::Literate Blather::
Friday, July 18, 2008
Gone Fishin'

We are taking a much needed vacation. We'll be back in August with more cultural blather about movies, music and literature. Don't miss us too much while we're napping in the sunshine.


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Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The Most Memorial Supporting Characters in Dickens

A List of 10 Great Minor Characters from the Dickens Canon


Novel: Oliver Twist

Year: 1838

Description: “As he glided stealthily along, creeping beneath the shelter of the walls and doorways, the hideous old man seemed like some loathsome reptile, engendered in the slime and darkness through which he moved: crawling forth, by night, in search of some rich offal for a meal."

Occupation: Criminal mastermind (and the Artful Dodger’s boss)

DP Nugget: Fagin is a monstrosity who runs a pack of orphans as a criminal enterprise. He’s also used an example of Dickens’ alleged anti-Semitism because he is often referred to as “The Jew.” Jewish characters are few and far between in Victorian literature, but Dickens also created a likable Jewish character in “Our Mutual Friend.”

Why We Love Him: Fagin is a loathsome toad, but unforgettable as a villain.

Jacob Marley

Novel: A Christmas Carol

Year: 1843

Description:Marley's face. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. It was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead. The hair was curiously stirred, as if by breath or hot air; and, though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless. That, and its livid colour, made it horrible; but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face and beyond its control, rather than a part of its own expression.

Occupation: Moneylender

DP Nugget: Amazingly, in the Walt Disney version “Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Marley is played by Goofy.

Why We Love Him: “Marley is imprisoned in death by his greed in life. It’s hard not to have this image seared into your mind: The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel.”

Estella Havisham

Novel: Great Expectations

Year: 1861

Description: “The lady whom I had never seen before, lifted up her eyes and looked archly at me, and then I saw that the eyes were Estella’s eyes. But she was so much changed, was so much more beautiful, so much more womanly, in all things winning admiration had made such wonderful advance, that I seemed to have made none. I fancied, as I looked at her, that I slipped hopelessly back into the coarse and common boy again.”

Occupation: Lady

DP Nugget: Estella is referenced in Alanis Morissette’s song “All I Really Want.”

Why We Love Her: Beautiful and with a heart of ice, Estella is the prototype of the femme fatale.

Tiny Tim

Novel: A Christmas Carol

Year: 1843

Description: “Alas for Tiny Tim, he bore a little crutch, and had his limbs supported by an iron frame.”

Occupation: None (an invalid little boy)

DP Nugget: What exactly was wrong with Tiny Tim? Dickens doesn’t tell readers, but there’s been speculation that Tiny Tim had renal tubular acidosis – a form of kidney disease.

Why We Love Him: Diseased and dying, yet beloved by his family and the always the eternal optimist. It’s almost impossible to read about Tiny Tim’s death (with his crutch leaning against the hearth) and not get misty eyed.

Uriah Heep

Novel: David Copperfield

Year: 1850

Description: As I came back, I saw Uriah Heep shutting up the office; and feeling friendly towards everybody, went in and spoke to him, and at parting, gave him my hand. But oh, what a clammy hand his was! as ghostly to the touch as to the sight! I rubbed mine afterwards, to warm it, AND TO RUB HIS OFF. It was such an uncomfortable hand, that, when I went to my room, it was still cold and wet upon my memory. Leaning out of the window, and seeing one of the faces on the beam-ends looking at me sideways, I fancied it was Uriah Heep got up there somehow, and shut him out in a hurry.”

Occupation: Clerk

DP Nugget: Was Uriah Heep a metaphor for masturbation? The character’s hands are often described as wet, clammy, and sticky.

Why We Love Him: Is there a more obsequious character in English literature? No one uses the word “humble” to better effect.

Daniel Quilp

Novel: The Old Curiosity Shop

Year: 1841

Description: “The creature appeared quite horrible with his monstrous head and little body, as he rubbed his hands slowly round, and round, and round again – with something fantastic even in his manner of performing this slight action – and, dropping his shaggy brows and cocking his chin in air, glanced upwards with a stealthy look of exultation that an imp might have copied and appropriated to himself.”

Occupation: Moneylender

DP Nugget: Quilp a twisted, greedy hobgoblin – but he gets his just desserts when he becomes lost in the London fog and drowns in the Thames River.

Why We Love Him: One of the Seven Dwarfs he’s not. But he’s one of Dickens most dastardly characters.

