Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Modern technology won't make you Ice-T; to quote a true working-class hero, you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see

The only way poseurs can offend is with their obscene lack of self-awareness.

The last thing anyone from the over-30 set who grew up on P.E. and NWA wants is to get in a twist over some wannabes. The second-last is to give said wannabes who feel it is high-larious to record a rap video with a chorus that includes "Fuck Queen's" or a gay slur any undue publicity.

Granted, you could point out the University of Western Ontario students shot part of their video in TD Waterhouse Stadium and thus would have had to get permission from school officials. Never mind that connotes giving tacit approval to insulting another Ontario university, the OUA Code of Conduct be damned.

The copycat response from University of Guelph students is probably worse, what with its what-grade-are-you-in homophobia. ("You would have thought I had fangs / Take the 'n' out and you just described the Mustangs" / " ... and Queen's, fuck you too / fuck you fuck you fuck you.")

Seeing a bunch of spoiled brats degrade a musical genre and insult the university two of my family members — my educator mother and engineer sister — attended is blood-boiling. You just know it's a matter of when until someone from Queen's will retaliate, even though some might argue the video response was posted 10 months ahead of time.

A little dollar-store cultural anthropology, kids: the great hip-hop came from a place of being an outsider, feeling excluded, be it due to race, class or intellectual sensibility. Those threads run through the rhymes of Ice-T, Chuck D or Eminem. Perhaps that's why the former two struck such a nerve two decades ago with teenaged white boys. It was also evident in the later work of that working-class hero who left us 30 years ago today.

Now you have these ciphers, who can quote the lines but have learned none of the meaning, mimicking it to validate their snobby, cliquey superiority. This is what the generation which is going to have to save the world, along with Xers, is wasting its time on? They want to do that, fine, but it's not exactly inspiring.

Every generation is entitled to a few years — or decades, in Boomers' case — of look-at-me preening. So it goes. Hopefully, millennials' gift of sharing its self-involvement so quickly and thoroughly will help them get it out of their systems relatively quickly.

Perhaps this is a live-and-let-live deal, it is protected speech, but it is fair to ask what it means. After all, OUA schools have taken a hard line with bad behaviour when it's convenient. In 2009, Guelph suspended senior quarterback Justin Dunk for one game for swearing on live television during a game against Western. How could what Dunk did, off the cuff during a game, be punishable while using the Gryphons logo in a rap that promotes homophobia is okay? Talk about arbitrary rule.

I saw this a few weeks ago but withheld comment. My student days are long, long past. There is enough burden involved with getting a degree, especially with runaway student debt

However, even as recently as the late 1990s, there was still this notion that post-secondary education was as much about cultivating some semblance of character and couth, not just the degree. Those qualities count for more in this life than any numbers on a transcript, especially when studies show a lot of those numbers are generated by academic fraud.

The bright side is most people have to learn this eventually. Some will make it tougher on themselves than others.


Superfun Happy Slide said...

Com'on, are you serious?

I may disagree with your opinion but this is a fabulous article. Will you be submitting it to the Gazette?

To think that I thought this blog was going tits up.

. . . oh s***, now I'm contributing to gendered hate-speech.

sager said...

The Gazette doesn't need any help, and given the obesity epidemic, can "tits" really only refer to the female gender anymore? Any good lawyer could win that argument in 10 minutes!

And seriously, yes, read Bruce Arthur's column the other day about the need to speak up and combat the crazies.n

Superfun Happy Slide said...

Bruce is a bleeding heart liberal who must absolutely spasm with joy at an issue like this. Just because someone can claim a moral high ground doesn't mean that said person is always right.

Give the kids a break; they'll have to grow out of the 'street' image in a couple of years.

You and I both know they'll be rocking out to Journey soon enough.

sager said...

Don't stop believin' that self-awareness makes adults dull. What is that line, youth is wasted on the young? But that doesn't mean a university should punt on, you know, trying to teach someone some manners.

Superfun Happy Slide said...

Where exactly does the punitive hand of aged-authority become overly-oppressive. Context is essential to debates surrounding insensitivity and bias. I know the PC world that has evolved has made that fact akin to proclaiming Nazi-love but common sense has to rear its sleepy head at some point. The university wasn't happy but acted accordingly, considering the dubiousness of the offending act. Just as Dunk's F-bomb was a small matter, so is the White and Purple spoof. The only difference, Western's admin responded in a parent-like manner, while the UofG acted to protect their brand. The UWO kids know who has their best interests at heart; I bet Dunk and his Gryphon teammates realized their place too, as a result of the suspension.

sager said...

No, the PC world has not kept anyone from considering context. The only thing that has caused that is administrative types who only act to make an example of someone from time to time.

I'm not aware of any consequences these students have faced. They were just expressing themselves, however idiotically. But older people who know better should point out the stupidity instead of encouraging and enabling.

As for context, very little excuses using a gay slur, like the Guelph rapper did. I also don't see the humour in making double one-digit salutes and dropping a F-bomb in reference to another university and all of its students, staff and alumni.

Superfun Happy Slide said...

These little faux pas are part of growing up, they're a part of youth. University is more than just books, lessons, and career development. Forward thinking institutions know that creative people will make mistakes in the process of developing their skills. If an institution is to foster creativity then they also have to run a little interference when their students make an oopsie. My use of the term, oopsie, is intentional because the contextually small scale scope of the indiscretions mentioned. By throwing Dunk and the UW football program to the wolves, in a vane attempt to silence criticism or re-direct blame, those institutions failed their students. Western's response to White and Purple was measured and appropriate for the act; it took into consideration the youth of the actors and the actual message they were expressing.

I'm surprised a guy that went to Queen's wouldn't be accustom to the taunts, from Guelph. Its not like 'you people' haven't heard it before.

Teasing, teasing . . .

sager said...

Agreed on everything except calling those guys "creative." The total lack of self-awareness in the video probably lays bare the intellectual curiosity of the participants, methinks. Anyway, they don't deserve anything except scorn.

Superfun Happy Slide said...

Could this be smoothed over if someone got a purple, Western hoody in their stocking?

. . . maybe some urban dance classes, to complete the combo?

sager said...

Me in a dance class would be about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.