June 20th, 2006

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Ice Cube and Oprah

I dropped a link to this Robert Lashley post over in the comments at basilpsyche's joint, but I think Lashley's criticism of Ice Cube as a destructive poser is precisely on point. Cobb really doesn't add anything major to what Lashley has to say, but then he admits he's just piling on. This is worth remembering, though:
And quite frankly, nobody would miss Ice Cube if he self-destructed. Compare him to Whitney Houston, whose redition of the national anthem still stands as one of the greats. Her downfall is a tragedy. If Ice Cube ate a bullet, the chorus would be, "I told you so", if not "what took them so long?"
The whole rappers v. Oprah thing could be written off as a tempest in a teapot if it weren't for the fact that it's a symptom of the bigger cultural war going on in American culture. I described this once to phoenixalpha as the split between "jazz blacks" and "rap blacks", which like any such description is a gross oversimplification, but there you are. If I were better versed in black cultural history I could probably draw some solid connections between rappers and pimp culture and the divide between field niggers and house niggers, but I don't, so I'm just going to say that the current flap looks like today's rendition of a very old argument.

That argument has implications for the country, of course, because what goes in in Black America inevitably affects a lot of folks who don't know jack about that culture aside from what they see on Oprah and what they hear from the trash Interscope is serving to the whiggers in Bethesda, Eden Prairie, Plano and the OC. A lot of those people are going to leave that stuff behind when they get into the corporate world, because suits and rap don't mix too well. As Jane Galt is fond of saying, that kind of trashy behavior has its greatest effects at the margins, on people who really can't afford to screw up too often or too badly. Poverty in America may be more inconvenient and irritating than anything else, but if the price of keeping people out of it is keeping jerks like Ice Cube and his homies of Oprah, I think it's well worth paying.