Jason Whitlock Is a Big, Fat Idiot…

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This is what I feared. The feeding frenzy over that jackass Don Imus is being turned into an attack on free speech generally and on hip hop specifically. What we’ve witnessed this week is the beginning of a new round in the ongoing music censorship wars. This time, though, instead of Tipper Gore, or William Bennet and C. Dolores Tucker, the frontperson looks to be Kansas City Star sports columnist Jason Whitlock. A column he wrote last week, claiming that the real problem isn’t Don Imus or even racism but…rap music, landed him on the Today show and on CNN. In a sequel column in this morning’s Star, he lobbies to replace Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Predictably, Whitlock is now being embraced as a hero, particularly by white folks who always love a black person who will blame black people for most of their own problems and, in the process, provide cover, and a pat on the back, for those many whites who want to do the same thing. To whit, just a few of the dozens of blow jobs he’s received of late, from the right, the center and the “left.”…The Miami Herald’s Dan Le Batard called Whitlock, “the bravest sports columnist in America.” After hearing Whitlock say that black Americans need new leadership to replace those “terrorists” Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson gushed: “I nominate you, Jason Whitlock!” At The Nation, Nicholas Von Hoffman characterizes Whitlock as “a man of rare talent and careful judgement who should have a bigger audience than he has.”

Well, he’s got it now. I’m going to have much more to say about this later, much more; I hope you will too. In the meantime, I wanted to share a column on this matter by critic and Rock & Rap Confidential editor Dave Marsh. This was the latest of that newsletter’s “Extras.” You can get those in your own inbox, by the way, by just sending an email with “Subscribe” in the subject line to rockrap@aol.com. 

*****

“The Imus Affair–Rap & Race, War & Peace” by Dave Marsh

In the immediate aftermath of the Don Imus scandal—before there was a resolution, in fact—respectable folks turned their sights on what I guess is the real threat to social harmony in this country: rap music. “A line has been drawn as to what is acceptable and what will not be tolerated,” huffed Today show weatherman Al Roker. “A dialog has been started about race in our country. An opportunity has been created to start holding responsible those who produce and broadcast offensive music lyrics, both rap and rock, that denigrate and marginalizes women.” Even more nauseating was the assault—you can’t describe it better—by Kansas City Star columnist, Jason Whitlock, whose position is basically that Imus should have been left alone until the scourge of bad music and out-of-line musicians was repelled. The liberals and progressives I talked to and read mostly thought this a nifty keen thought, though of course Imus had to go, too.

Presumably Roker and Whitlock are merely the warmup acts for the nation’s chief hater of rap, rock and black youth: Bill Cosby, who must have been out making pudding or something during last week’s contretemps. And where was that harridan against hip-hop excess, Oprah Winfrey, all week? [It’s since been announced that Whitlock will appear on Oprah’s show tomorrow. –dc] The Imus mess certainly has given us a chance to observe the priorities of rich and powerful African-Americans—Cosby, Winfrey, Whitlock and Roker are all black.

Somehow, maybe it would be hard for you to understand why, I found much more frightening than the last Busta Rhymes album (arguably, the best of his career) this New York Times headline, from Wednesday April 11, buried at the back of the A section: 

In Alabama, Giuliani Calls Confederate Flag a Local Issue 

That is, the leading Republican Presidential candidate is making a naked appeal to states’ rights. If you’re too young to remember, states rights was the pretext for the Civil War and a hundred years of Jim Crow and lynching after it. 

According to the deaf, dumb and blind boys who run the Washington and national political press corps, Giuliani is electable partly because he’s a Northerner and not a “social conservative.” (According to Imus, who hung with all those pundits, Giuliani’s candidacy was appealing because he’s “somebody who’s willing to take three big ones and drop one on Mecca, one on Jeddah, and one on…Riyadh.” He said this about eight weeks before his “slip of the tongue” about the women who lost a basketball game for Rutgers.) 

