Leftism in music

Discussing art and media trends and organisations generally

Re: Leftism in music

Postby Gavin » 30 Oct 2012, 09:54

Ohio University Students for Romney (I'm amazed there are any!) got themselves in trouble for using the music of band The National, who said:

"We encourage all students to educate themselves about the differences between the inclusive, pro-social, compassionate, forward-thinking policies of President Obama and the self-serving politics of the neo-conservative movement and Mitt Romney... Every single person involved in the creation of the music you're using is voting for President Obama."


I can believe that.
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Podori » 30 Oct 2012, 18:48

Let's not forget how profitable it is to be on the left. Politicians win votes from the gullible by promising them everything for free, musicians win dollars by selling an emotionally indulgent worldview set to music and lyrics. Parallels run through both.

Someone else already brought up how much music is consumed by young people, so I won't belabour the point. The truth about the motivations of leftie musicians is expressed on their bank statements.

But I don't think that anyone has discussed the more recent trend among the intellectual elite to rationalise the most vulgar of popular music. In what musical genre has so much raw brutality been expressed, only to have pedigreed professors rush in to explain it away as the result of social alienation? You have probably sensed that I am speaking of rap music.

Here is radio talk show host Michael Savage on Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr's explanation of black cursing.



Mr Savage also has this commentary on rap music, though he veers into politics. I do not totally agree with what he says in this video, but his style of expression is memorable.



"Hieroglyphics are above what we have today!"

So there is our cultural disease diagnosed in one sentence. The elites are defending musical expressions that are, for all artistic purposes, more primitive than ancient Egyptian stone writing.
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Gavin » 30 Oct 2012, 22:22

I really enjoyed both of those videos - pure truths (about the retrograde nature of rap). Quite amusing comments under that second one on YouTube too. I thought the most instructive was actually this one, though not in the way that was intended (if such a writer can even be said to have "intentions"):

obamaisjesus wrote:SHUT DA FUKK UP BITCH U WHITE U AINT GON B SAYIN NO NIGGA SHIT DATZ A HATE CRIME!!!!!!
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Podori » 30 Oct 2012, 22:42

Gavin wrote:I really enjoyed both of those videos - pure truths (about the retrograde nature of rap). Quite amusing comments under that second one on YouTube too. I thought the most instructive was actually this one, though not in the way that was intended (if such a writer can even be said to have "intentions"):

obamaisjesus wrote:SHUT DA FUKK UP BITCH U WHITE U AINT GON B SAYIN NO NIGGA SHIT DATZ A HATE CRIME!!!!!!



I wonder what educated blacks of past eras -- Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington come to mind -- would have said about the state of black culture and intellect in modern times.

If you can call it culture. I call culturally retarded ghetto noise.

You certainly cannot call it anything worth the attention of faculty at Harvard. But maybe Harvard is a different place these days, with elite professors explaining away the music of the underclass as an affective expression of their long history of poverty and alienation.

If we have an experienced academician on the board, I would like to hear his comments on bad leftie music and the cover it gets from our excuse makers in the universities.
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Elliott » 30 Oct 2012, 22:43

Wow! Gavin, that quote (including the quoter's name) really sums up so much about the modern Left, doesn't it? You couldn't ask for a more telling comment. Absolutely pathetic lowlife mentality.
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Paul » 30 Oct 2012, 23:18

Absolutely vile Gavin, those videos - or rather the content mentioned within them. The very first time I heard any rap music, I hated it with a passion. There is absolutely no musical quality to any of it and anyone who finds any merit in any of the lyrics is a barbarian without chance of redemption.

I thought Mr Savage's comment as per below was most telling:

'How can any of these men ever marry, have children, a family? Answer is they cannot!'
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Podori » 30 Oct 2012, 23:54

Paul wrote:'How can any of these men ever marry, have children, a family? Answer is they cannot!'


Watch how young adults are portrayed in the video for "The Block Party" by Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. Marriage does not seem to be on their minds.



I choose this video for two reasons. First, I saw it when I was an adolescent in the 90s. It actually captures the tone of rap music, as sung by women, at that time.

Second reason is, can anyone watch this all the way through? I cannot. I have only seen the full video once -- that was when I was an adolescent, sitting in front of the television rather amused. As an adult I turn it off after ten seconds. If you managed to watch the whole thing, you are a tried and true observer of underclass culture.

