody ever ever criticizes blacks for not listening to bluegrass, but whites are routinely criticized for not listening to the rap stool pounding out at offensive volume from the car next to you at the stoplight, where your three-year old has to listen to "F-word my ho" this and "F-word" that. That's the end result of "multiculturalism," being forced to endure absolute garbage just because a non-WASP is perpetrating it.
I'd quibble with that 87-percent figure, and I'm not quite sure what he means by a "rap stool", unless he's referring to a product of defecation which he very well could be, given some of the, um, crap on the radio these days but definitely he's on to something. I have, or can get, access to an almost infinite variety of music, and my tastes do range fairly widely, but given my nonstatus as Person of No Recognizable (or Exploitable) Color, it is presumed that if I scorn some particular marketing category, it must be because of some toxic animus towards those individuals who produce it. (Translation: "You don't like hip-hop? So how long have you been taking marching orders from Trent Lott?")
This, of course, is horse puckey. Rap, like any other cultural endeavor, is subject to Sturgeon's Law. And when it was literally fresh, it was new and startling and entertaining. Then someone got the idea that it should be promoted, not as a genre, but as an Authentic Folk Voice, bluegrass with sidewalks and manhole covers, and distaste for it could be explained only by the most vicious racism. It's been going downhill ever since. I'm not suggesting that we pluck kids from the inner city and give them a daily dose of Debussy or anything, but letting them grow up with the descendants of Bad, Bad Leroy Brown as role models isn't doing them one damn bit of good, either.