Rudoph Giuliani has a history very similar to Don Imus, on whose show he was sometimes a guest, and more pertinently, to the last disgraced NYC talk show mouth, Bob Grant, an even more unapologetic racist. Rudy appeared quite frequently on Grant’s show before Bob got bounced off WABC for celebrating the death of Clinton’s African-American commerce secretary, Ron Brown, on the air. I’d say Rudy’s considerably worse than either Imus or Grant, though. 

Grant used to refer regularly on his show to Mayor David Dinkins, Giuliani’s immediate predecessor, as “the washroom attendant,” and got away with it. But Giuliani empowered the racism of the New York Police Department in a special way. Giuliani used Grant’s bigot rhetoric to help make himself mayor. In the midst of his 1992 campaign against Dinkins, Rudy cheerfully appeared at a demonstration (which came closer to the description “riot”) of NYPD officers on the steps of City Hall. The cops were outraged that Dinkins had proposed a police review board run by civilians. Sure enough, one of the angry cops referred to Dinkins as “The Washroom Attendant.” Giuliani stepped to the mic, and said nothing about the slur. So he didn’t actually say the words but his unreserved support for the cops was endorsement enough. 

During Rudy Giuliani’s terms as mayor, Amadou Diallo was murdered with 41 shots from gun-crazy cops. 

While Rudy Giuliani was mayor, Abner Louima was raped with a broomstick by Rudy’s police.

During his mayoralty, Rudy Giuliani slashed the budget of the Civilian Complaint Review Board that was established over his protests. In its first five years, during all of which Giuliani was mayor, the CCRB received 20,000 complaints—4,000 a year. One cop lost his job—until the Louima rape. Then several went to jail. And having learned its lesson, the system allowed the Diallo cops to be tried upstate, instead of by a jury of New York City citizens. 

After the Louima rape, Giuliani characterized as “shameful”…his opponents efforts to publicize and politicize it.

We can probably count on him to do the same if his endorsement of states’ rights in the form of the traitor’s flag of the Confederacy is raised in the Presidential race.

That’s exactly why it needs to be raised, raised again and again. And when Jason Whitlock writes a column on this, he’ll get some respect from me. Until then, he can kiss Busta Rhymes ass, maybe. I wouldn’t have him near mine.  –Dave Marsh, Editor, Rock & Rap Confidential***** 

Rock & Rap Confidential is an Internet publication available FREE by email to anyone who wants it. To subscribe, simply send an email with “Subscribe” in the subject line to rockrap@aol.com. 

20 Responses to “Jason Whitlock Is a Big, Fat Idiot…”

  1. Tater Says:

    Why the outrage with Jason Whitlock? Or is it outrage over censorship? If it is outrage over censorship then please put Al Sharpton, the Saudi Royal Family, the FCC, Focus on the Family, Media Matters for America, my High School Principal and a host of other “Morality Police” in the same cross-hairs you have Whitlock in. These folks are all either promoting censorship or turning a blind eye to it when it isn’t directly affecting their core constituents. Are we only outraged when they censor something in our “neighborhood”(music)? Music censorship baffles me to no end. I just don’t get it, some like the Dixie Chicks some prefer Darryl Worley, I don’t like either, but don’t expect me to jump on the bandwagon to shut either of them up. The only thing that interests me less than their recent music is their thoughts on public or foreign policy.