The multi-million dollar industry that produces this rubbish is a megaphone for the left. As rap music promotes sentimental childishness or vulgar brutality it is easy to understand why left-wing elites have been apologists for it: it is a musical version of their mindset that everyone is a child who needs government assistance and that cultural standards discriminate in favour of a privileged class of wealthy whites.

Just look at the adult children in this video and tell me which leftist wouldn't squeal with delight.
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Caleb » 01 Nov 2012, 02:27

Bands complaining about where their music is used has always struck me as weird. To a large extent, once it's out there, it's out there, and people will make (use) of it what they will. It might have been one thing if the students had claimed that the band were also supporters of Romney, but they didn't. With a little searching, we could probably find Vivaldi's Four Seasons as the soundtrack to videos for every political persuasion under the sun. So what? Do we know what his political persuasion was, or whether he'd want people even using his music for any commercial or political purposes? No. Do we care? No. The irony is that these puffed-up, self-important musicians in the National won't even be remembered in two years, let alone twenty. Why does anyone even care what musicians (or actors or any other entertainers) think about politics? Does anyone care what music politicians, economists or scientists like, or how good they are at karaoke?

As for rap, it's weird because there is probably not a more misogynistic, racist and homophobic genre of music around. There is also not another genre of music that promotes such extreme materialism. I remember years ago watching a rap video clip with some friends on an old TV with a dogy aerial, so it was cutting back and forth between black and white colour. We were trying to guess what colour the singer's suit was. One of my friends guessed correctly that it was red. These guys are more Ali G. than Ali G is. They're parodies of themselves.

By all accounts, rap should attract a lot of negative attention from the left. Actually, if people remember, Eminem used to indeed be such a target constantly (justifiably so, though it was interesting how the genre as a whole was, and is, generally left alone).

Here's a great clip, by the way.
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Podori » 01 Nov 2012, 12:34

Caleb wrote:By all accounts, rap should attract a lot of negative attention from the left. Actually, if people remember, Eminem used to indeed be such a target constantly (justifiably so, though it was interesting how the genre as a whole was, and is, generally left alone).


You're correct to puzzle over that paradox. At first glance, the leftists who like to puff up their own intelligence and sophistication should recoil from rap music. Why don't they criticize it with the same force that they turn on traditional music?

I made myself watch "The Block Party" video again and found a number of elements that are actually promoted by the left. Perhaps this is why they do not express low opinions of this kind of music.

Everyone is equal. With the exception of a few dance sequences led by the title singer, the people in the video come together to enjoy a spontaneous outdoor party in an obviously planned suburb. Certainly this can also happen under capitalism, and it does, but the key point I want to make is that the implied equality of the citizens is shown right at the beginning of the video and sets the tone for subsequent action.

The adults behave like the children. Observe the dances and games that the party attendees partake in and you will find virtually no difference between the adults and the children. The singer is dressed like a child and interacts with children in a friendly manner. Therefore, age does not denote authority (or good taste).

The style of the video is quite modern. The music and lyrics borrow nothing from tradition.

People of various races mix peacefully. While it is certainly possible for mixed race communities to exist without violence, the saccharine overtones of this video go quite far in demonstrating the point.

Ideas do not bind communities together. The interactions of the people in the video are not driven by their ideas but by their collective enjoyment of the video's rather poor music. People are treated as emotional units, seeking only temporary pleasure as a group, instead of individuals with differences of opinion and taste.

The video's message is presented as if the audience is composed of children or very unintelligent adults. The tendency of leftists to dismiss the masses for their imputed immaturity and anti-intellectualism is congruent with the video's attitude to its audience. The left doesn't have a great deal of respect for the people it seeks to convince and neither do the producers of this video.

The singer is a black woman. We all know the left doesn't criticize one of their own. This singer -- an American black woman -- is most likely on the left, so she is untouchable.

