Category Archives: Social Commentary

Why I Read Lileks

For grafs like this:

I bought some taco shells before leaving; the clerk, an immense creature who resembled a six-foot soft-serve ice cream treat, asked howr you. I said “damp.” She gave me a look of such unbelievably bovine incomprehension I almost apologized for not saying “fine.” It was almost a warning: don’t get fancy. We don’t take to fancy here. That’s one of the reasons I don’t go to that grocery store anymore. They hired the clerks from the cast party of a Fellini movie and ran them through a Hee-Haw filter, then eliminated the ones who were so antisocial they had fewer than three tattoos of their children’s names on their arms.

I can’t wait to see the novel.

Can’t Spell Crap

without the rap.

Ben Shapiro follows Eric Holder’s advice, and talks bravely about race:

rap isn’t music; rap culture is disgusting and degrading; rap creates racial stereotypes and revels in them.

First, rap isn’t music. Music has three elements: melody, harmony, and rhythm. Rap is all rhythm, very little melody, and virtually no harmony. Cultural relativists who say that Eminem is like Mozart make Barbara Boxer look like Einstein.

Second, rap culture is disgusting and degrading. Not every song, of course – the culture as a whole. It values the basest elements of human nature, from promiscuous sex to maltreatment of women to sickening violence. It’s no wonder that rappers have the life expectancies of fruit flies: by the time they’re 40 – if they hit 40 – there’s a good shot they’ll have shot somebody, been shot, been busted for hard core drugs, or acquired an STD (see this short list). The millions they earn from gullible white kids in the suburbs who just want to seem cool end up flushed down the drug/sex/fancy car toilet.

Third, rap culture creates racial stereotypes and revels in them. Many rappers (including Ice T, who now plays a cop on television) target the police for special hatred based on their alleged discriminatory tendencies. Meanwhile, rappers kill each other in gang rivalries … and then have movies made about them (see Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. – and T.I., who was involved in violent altercation with rapper Lil’ Flip and Ludacris’ manager Chaka Zulu). It provides ammunition to racists who wish to slander all black men as rap-loving violent misogynists, and it encourages ignorant and disadvantaged young black men to become rap-loving violent misogynists. Lovelle Mixon may have listened to late Beethoven string quartets when he wasn’t busy committing felonies, but somehow I doubt it.

Somebody had to say it. Of course, I thought the same about much of disco, at least to the degree to which it was music. I have no interest in “music” in which the percussion carries the melody.


There are plenty of much greater criticisms, and I have them, as any regular reader of this site knows, and no one was more irritated by George Bush’s “nucular” than I was, but I find the new president’s own verbal affectations quite annoying.

“Tahleebahn”? “Pahkeestahn”?

Who talks like this?

As Glenn Reynolds pointed out a long time ago, it’s like the NPR correspondents who work mightily to get their local Spanish inflections exactly correct when reporting on their communist heroes in Central America while not bothering to learn the difference between an auto and semi-auto gun.

Hey, it’s just “Taliban” (like “tally” and to “ban” a book), and “Pakistan” (like “pack” for a trip, and “Stan,” Oliver Hardy’s partner).

And don’t even get me started about “Oreeon.” What does he, think it’s a cookie? That one will be a real problem for the next four years unless he kills the NASA program.

[Monday morning update]

And yes, before anyone asks, while (unlike many, apparently) I had no problem with Sarah Palin’s speech patterns in general, I did find her “Eye-rak” kind of grating.