It seems like the proverbial shit has been hitting the fan a lot with American society these days. I grew up in it at its best so I can tell you - at its height, living in America was generally so comfortable that it was easy to ignore things, to bury things and to put lingering problems to the side.
With the economic downturn, the election of Barack Obama and other factors, the American lifestyle itself seems to have changed. The way people behave and talk seems different - the tone is much more extreme than it ever was before.
And of course - what's the thing to hit the fan when America begins to unravel. Race. And with race of course comes pop culture - as Fox News reminded us today:
Good Lord, are they a mess. What on earth. You know, hundreds of years after Vikings landed on Greenland, I hear that Nordic death metal is seen as a problem too. Better get on that one, Fox. Watch in full:
However ridiculous Fox News rightfully seems, there was some potent stuff in that segment. They brought out several black commentators - with exception, Fox usually likes to have generalizations about black people said by black people - who bemoaned the lyrics of Jay-Z on his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail.
Jay-Z has been invited to the White House and has been close to President Barack Obama. I will honestly admit that it is tired and disappointing to hear Jigga rap about "squeezing Mack 11s like lemons" when he tries to market himself as this political figure or pseudo-Frank Sinatra at the same time.
But really, Fox acts as if Jigga and the rap world represent all of black America - and also as if black America itself is the only minority group in the country or even the only non-white group in the world and there isn't a diverse realm of Europeans, Middle Easterners, Asians, Hispanics, East Africans, Pacific Islanders and Native People who also have cultures and politics that might be worth talking about.
No, for Fox, it's all black all the time. Black people are only 12% of the population. Their stamp on culture, as I hope I illustrated above, is not very different from their white brethren. The obsessing that the folks at Fox do tells more about them - it definitely seems demented and deranged. Fox represents Middle America well because many in Middle America seem terrified, perplexed yet quite obsessed with black people.
There was a segment on MSNBC in which a white host showed what an absurd mess Fox has become. They had a big long talk about "white culture" and all the bad elements in it. I thought it might be good to do something like that.
Rap, and hip-hop even as a culture, has glorified violence. Despite his extensive philanthropic work, the very worst offender of all was probably Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, who himself was shot nine times and survived. Let's take a look at the sort of press photos he did when he was still selling millions of records:
There are so many stereotypes being made real in that photo it's unreal. Curtis is pointing a firearm while wearing a doo-rag, a platinum cross and.... Luis Vuitton gun holsters? Geeez.....
It's not a positive image at all. It definitely sends the wrong message to impressionable youth. But wait?
Oh, man, that's a former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, obviously glorifying violence.
Oh man, that's the former governor of California also glorifying violence. In a movie called The Terminator about a cyborg assassin from the future, no less.
Oh, look there? Who's that? It's one of the keynote speakers of the 2012 Republican National Convention, Clint Eastwood. Almost all of his movies have him with a firearm - so apart from simply being a tool, there is obviously a level of glorification of guns going on with these white celebrities.
Maybe it's different because the glorification among rappers like 50 Cent represents gun violence, a result of degradation that doesn't occur in white districts. I mean right?
Well, this Fox segment did talk about "scantily clad" women in hip-hop, not just glorifying violence, which I guess is a serious problem. As Dehmu Greene, the black commentator they hired to talk bad about black people, says, it does show a disrespect for women that may be a reflection of black culture and illustrate a breakdown of the black family -
I am just so confused. I thought black culture was the problem. I thought hip-hop was an abnormally degrading genre of music that perpetuated degenerate behavior. Twenty year old white female musicians would never whore themselves.
Well, Juan Williams did talk about all the "tattooed thugs" that parade in black culture. I mean, I guess that's a serious problem in black America, right? Tattooed thugs?
Oh. My. God.
Given this new information, I'm expecting a new segment on Fox News, just to be fair and balanced. Call it "230 years after the Declaration of Independence, Some People View Miley Cyrus, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood As A Problem." Doesn't make sense, does it?
One person commentating here told me to "remember that other networks have 20 times more viewers in the evening news slot than Fox News."
Indeed, it's not the Bush years anymore and most people don't connect with the folks at Fox - who do seem far more extreme than they did ten years ago - but what they are putting on air does speak to some people. Prejudice towards black people, which is the last dying refuge of old America, is really built on something being exceptionally awful about them. The real world, which is hitting the fan, isn't really like that at all. Fox is feeding us this toilet water because it's what their viewers want for comfort. If their prejudices aren't real, than what is?