Sam Weller

Novel: The Pickwick Papers

Year: 1837

Description: “’My man is in the right, although his mode of expressing his opinion is somewhat homely, and occasionally incomprehensible.’”

Occupation: Servant

DP Nugget: Sam Weller is the funniest character in a humorous novel – and comes up with nuggets of witty – and often

Why We Love Him: He’s simple, yet wise – filled with anecdotes and crazy opinions, but very big hearted and kind underneath it all.

Gaffer Hexam

Novel: Our Mutual Friend

Year: 1864-65

Description:Half savage as the man showed, with no covering on his matted head, with his brown arms bare to between the elbow and the shoulder, with the loose knot of a looser kerchief lying low on his bare breast in a wilderness of beard and whisker, with such dress as he wore seeming to be made out of the mud that begrimed his boat, still there was business-like usage in his steady gaze.”

Occupation: Water man

DP Nugget: Gaffer is a minor character, but hard to forget. His occupation is trolling the waters of the Thames River in search of drowning victims. He plucks them out of the water, takes any money or valuables, and then claims rewards from the police or family of the victim.

Why We Love Him: Despite his gruesome occupation, Gaffer is a hardworking honorable man – a difficult literary achievement and evidence of Dickens prowess as a novelist.

The Artful Dodger

Novel: Oliver Twist

Year: 1838

Description:He was a snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy enough; and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see; but he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. He was short of his age: with rather bow-legs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes. His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly, that it threatened to fall off every moment--and would have done so, very often, if the wearer had not had a knack of every now and then giving his head a sudden twitch, which brought it back to its old place again. He wore a man's coat, which reached nearly to his heels. He had turned the cuffs back, half-way up his arm, to get his hands out of the sleeves: apparently with the ultimated view of thrusting them into the pockets of his corduroy trousers; for there he kept them. He was, altogether, as roystering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet six, or something less, in the bluchers.”

Occupation: Pickpocket

DP Nugget: The Artful Dodger was a minor character in the Dickens’ novel, but has become so beloved – probably because of his name – that his role in movie and television adaptations is always amplified.

Why We Love Him: He’s a devious, but lovable son of a bitch.

Madam Therese Defarge

Novel: A Tale of Two Cities

Year: 1859

Description: “Madame Defarge, his wife, sat in the shop behind the counter as he came in. Madame Defarge was a stout woman of about his own age, with a watchful eye that seldom seemed to look at anything, a large hand heavily ringed, a steady face, strong features and great composure of manner. There was a character about Madame Defarge, from which one might have predicated that she did not often make mistakes against herself in any of the reckonings over which she presided. Madame Defarge being sensitive to cold, was wrapped in fur, and had a quantity of bright shawl twine about her, though not to the concealment of her large ear-rings. Her knitting was before her, but she had laid it down to pick her teeth with a toothpick.”

Occupation: Knitter and wife of a wine-shop owner

DP Nugget: Madame Defarge knits the names of the dead into her quilt.

Why We Love Her: She is a quiet, but vengeful revolutionary who seeks justice for the death of her family.

Reading Dickens

5 Questions About: Charles Dickens

What's for Dinner? The Politics of Eating Your Meals

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Monday, July 14, 2008
Our Favorite Will Ferrell Lines

32 Dingers from the Funniest Man in Hollywood

From “Semi-Pro”

“Everybody panic! Oh my God, there's a bear loose in the coliseum! There will be no refunds! Your refund will be escaping this deathtrap with your life! If you have a small child, use it as a shield! They love the tender meat! Cover your sodas! Dewie loves sugar!”

From “Blades of Glory”

“No exaggeration, I could not love a human baby more then I love this brush.”

“I see you still look like a fifteen year old girl, but not hot.”

“Troubled childhood? If you consider a 9 year old kid with a 35 year old girlfriend troubled.”

“Hey. They laughed at Louis Armstrong when he said he was gonna go to the moon. Now he's up there, laughing at them.”

From “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”

“Dear Lord Baby Jesus, I want to thank you for this wonderful meal, my two beautiful son's, Walker and Texas Ranger, and my Red-Hot Smokin' Wife, Carley.”

“Dear Lord baby Jesus, lying there in your ghost manger, just lookin' at your Baby Einstein developmental videos, learning about shapes and colors. I would like to thank you for bringing me and my mama together, and also that my kids no longer sound like retarded gang-bangers.”

“Well let me just quote the late-great Colonel Sanders, who said...`I'm too drunk to taste this chicken.’”