While these elements are not found in all rap music, it is remarkable how many similarities exist between the implied message of this video and the ideas of today's left-wing cultural elites. The singer was no intellectual herself before her untimely death. It is unlikely that she ever realised that the video she starred in was built on the foundations established by decades of leftist involvement in Western cultural institutions.
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Andreas » 01 Nov 2012, 16:36

Podori:

"You certainly cannot call it anything worth the attention of faculty at Harvard. But maybe Harvard is a different place these days, with elite professors explaining away the music of the underclass as an affective expression of their long history of poverty and alienation.

If we have an experienced academician on the board, I would like to hear his comments on bad leftie music and the cover it gets from our excuse makers in the universities."

Many academics today are cynical, amoral careerists and opportunists. They follow trends, and writing about or championing popular culture is trendy. I'm sure there are a fair number of people out there right now in university literature and the various "studies" departments analyzing and finding deep meaning in these rap lyrics.

I think this is a symptom of at least two conditions. One is simply that many academics run out of ideas after a few years; they need to keep publishing to pad their CV and promote their career, so they latch on to the latest trend. The other is an exhaustion of the field (the study and analysis of literature). Does the world really need yet another book about Shakespeare or Tolstoy? All the classics have been written about, analyzed, and over-analyzed; the second- and third-rate writers have been raked over as well. So some academics (or graduate students aspiring to become professors) need to find new fields to conquer and decide to analyze popular culture (or pretend that there is something to analyze).

I would point you to the website of the Modern Language Association (the job clearinghouse for literature departments in North America) and their annual conference, where hundreds of talks are given on subjects like the literary qualities of rap music, but the hurricane in the northeast U.S. has shut them down (maybe that is the one good thing it's done).
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Podori » 01 Nov 2012, 23:53

Andreas wrote:Podori:

Many academics today are cynical, amoral careerists and opportunists. They follow trends, and writing about or championing popular culture is trendy. I'm sure there are a fair number of people out there right now in university literature and the various "studies" departments analyzing and finding deep meaning in these rap lyrics.


You could be describing Cornel West, professor of philosophy and African-American studies at Harvard. He released a rap album called Sketches of My Culture in 2001.

I won't be submitting my analysis of Lisa Lopes to a humanities thesis committee. They might laugh it off for being too true.
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Elliott » 02 Nov 2012, 00:23

I don't think it can be over-stated how significant it is that institutions like Harvard are celebrating rap music. Sometimes you learn about something which just seems to sum up the West's collapse into self-destruction, and this is one such thing.
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Podori » 02 Nov 2012, 01:05

Elliott wrote:I don't think it can be over-stated how significant it is that institutions like Harvard are celebrating rap music. Sometimes you learn about something which just seems to sum up the West's collapse into self-destruction, and this is one such thing.


Harvard promoting rap music isn't so far off from what Allen Bloom foresaw when he was at Cornell. The whole framework of intellectual standards has been progressively undermined since the sixties.

It's is a simple task to link the decomposition of the intellect at the West's leading universities to the gradual decline in the quality of music. I would argue that this thread's title "Leftism in music" is synonymous with "bad modern music."

And now it's time for Podori to drag out his favourite old saw...

I've said it before on this forum and I'll say it a thousand times more before I die: these days a degree is a worthless scrap of stationery. With the exception of the natural sciences and liberal arts degrees from select institutions, a degree tells you nothing about someone's academic achievement.

If I wanted to know how intelligent a person was, I would audit his bank statements and receipts for the past year. The information that I would gain about his spending and saving would be a much richer source of insights.


A Harvard professor singing rap music. God smite us all.
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Michael » 02 Nov 2012, 01:52

If I wanted to know how intelligent a person was, I would audit his bank statements and receipts for the past year. The information that I would gain about his spending and saving would be a much richer source of insights.


That is a very good method, Podori. I would add taking a look at someone's bookshelf (or shelves) and judging both the titles and whether they show signs of having been read. Combine the two methods and we may have a faultless method for judging intelligence and prudence.
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Re: Leftism in music

Postby Podori » 02 Nov 2012, 03:52

Michael wrote:
That is a very good method, Podori. I would add taking a look at someone's bookshelf (or shelves) and judging both the titles and whether they show signs of having been read. Combine the two methods and we may have a faultless method for judging intelligence and prudence.


Judging by current levels of student loan debt I would say that my age cohort is not very bright. For the first time in history intelligence scores are in the red.

This is certainly the effect of rap music.
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