    So, How can you be upset with Whitlock and not Sharpton? Why do you/we pick and choose who, how and when we are outraged? Selective moral outrage is rampant on both sides of the isle and in ever community. Sharpton was quick to point out that he has been at the “forefront” of addressing the damage “Hip Hop” culture was having on his community. It seems that Al may be the next “leader” to start beating the drum of Music Censorship! Though I don’t agree with Whitlock’s views of “Hip Hop” culture, I feel he referenced it to make the point that Sharpton is morally corrupt when it comes to taking the lead and the high ground in the Imus debate. My opinion is that Al Sharpton is a hypocrite, an extortionist and makes money off exploiting victomhood in his community. That is what Whitlock accused him of, and that is part of the reason why he is garnering praise and disgust from every political corner. Now don’t get me wrong the other side has their fare share of bottom feeders like the Reverand, but they haven’t enjoyed the longevity and icon stature that Al and Jesse have. I don’t feel my questioning of “black leadership” makes me one of the “white folks” you call out in your post; it makes me someone who has HOPE for better leadership for everyone. But when I picture HOPE in my mind it isn’t Al Sharpton’s face smiling back at me!
    The headline “Big Fat Idiot” is offensive to me David :)
    Keep up the good work and the next Whiskey Flight is on me at HCC!

  2. Brad Says:

    “…particularly by white folks who always love a black person who will blame black people for most of their own problems and, in the process, provide cover, and a pat on the back, for those many whites who want to do the same thing.”

    This is intensely well written. I completely agree and kudos for the insight.

    It’s a little disconcerting to read on the internet - full of so much bluster - someone who writes with grace and intelligence, and someone with whom I so often agree (… the Snickers ad incident, the Peter Pace incident, America being born again, now this). Cheers.

  3. Mitchell Moore Says:

    ” . . . particularly by white folks who always love a black person who will blame black people for most of their own problems and, in the process, provide cover, and a pat on the back, for those many whites who want to do the same thing.”

    And guys like Whitlock are also useful to white folks to the extent that they change the subject and redirect the discussion away from the issue that they don’t really want to talk about, the living legacy of white supremacy. But I can’t but wonder if Jackson and Sharpton aren’t also useful to white folks precisely because of their lack of credibility with mainstream whites. They seem like just the sort of “black leadership” that white America wants - the kind that doesn’t have to be taken seriously. Just a thought.

  4. Wesley Says:

    I’m looking forward to what else you have to say on the subject of Whitlock’s war against Rap. I was really disappointed by Dave Marsh’s editorial. Enough so to actually cancel my subscription. No I’m a not a Rudy fan but Marsh’s rant had nothing to do with Jason Whilock’s article. If you want to defend Rap then defend it. Maybe he couldn’t so instead he offers his opinion on Mr Guliani. That is very poor journalism.

  5. archer Says:

    you struck a nerve seriousy in need of a thumpin’, jw. just check all the squirming…

    die sixties, die!

  6. Charles Says:

    The saddest thing about this whole post-Imus attack on hip-hop is that it’s diverted attention away from a potentially healthy debate about certain aspects of hip-hop culture that’s been brewing within the hip-hop community for some time. I’m of the opinion that issues like misogyny and homophobia within hip-hop (and the corporate philosophies which underpin them) *have* to be dealt with, and what seemed like a constructive debate a month ago (when Kevin Hurtt’s brilliant film BEYOND BEATS AND RHYMES actually got a bunch of relatively reasoned mainstream attention) has now been twisted into the same old “Shape Up, Black People!” screed. As you point out so accurately, David, that’s something white folks never seem to get enough of.

  7. David Cantwell Says:

    Mitchell , I think you’re right on. You also do a good job, I think, of beginning to answer both Tater’s and Wesley’s comments. The connection between Whitlock/Imus and Giulliani is, among other things, that the former diverts us from the latter, one’s on the front page while the other is buried; it’s a diversion from the real problem.

    I’ll have a new post today where I’ll try to talk about all of this some more.

    Thanks, Jeff. And thanks everyone for commenting.

  8. Tater Says:

    1st point is Censorship=Bad. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Al Sharpton, Condi Rice, Media Matters and Elisabeth Hasselbeck screaming for Don Imus’s head, or calls for censoring “Fuck the Police” or “Knoxville Girl”. And when FOLKS (White, Black or Korean) show indifference about Censorship because it doesn’t directly effect their world today it is just as damaging as when FOLKS only feign outrage when it’s threatening something they hold dear(Art). The 1st Amendment applies to everyone, everyday.