“No one lives forever, no one. But with advances in modern science and my high level income, it's not crazy to think I can live to be 245, maybe 300. Heck, I just read in the newspaper that they put a pig heart in some guy from Russia.”

From “Wedding Crashers”

“Yeah, her boyfriend just died. Dude died in a hang-gliding accident! What an idiot! `Aaaahhh, I'm hang-gliding! Take a good picture, honey, I'm dead!’"

“Grief is nature's most powerful aphrodisiac.”

“I almost numchucked you, you don't even realize!”

“Mom! The meat loaf! Fuck!”

From “Bewitched”

“Let's make love in a hot-air balloon - let's make love in a candy factory - let's make love in a petting zoo. Let's make love at Sea World on the back of a killer whale!”

“Where is my dog? I will die if I do not have him back! Do you understand me? I WILL DIE IF I DO NOT HAVE HIM BACK!”

From “Kicking & Screaming”

“I am angry. I'm like a large tornado of anger, swirling about.”

“My dad, he's a coach. He knows the game, he's confident, he's smart, witty, dynamic, vicious, brutal, vindictive, a monster! And he will win by intimidation and forceful tactics if need be. I'm not like that. I don't know anyone like that. Do you?”

“Mike Ditka scares me! Have you ever looked into his eyes? Or at his hair?”

From “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”

“You're so wise. You're like a miniature Buddha, covered in hair.”

“I know that one day Veronica and I are going to get married on top of a mountain, and there's going to be flutes playing and trombones and flowers and garlands of fresh herbs. And we will dance till the sun rises. And then our children will form a family band. And we will tour the countryside and you won't be invited.”

“You've got a dirty whorish mouth.”

“I'm going to punch you in the ovary, that's what I'm gonna do. A straight shot. Right to the babymaker.”

“I don't normally do this, but I felt compelled to tell you something. You have an absolutely breath-taking... heiney. I mean, that thing's good. I want be friends with it.”

From “Elf”

“It's just like Santa's workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they wanna hurt me.”

“We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.”

“You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don't smell like Santa.”

From “Old School”

Deep down, I am feeling a little confused. I mean, suddenly, you get married, and you're supposed to be this entirely different guy. I don't feel different. I mean, take yesterday for example. We were out at the Olive Garden for dinner, which was lovely. And uh, I happen to look over at a certain point during the meal and see a waitress taking an order, and I found myself wondering what color her underpants might be. Her panties. Uh, odds are they are probably basic white, cotton, underpants. But I sort of think well maybe they're silk panties, maybe it's a thong. Maybe it's something really cool that I don't even know about. You know, and uh, and I started feeling... what? what I thought we were in the trust tree in the nest, were we not?”

“Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we're going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I don't know, I don't know if we'll have enough time.”

“You're my boy, Blue! You're my boy.”

From “Zoolander”

“Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.”

“SHUT UP! Enough already, Ballstein! Who cares about Derek Zoolander anyway? The man has only one look, for Christ's sake! Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigra? They're the same face! Doesn't anybody notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! I invented the piano key necktie, I invented it! What have you done, Derek? You've done nothing! NOTHING! And I will be a monkey's uncle if I let you ruin this for me, because if you can't get the job done, then I will!”

“Todd! Are you not aware that I get farty and bloated with a foamy latte?”

Under God's Right Arm: Favorite Bible Stories

Our Man Clint: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Our Favorite Movie Lines from Gov. Terminator

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Scary Water Movies

7 Rather Wet Movies for Summer Viewing

“Jaws” ruined me.

Whenever I swim in deep water, the theme song reverberates through my skull. That heavy drumming bass line that builds to crescendo and ends in some poor bastard being devoured alive.

It doesn’t matter if I’m in a lake or a pond either. Deep water = shark attack. It’s not logical, but that’s what happens when you see a movie like “Jaws” when you are an impressionable 13 years old.

There are many bad ways to die, but I can’t imagine anything worse than being eaten alive by a shark – that you can’t see. You can only feel its scaly hide and its jagged teeth sinking into the meat of your thigh.

Yet it’s more than just that.

Water is scary. Think about it. You can only see its surface. Yet you know there are things – some of them living things – below. When you swim in deep water you can’t see the rest of your body as your head bobs on the surface.

It’s a disconcerting feeling – all this liquid surrounding you and completely blind to what happening around your body. There could be a waterlogged piece of driftwood just inches from your toes or a clump of seaweed floating near the nape of your back.

