Friday, May 18, 2007

Ludacris At Summerfest

It’s been the object of a campaign of Charlie Sykes’ joined by (for example) James Harris of The National Conversation.

Rapper Ludacris has been chosen to be a headline act at Summerfest.

Sykes post on the subject gives a fair sample of the really vile stuff that the cultural elders of the city have decided to endorse.

But the disapproval shown by Sykes and Harris has not been universal in the blogosphere.

Christian Schneider of Atomic Trousers has posted something that is not exactly a defense of the foul mouthed rapper, but at least an explanation of why he thinks it’s not a big deal.
As far as I know, Ludacris didn’t shoot anybody. Suggesting that he, a popular entertainer, is in any way responsible for violence on the street has it exactly backwards. . . . And why people who usually abhor those who blame the criminal actions of individuals on society are now handing the killers a “rapper made me do it” defense is beyond me.

The nihilistic culture of violence and sexuality exists in our inner city, and Ludacris is holding a mirror up to that way of life so it can see itself. Ludacris is a byproduct of that culture - the culture is not a byproduct of Ludacris.

Rappers aren’t millionaires because they sell CDs to black people. Rappers gain fame worldwide because they sell CDs to white people. Suburban white kids eat this stuff up because it makes them feel “authentic.” If you looked at Ludacris’ record sales, I bet you’d see just as many CDs sold in Brookfield, Menomonee Falls, and Franklin as you do in Milwaukee. But where is the violence in those “white” communities? If Ludacris was such a negative influence, why aren’t all the white kids in Oconomowoc gunning each other down?

It’s simple - because the culture comes first. Fatherlessness. Poverty. Lawlessness. Those are the problems that face our inner cities - rap music just packages those themes and markets them to the world.
We left a comment on Atomic Trousers, and we’ll repeat it here.

I agree with you about “the culture.” But what is “the culture?”

It’s probably an easy 100 things, but Ludacris is one of those 100!

So how does one improve the culture? Shunning and isolating Ludacris would be one thing. Doing the same to another dozen like him would be a dozen things.

A dozen good black role models would be another dozen good things.

Attaching some stigma to having kids out of wedlock would be a huge good thing.

Getting tough with men who knock women up and fail to take responsibility would be another huge good thing.

As for those suburban kids who are probably buying Ludacris CDs: there is a fair amount of something very close to racism about that.

Probably a lot of these kids are liberals and think that this is “authentic black culture” and that they are being “multicultural” somehow. But the truth is they are getting enjoyment out of seeing black people demeaned.

So the white kids don’t go out and shoot people (mostly)? If you have enough advantages in your life, a nasty influence or two is something you are likely to blow off. Besides, if you don’t actually indentify with the blacks in the rap videos, you aren’t likely to emulate them.

Cultural change happens when a large number of people decide they will fight to turn this or that “one thing” in the right direction. Not understanding rational choice theory, they ignore the fact that their sole contribution makes an insignificant difference.

With enough of those people, the culture can turn.

It’s long past due to turn on the racist rappers.
In fairness to Schneider, he points out that a fair amount of rap has a positive message.

Fine. Let’s all encourage that. But let’s don’t encourage or endorse people like Ludacris.

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