    2nd point is the Black Community deserves better leadership/perceived leadership than Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

    “They seem like just the sort of “black leadership” that white America wants - the kind that doesn’t have to be taken seriously.” – Mitchell

    “The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.” – Humphreys

    Just because Al talks about serious issues and acts serious doing so, does not mean I have to accept him as serious leader or take him seriously. Great leaders deal in Hope, Love and Sacrifice – Al deals in none of those, and if on this issue Whitlock and I agree, then so be it.

  9. fosrecords Says:

    4 years ago, i spent a year here in k.c. and didn’t like whitlock’s classist writings. just came back here to find this. it’s gonna go off again in this country cuz of clueless narrow minded kiss asses like whitlock in the spotlite, fanning the flame. i hope i’m right suggesting this is classist in root cuz if it’s the same old racist thing then my olive sicilian skin must have more african in it than my family wants to admit. hope? hope is for the majority, not the minority. fight is for the minority. boom.

  10. PoorBoy Says:

    The black community has enough problems without rich white men paying poor black men to make the entire black race look like small minded, misogynistic, lazy criminals. “I stack money, lay low and chill. No need to work hard, that’s the way I feel.” Is that really the message that a 14 year old black kid growing up at 55th and The Paseo needs to hear? “Look, kid, either work hard or never get out of the ghetto.” That’s the message that kid should hear every second of every day.

    I wish that people would not defend hip-hop as an expression of the black community that needs to be protected against the onslaught of conservative whites. The black community doesn’t decide what the message of hip-hop is, the white community does. The black community doesn’t profit from hip-hop, the white community does. Hip-hop isn’t a black problem, it’s a white problem.

  11. David Cantwell Says:

    Poor boys: The big lie of American culture is this: If you work hard, and play by the rules, and want it badly enough, you can be anything you want to be.

    This is a big fat lie, as most 14 year old poor boys everywhere eventually discover (though it may take them well past the age of 14 to do it). Effort doesn’t equal success, and idleness doesn’t equal failure (just ask our president).

    Which is not to say that work hard or stay stuck isn’t a message your hypothetical kid hears everyday already. We all hear it, everyday.

    Finally, if 55th and Paseo is your idea of the ghetto, you may need to get out more.

  12. PoorBoy Says:

    David: I suppose it really depends on your experience. I grew up at and around 18th and Central in KCK (various homes from 16th up to 28th and Barnett) in the mid-and-late 80s (just as crack and gang activity were both at their peek in the area), so I know something about being poor and living in a crappy neighborhood. I worked harder than anyone I knew to get out; and I got out. I know scores of people who I grew up with who shared your attitude that success was a matter of luck, and they’re either still down on Central, or in Prison, or dead.

    That’s not to say that I never got lucky. I was lucky enough to be born in America, where I was educated, at no cost to myself, until I was 18. I was luckier, still, that taxpayers were willing to lend me the money for college and graduate school. I used those bits of luck to position myself well for success, and I’ve achieved some measure of it.

    I would also debate with you whether or not poor kids hear the message that they are solely responsible for their future success or failure on a regular basis. Only 25% of Americans earn a 4-year degree, yet it is the poorest who have the greatest economic access to advanced education via the Pell Grant, subsidized loans, and even the EITC (the $32,000,000,000 a year giveaway to the “working poor”). Only about 8% of the American population is educated to the Master’s level, even though graduate plus subsidized loans make it tremendously easy to secure financing for graduate school regardless of credit or current income. Given that education is a requirement for success in our modern economy (in almost every case), and given the ease of securing an education regardless of socio-economic situations, the idea that 92% of the population is both being bombarded with the message of “work hard or stay stuck” but is choosing to stay stuck is highly unlikely. I choose to assume that most people aren’t getting the message, than to believe that they’re just to stupid, or too lazy, to take the advice.