In the ocean there can be hundreds, if not thousands of feet between you and the bottom. Anything can be down there. Sunken boats, dropped key chains, sea urchins, body parts…


See? I’m getting uptight just thinking about it. So while I go rent a cabin in the mountains – far away from the seashore – you can go rent one of these movies – which prove my point. Water is scary.


Year: 1975

Tagline: Amity Island had everything. Clear skies. Gentle surf. Warm water. People flocked there every summer. It was the perfect feeding ground.

Plot Synopsis: A gigantic man-eating shark invades the waters around a tourist island and begins to eat the swimmers. It’s up to the police chief, an old fisherman, and an oceanographer to put an end to this beast’s reign of terror.

Body of Water: Ocean

Water Related Terror: Well, there’s this really large shark and really small fishing boat…

Water Related Death: The worst death in the movie might be the opening one. A young couple heads to the shore after drinking at a party. As the man falls asleep, the woman strips and goes skinny-dipping in the surf. As she treads water in the moonlight, the shark tears off her leg and then proceeds to eat her alive. It’s chilling.

Notable Water Quote: “Y'all know me. Know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish. Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycocks. This shark, swallow you whole. No shakin', no tenderizin', down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back your tourists, put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant. I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.”

The Abyss

Year: 1989

Tagline: There’s everything you’ve ever known about adventure, and then there’s The Abyss.

Plot Synopsis: A team of expert divers is called in to help find a lost nuclear submarine. They make their base in an underwater research station and as they search they encounter an alien species.

Body of Water: Ocean

Water Related Terror: Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) and his wife Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) only have enough oxygen in a tank for one of them. Lindsey agrees to drown so that Bud can carry her underwater to another station and then he can revive her. It’s a powerful and frightening scene to watch her drown and then Bud to run as fast as he can – underwater – to save her.

Water Related Death: A Navy SEAL played by Michael Biehn goes bonkers and decides to start offing members of the crew. There’s nothing more dangerous at the bottom of the ocean that a crazed, psycho-SEAL.

Notable Water Quote: “Well, hell, son. You better get a line down to us. We're in moderately poor shape down here. We've lost seven people, including Bud. And we're about out of O2, so whatever you're gonna do, you better do it fast.”

Deep Blue Sea

Year: 1999

Tagline: Bigger. Smarter. Faster. Meaner.

Plot Synopsis: A group of scientists searching for a cure to Alzheimer’s disease ends up at an abandoned research facility that has been doing experimental research on sharks – developing three super sharks that decide that they’re hungry – for scientists.

Body of Water: Ocean

Water Related Terror: A sinking research station and three super intelligent genetically alter sharks decide that they want dinner.

Water Related Death: Being eaten by sharks – but “Deep Blue Sea” sneaks the attacks up on you. So be prepared.

Notable Water Quote: “You think water moves fast? You should see ice. It moves like it has a mind. Like it knows it killed the world once and got a taste for murder.”


Year: 2002

Tagline: Six hundred feet beneath the surface terror runs deep.

Plot Synopsis: A submarine crew in World War II is asked to pick up the survivors of a ship sunk by a Nazi destroyer. Weird things begin to happen after the three survivors are brought on board.

Body of Water: Ocean

Water Related Terror: A haunted submarine stranded on the bottom of the ocean can be a scary place.

Water Related Death: The captain of the ship is smashed on the head and plunges into the water where he drowns and become enmeshed in some rigging on the side of the U-boat.

Notable Water Quote: “It used to feel like a big ocean, didn't it?”

Open Water

Year: 2003

Tagline: Don’t get left behind.

Plot Synopsis: A couple goes scuba diving on a tourist boat and the crew mis-counts the number of people on board. The couple, late back to the boat, is left behind in miles from their island resort. The current takes them into open ocean and then the sharks come.

Body of Water: Ocean

Water Related Terror: Drifting for hours in the hot sun, and literally dying of thirst, a group of sharks begin to bump and grind against the two scuba divers. Then one of them takes a bites and bloodies up the water.

Water Related Death: Her husband already eaten alive by sharks, Susan (Blanchard Ryan) decides to drown herself as she watches the fins gather around her. Heart wrenching doesn’t begin to describe it.

Notable Water Quote: “Where's the boat. Daniel. Where's the boat?”

