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Friday, January 4, 2002

Cultural Decay, continued
In a recent opinion editorial posted December 30 on, Michelle Malkin draws readers’ attention to an item in the December 26 issue of the Washington Post, which provides further evidence that characterizing contemporary pop culture as a “wasteland” is hardly an exaggeration. For the final 2001 installment of his column, “Pop Talk,” Post staff writer David Segal apparently scraped the bottom of the barrel to find the Number 1 listing under “Best Albums” of 2001. His selection, as Malkin puts it, is “a stomach-turning example of anti-Americanism disguised as highbrow intellectual expression.” The album in question, “Party Music” by a rap group called “The Coup,” attained brief celebrity for the original cover art for the album, which depicted lead rapper Boots Riley wielding a guitar tuner as a bomb detonator as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center blew up in the background. After the September 11th attack, the music company abruptly pulled the photo. That alone should be enough to automatically disqualify this selection as album of the year, yet it doesn’t seem to have deterred Mr. Segal. After dismissing the cover photo incident as a case of “bad timing,” Segal goes on to praise Mr. Riley’s “poetry” and to revel in his “anti-capitalist tirades.” Miss Malkin offers us a sample of this “poetry,” quoting from one especially hateful tirade entitled, “5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO”:

5 million ways to kill a CEO
Slap him up and shake him up
and then you’ll know;
Let him off the floor
Then bait him with the dough
You can do it funk or do it disco.
Toss a dollar in the river and when he jump in
If you find he can swim, put lead boots on him and do it again
You and a friend videotape and the party don’t end.

And that’s not all. Another track titled, “Lazymuthaf_a,” attacks as worthless exploiters the kind of entrepreneurs and businessmen, who, as Miss Malkin puts it, “worked at the World Trade Center and died by the thousands on September 11.” One delightful refrain goes like this:

You’re a lazy muthaf_a! Lazy muthaf_a!
You’re a lazy muthaf_a! Lazy muthaf_a!

Rap music is well known for its violent, malevolent, misogynistic lyrics. Nothing new there. But that the pop music critic for a major American newspaper would elevate such a particularly awful example of it to “Best Album” status surely represents a new low for popular culture. If there is truly no accounting for taste, as the old saying goes, then maybe there ought to be. As Michelle Malkin puts it, “I’m sick of America getting a bad rap from miserable ‘artists’ like Boots Riley. But I’m even sicker of Riley’s cultural defenders in the elite media. [The attacks of] September 11 brought home the lesson that vile ideas have bloody consequences-no matter how ‘daggone funky’ they may sound to mush-headed music critics. We continue to ignore the intellectual enablers of anti-Americanism at our peril.”

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