    The most egregious form of racism perpetrated on blacks today, by the white liberal establishment, is the removal of all hope from that community and the replacement of whatever optimism once existed with a nihilist outlook and a deep dependence on government assistance.

    So, you go ahead and tell the kid that there’s no hope and that he my-as-well start looking at 55th and Paseo as something other than the ghetto; if he wants my house, and my car, my job, and my retirement account — he’d better get to work and get as far from folks like you as he can get.

  13. David Cantwell Says:

    Poor Boy: I think you make a number of logical errors here. Beginning with trying to universalize your experience as possible or likely for everyone (I worked hard and I got out). Likewise, you seem to assume something we all know isn’t true: that your success was do only to your own innitiative and that those who stay stuck, as you put it, did so because they didnt’ try hard enough.

    Then there’s the issue of luck. Luck does play a tremendous factor in all of our lives. But having access to public schools, for instance, is not what I would call luck. Rather, that’s one part of a social system that has been designed by humans.

    That same system has some kids starting out in poor circumstances and others in priviliged ones. But that there are some wealthy people in that system while most people are struggling middle class or working poor or poor or destitute is, in a capitalist economy, not luck at all. It’s the inevitable result.

    Finally, you are setting up a false dilemma. The choices are not between a world where we choose to stay stuck or choose not to, our choices are not between a world where hard work is always rewarded or a world where there’s no hope, only luck. Our world isn’t black and white like that; it’s complex. Lives, all of our lives, no matter where we start out, are created through the interplay of effort and chance and economic realities and parenting and education and politics and what different gifts come in our DNA, and what limitations too, and prejudice and privilige and opportunity and a million other variables, many of which are under our individual control and many more which are not and more still that might yet bend to our will, if we acted collectively rather than alone. By contrast to the world we actually inhabit, the notion that hard work = success is a fairy tale.

    One more thing: I welcome future opportunities to discuss this and anything else with you here at Living in Stereo. I really do. However, any additional pesonal attacks of the type you engaged in in your concluding paragraph will be comments that I will likely just ignore.

  14. PoorBoy Says:

    David:

    Obviously the presence of public education isn’t luck, that was my point. Sometimes luck is just about taking advantage of the opportunities life presents you. A huge majority of the people in this country (regardless of race, income, religion, or background) fail to take advantage of the opportunities that they are given.

    My final statement wasn’t an attack, it was a statement. I do not think that it would be beneficial for poor kids to listen to people like you, because you wouldn’t seem to have anything to offer them that would be beneficial to their lives, outlook, or future.

  15. David Cantwell Says:

    Poor Boy: If you really believe that then you should stay away too, right? What could you possibly gain here? At any rate, even by your own description, you engaged in personal attack.

    Folks like you? People like me? Come on…

    Hope, and the action it inspires, is at base the whole teaching gig as far as I’m concerned.

    But here in the real world, the only thing beneficial you can offer anyone, ever, is looking at the world as it is–all hope lies in that direction, not in fairy stories of how we’d like the world to be or how we’re told it is via one kind of propaganda or another. The notion that one of the biggest problems we face in this country is simply that people don’t take advantage of the “opportunities” they are “given” is unserious on its face. Do we all have the same quantity and quality of opportunities? Even remotely? In a competitive market, aren’t there going to be winners and losers by definition, and aren’t some of those losers–indeed, most of them–going to be people who worked very hard, played by the rules, seized their opportunities, and maintained a positive attitude?

    Of course everyone should be encouraged to work hard and take advantage of opportunities. How could that even be at issue? But to tell people that success, even just some measure of it, will automatically follow, or that it even will likely follow, is a dreamworld, an unbeneficial state in which to live by definition.

  16. PoorBoy Says:

    I think your willfully ignoring the point. I’ll state it plainly, and then probably will drop out of the conversation.

