It’s been a minute. I’ve been handling some crazy stuff in my personal life that I won’t get into, and I’m only now coming up for air. I took a week off from anything to do with the Internet, and have come back to the web world to discover that a fair bit happened in that time. Here’s some random thoughts on the week of news. (Keep in mind that my tolerance for bullshit is frightfully low right now.)
1. The Paris/Jadakiss/Fat Joe fiasco is disturbing on so many levels, I don’t even know where to start. Anyone who cares anything about good music should be egging her limo on the regular. But it goes beyond just aesthetics. The worst part about The Paris Problem cooing over a rap track is what it represents. With “Fightin’ Over Me,” the hotel heiress plays to the bleakest stereotypes about interracial sex in general, and the black man/white woman scenario in particular. Hilton is a rich, pretty, stupid blond chick with a pampered life and extraordinary sense of entitlement, who has been openly racist in the past. For whatever reason, she finds herself drawn to the idea of getting down with rappers. She comes to the party expecting to be catered to and fought over. Her engagement with hip-hop exists solely on the plane of sexuality—and a sick, dehumanizing, manipulative sort of sexuality at that. For their part, Jada and Joe seem to be acting out the other side of the scenario to the letter. Never mind that Paris is a shameless media whore (quite literally). Never mind that she is a laughable singer. Never mind that she has nothing of substance to bring to any table, hip-hop or otherwise. Never mind that she’s already made her true feelings on black men crystal clear. The intrigue of taboo sex (not to mention mad money) trumps all else.
2. When did people stop saying blogsphere and start saying blogosphere? The extra o ups the geek factor, according to me.
3. Say what you want in defense of Stephin Merritt, outraged Slate snapperhead, but anyone who starts a sentence “I think it’s shocking that we aren’t allowed to play coon songs anymore” is suspect.
4. I can’t stop listening to the new Meth and Lauryn track, “Things They Say.” Meth sounds like this hip-hop shit has straight-up broken his heart. I remember a retired rapper saying that to me once in an interview. “I had to move on,” he told me, looking pained. “I had to stop letting hip-hop break my heart over and over again.” Sometimes I feel like hip-hop is the story of unrequited love—the soundtrack to dashed hopes, and stifled dreams, and so much useless longing. We love hip-hop and lots of times it doesn’t love us back. A lot of that hate comes from the broader society. But a lot comes from within hip-hop too. For how much time and energy and emotion we all dedicate to the culture, we sure hurt each other a lot with it. With tracks, with words, with articles, with posts.
5. Shock jocks who value ratings over reason—on the radio, TV, or anywhere else—need to be ignored. No drama, no dissing, no hand-wringing dialogue. Just flat out ignored. The public’s fascination just fuels that shit. Desperate attention-seekers have nothing to run on if they get shut out.