The Perfect Storm

Year: 2000

Tagline: In the Fall of 1991, the “Andrea Gail” left Gloucester, Mass. And headed for the fishing grounds of the North Atlantic. Two weeks later, an event took place that had never occurred in recorded history.

Plot Synopsis: A fishing boat with a crew of misfits gets stuck in a massive hurricane like storm and is capsized by an enormous wave.

Body of Water: Ocean

Water Related Terror: Being on a small, rickety fishing boat with waves the height of football stadiums bashing down on it.

Water Related Death: Drowning

Notable Water Quote: “I always find the fish. Always!”

Lake Placid

Year: 1999

Tagline: You’ll never know what bit you.

Plot Synopsis: A quiet lake for tourists is thrown into a panic when a very large and very hungry crocodile decides to move in and start eating people. Can the sheriff and a local paleontologist save the day?

Body of Water: Lake

Water Related Terror: The only thing worse than being eaten alive by a shark may be being eaten alive by a crocodile.

Water Related Death: A game warden is checking out a beaver dam in the lake when he is snatched by the giant crocodile and dragged across the lake in his jaws.

Notable Water Quote: “I’m rooting for the crocodile. I hope he swallows your friends whole.”

The 10 Greatest Drunks in Cinema History

Unintentionally Gay Moments in Cinema

Big Movie, Bad Movie

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Monday, July 07, 2008
Fantastically Bad Cinema: Rambo

The fourth installment of the Rambo series – simply titled “Rambo” (amazingly that wasn’t taken) – has an uncomplicated message:

Non-violence is for pussies.

That’s why more than 230 people are killed – on screen – in this blood lust of a movie. The violence is graphic: limbs blown off, skulls crushed under boots, throats torn out, and heads decapitated.

But all in the name of truth and justice!

“Rambo” (2008) exploits the deplorable situation in Burma – the country’s military junta has been in the process of ethnic cleansing the Karen natives for more than 60 years. But even worse is the film’s simple-minded and cynical solution – the only way to counteract violence is with more violence. All the peaceful characters in the movie are either killed or see the violent light (a Christian doctor, for example, who deplores the taking of life finally bashes the brains out of a Burmese soldier with a sharp rock).

"Rambo" is a bad film. But it wants to be more than the sum of its parts. It wants to be an "important" action film -- blood, sweat, and bullets with a message. But it ain't.

“Rambo” features a lumbering Sylvester Stallone reprising his role as the conflicted, ultra-violent ex-Green Beret John Rambo. Stallone resembles the giant from Jack in the Beanstalk as he thuds heavily across the screen grunting and muttering gems like: “They would've raped her 50 times and cut your fucking heads off” and “Fuck the world.” He's supposed to be the wise old warrior -- but he comes across as a retarded oaf.

As the movie opens, we find a sweaty, bloated Rambo living in Thailand as the owner of a river boat. He makes his living ferrying passengers, collecting poisonous snakes for a modest tourist attraction, and sweating profusely. A group of clean-cut Christian missionaries in bright colored outfits shows up and asks Rambo to take them into war-torn Burma so they can administer medical aid and bring humanitarian supplies to the victims.

The missionaries, with the exception of the pretty blond Sarah (played by Julie Benz), are portrayed as a bunch of sheltered, self-righteous wimps. When a perspiring Rambo mumbles that the only way to help the victims is to smuggle in weapons, the missionaries become aghast. Rambo, oozing like a sponge, scowls at them.

It’s amazing that the Christian Right didn’t go ballistic over “Rambo” because the underlying message of the film is that the Christian approach to conflict resolution: humanitarian aid, peaceful co-existence, etc. is crap. The movie portrays these do-gooder Christians as arrogant, weak-kneed morons.

As one of the mercenaries later growls at the leader of the church group: “God didn't save you, we did.”

Rambo reluctantly takes the missionaries into Burma and drops them off at a peaceful village of Karen natives. This idyllic situation lasts all of five minutes before the Burmese military – under the direction of a ruthless Colonel (who sports large, oval sunglasses and ends up being a pedophile homosexual) – attacks and kills as many villagers as possible. The scene is not for the faint of heart (lots of special effects enhanced blood sprays and flying body parts).

The missionaries aren’t killed, of course, but taken prisoner so they can be tortured in creative ways (such as being devoured alive by starving hogs). Rambo, dripping wet after a rain storm, is hired by the missionary group’s reverend to lead a pack of mercenaries into Burma for a rescue mission. These jokers are bad news – and out for themselves – so it is up to Rambo to reel them in.