    1) everyone should be encouraged to work hard and take advantage of opportunities, we agree.

    2) I never argued that success would automatically follow from doing the right thing. I would argue, however, that failure will always follow from doing the wrong thing.

    3) White people own the record labels, and decide on which “artists” get record deals, and by extension white people decide on what messages are piped into the black community. It would be difficult to argue that there are more pervasive messages being piped into that community right now. The messages that whites are currently piping into the black community are not messages about doing the right thing, but about doing the wrong thing.

    4) You seem to argue that the message being piped in by white people via hip hop is simply a message of realism and truth, and that most people won’t succeed because our market economy dictates that there will be more losers than winners. I suppose that the argument that you make, then, is that we shouldn’t “get their hopes up”?

    5) Your ideas about the market economy are off base. While only 25% of the population obtains any education beyond high school, only 30% of the population qualifies for the EITC, indicating that most people are at least achieving the level of lower middle class, even without taking advantage of the market’s most basic opportunities. So, not only are most of the failures in our system not people “who worked very hard, played by the rules, seized their opportunities and maintained a positive attitude”; but a good percentage of the people who succeed at achieving or maintaining a middle-class lifestyle did so while leaving opportunities on the table (indicating the many middle-class families could be doing even better if they worked harder, and took advantage of more opportunities).

    6) Finally, there is no truth in the message of hip-hop. The message, again, is being chosen by rich white men who have no idea what life in the ghetto is like. The message from hip-hop is pessimistic without reason, unabashedly racist, misogynistic, and completely detached from the reality of the experience of poverty for 99% of those who live in it. The form has no value but to the white investors in the conglomerates that own the labels who produce the records.

  17. David Cantwell Says:

    PB:

    1. Yes.

    2. We disagree. Failure does not always follow from the wrong thing (leaving alone what exactly, and who, decides what’s “wrong”). Life is not a meritocracy, though of course we can strive to make it more so.

    3. You have a limited–maybe selective?–sense of hip hop, I guess. You characterize it with a pretty broad brush. But even with the cases of whatever “wrong” rap lyric you might cite, we still have to ask some questions: How is it used by the people who like it? Music fulfills for people some social function, usually acts as some kind of survival tool–and that function and those means are of their own creation. Record companies will sell what they think sells and dont’ give a shit about messages. Even if they did, though, those “intended” messages wouldn’t necessarily be the ones valued in the music by the people who love it. Also, what do the words mean for hip hops audience, not just on paper but in the context of its music, delivery, and social environment? For starters…

    4. Actually, I haven’t–yet–argued anything about what the message of the music is. Realism and truth is certainly one thing rap deals with, but not the only one. Like any genre, gangsta rap isn’t monolithic. I wouldn’t say “dont’ get your hopes up.” Rather I’d say, we need to organzie and create a saner world. That’s where the hope comes in–we ccan, together, hange the world–as opposed to simply saying, “It’s out of our hands, and you’re for the most part on your own; so you’d better work hard–and good luck.”

    5. You’re not talking about the market economy with these examples (indeed, a true freemarketer would characterize your ex’s as a crippling and burdensome intrusion upon the market’s invisible hand.)

    6. See #3. But more on this later.

  18. PoorBoy Says:

    “Wrong”, for our purposes, is obviously based on whether or not one takes advantage of the opportunities one is given. That’s been the overriding theme of our discussion for two days. I’m not a moralist, and don’t care whether people are living rightly or not, just that people understand that they don’t have to fail economically.

    Realism and truth aren’t dealt with in hip-hop at all — and to clarify, I’m talking about pop-hip-hop — of course we could talk about KRS1, PE, and other “underground” acts that have a message — their message isn’t being heard, and we can substantiate that by simply looking at record sales and the types of venues that they play. It doesn’t make sense for us to talk about acts that few people hear when we’re talking about the social affects of a form. I’m sure you can’t disagree with that.