“There isn't one of us that doesn't want to be someplace else. But this is what we do, who we are. Live for nothing, or die for something,” Rambo mumbles at one point (wetness dripping from his forehead).

Now the real blood sport begins. The movie makes sure to justify all of the ruthless violence administered by Rambo – because the bad guys have already committed so many atrocities that the audience can only root for Rambo to kill them all.

And he does a damn good job. In fact, it's fantastically bad cinema at its finest (and dampest).

Unfortunately, “Rambo” doesn’t elevate much beyond the gore and the eye-for-an-eye mentality. What the movie does best is show the results of human growth hormone on the body of a 61-year-old actor (visualize: waterlogged).

Fantastically Bad Cinema: Cocktail

M. Night Shyamalan: I See Bad Director

Is Indiana Jones a Misogynist?

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Thursday, July 03, 2008
Happy Fourth of July, America!
"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."

- Thomas Jefferson

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Essay: The Disgrace of Hip-hop
Hip-Hop and the Glorification of Repression

Most hip-hop music has become pornography – a glorification of smut. It’s a musical wasteland of drugs, violence, murder, rape, and misogyny. Forget the thugs and criminals that populate the scene (from Lil’ Kim who recently went to jail for perjury or 50 Cent who has been linked with gang shootings).

All you have to do is pay attention. Listen to the lyrics like this gem from Eminem:

“I told the doc I need a change in sickness/ and gave a girl herpes in exchange for syphilis/ Put my LP on your Christmas gift list/ You wanna get high, here bitch just sniff this.”

What a wonderful message for youngsters. Why would any parent allow an Eminem album in their home? Why would that kind of language and hatred toward women be tolerated?

It’s hard to believe that hip-hop music started in 1979 with Sugar Hill Gang’s delightful and playful “The Rapper’s Delight.” It had all the hallmarks of what would become hip-hop, including arrogant and boastful lyrics about the narrator’s sexual prowess and physical toughness, but the song also celebrated diversity:

“I'm rappin to the beat/ and me, the groove, and my friends are gonna try to move your feet/ see I am wonder mike and I like to say hello/ to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow/ but first I gotta bang bang the boogie to the boogie/ at celebrated music, culture, and good times.”

Hip-hop apologists claim that hip-hop reflects life in the ghetto. That may be true, but just because our inner cities are broken and the reality is disgraceful doesn’t mean we have to celebrate the worst aspects of them.

It is easy to pretend that hip-hop is some kind of pop culture documentary, but that’s a lie. Hip-hop celebrates the mayhem and thug lifestyle of the ghetto. It’s part of the repression that keeps inner city minorities trapped in the cycle of poverty. When you glorify shooting police officers and selling drugs and degrade education and earning an honest living then impressionable young people make the wrong decisions.

Hip-hop isn’t high art. It’s sleaze. But don’t take our word for it – listen to the words behind the music. It’s all the evidence you need.

“If I was fucking you, I'd let the homies fuck too/ Run up in the guts bust nuts and we're through/ Hey you feenin'/ cooch screamin', heatin' cleanin'/ Tag-teamin', suckin' semen.”
-- Ice Cube, “If I Was Fuckin’ You”

“Last time them niggaz rushed me, I aint bust but now I'm touchy/ Trust me, aint nothing jumpin but these buck shots/ Them niggaz got enough knots, I'm poppin corrupt cops/ Ya motherfuckaz catch a hot one/ You wanted to start a problem, now you coward cops have got one.”
-- 2Pak, “Soldier Like Me”

“I used to be scared of the dick/ Now I throw lips to the shit/ Handle it like a real bitch/ Heather Hunter, Janet Jack-me/ Take it in the butt, yah, yazz wha.”
-- Lil’ Kim, “Big Momma Thang”

“In the hood niggas know, how I handle my problems/ I walk up close, and I fo', fo' revolve 'em/ Don't make me run to you, put the gun to you/ Have yo ass on Phil Donahue explaining what the fuck I done to you.”
-- 50 Cent, “Make Money By Any Means”

“That day came the two started fuckin/ All the time you know kids habit's/ Every single day fuckin like rabbits/ Sneakin out the car when he was 15/ Climbin in the window and fuckin all night see/ Fuckin during lunch in the junior high bathrooms/ Drinking champagne and trippin on mushrooms/ His dick was metal her pussy was a magnet.”
-- Kid Rock, “Black Chick, White Guy”

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