    You’re talking about a theory of open markets, and I’m talking about the market. We’re having two different discussions. There’s no such thing as an open market, and most people are pretty lucky that’s the case.

    In #3 you both ignore the important point, that the black community neither chooses, nor is benefited by the message of hip-hop, and you then claim that the market is affecting the message through sales. People knew 50 Cent’s name for two years before he had a national record — the people are not driving the market, the market is driving people. I really will be interested to see how you view the fact that hip-hop is a completely white industry that “exploits” the black market in all senses of the word, and how you rectify that with the idea that hip-hop is somehow a black form that needs to be defended from interference by whites and concerned blacks as well.

  19. David Cantwell Says:

    Quickly…

    Yeah, I’m talking pop hip hop too…

    “That the black community neither chooses, nor is benefitted by, the message of hop” is just silly. Corporations have tremendous power over what we see and hear, but they are really horrible at producing music a lot of people like. Most corporate releases sell little, even with big marketing budgets. It’s unpredictable what people will latch onto and use, so the companies have to keep an ear to the ground–and even then people like what they like. In the rap world, it’s mostly black people who are making the music and who are loving it first, though for an act to be huge they have to gain a huge white audience. But that’s true of any genre.

    But still, your focus on only one part of the story, the corporate part (and a cartoonish story at that–where record companies are all powerful and not only exploit the current taste but invent and dictate those tastes as well), leaves you neglecting the music itself and the people who love it. Again: Why do people love the music so much–espeically if its so bad for them that even Jason Whitless can see it? What do they get out of it?

    Maybe it’s that you think musical “messages” are either completely “good” or completely “bad,” one or the other, black or white. I think it’s complex, as I suggested in my last posted response. How do people use the music? What function does it serve for them? Why do they not just listen to it, but love hip hop enthusiastically ?

    I agree that things’d be worse in a “free market” than even they are now; but the mistake is to think that Pell grants and public schools and the rest somehow have solved the evils inherent in a market system. That was my point.

    I do hope you stick around, Poor Boy. It’s good not to always preach to the choir and to pushed to think more about all of this. As I plan to keep doing. Thanks.

  20. PoorBoy Says:

    Alright, for real I give after this one. I do appreciate the exchange, though.

    It’s telling to me that you describe my picture of corporations as cartoonish. I’ve seen first hand what goes on in meetings where major decisions about what does and doesn’t hit the market happen. I know that what may sound like a caricature is often a sad reality. It’s like when Orwell described what the government does as being purposefully crazy, that way anyone who described it to another would sound so crazy that he couldn’t be taken seriously.

    As an (almost) unrelated example that may give folks a different way of looking at the music industry, I’d ask that you consider the development and marketing of Paxil and Prozac. These were both “blockbuster drugs” that drew in hundreds-of-billions of dollars to make people *think* that they were happier. For serious depression there are serious drugs, like Lithium. Prozac was never meant to do anything for serious depression (though it was marketed as a depression drug) — Prozac was meant to treat “mild depression” (a non-clinical diagnosis), and was only shown to be affective at even that about 59% of the time (people *felt* better). Paxil wasn’t even that affective, so they had to lobby the FDA for a designation of treating a completely new affliction: “SAD” (social affective disorder). Paxil made billions treating a disease that Paxil invented! If you follow my point, I’m simply pointing out that any good company directs the market. There is no demand for the 2015 model Honda…but in all likelihood there will be a 2015 Honda, and people will buy it even though a majority of them will have a perfectly well performing automobile when they buy it. There are literally millions of examples of products for which there is no demand until a marketing department creates one. Sometimes, as with 2015 Hondas, the effect is not terrible; with Paxil and Prozac, one could argue that there are different ethics involved. I am simply arguing that the ethics of hip-hop are different than the ethics of some other products because of who is affected, and who is profiting.

    That’s all — I really won’t talk any more about it. But, I will stick around and probably bother you about something else some other time. Take care.

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