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    (Original post by Studentus-anonymous)
    But then these rags aren't meant as clear impartial news sources, they're ideological news media entertainment for any given social and political niche.
    I agree with this, as much as both the Mail and Guardian amuse me on occasion, I try to read them both and others whilst never nailing my colours to a mast.

    I think the risk is that you decide something is rubbish and something else is reliable based on your own views, you can then live in that little word where you views are never challenged only enforced.

    (Original post by KingMessi)

    I think we're coming at this from different angles, perhaps. There is a difference between public political correctness, which is the sort of thing that involves criticising Michael Macintyre for mocking those with disabilities, say, and the sort of criticism Tom Whyman performs. Regarding the former, I'd agree with you. Regarding the latter, I wouldn't. Those arguing the link between culture and zeitgeist-formation are still generally a shouted-down minority. Also it's still far more acceptable in most circles of mine - and most circles around, I'd conjecture - to make a rape joke than criticise someone at a social gathering for making a rape joke.

    As a result I still cannot see Whyman's viewpoints as fascist. Especially not since they refer to an increasing of human potential and possibility, not a reduction of it. See the article on his blog about Cupcake Fascism again.

    Despite our disagreements above, I totally share your reservations of the last sentence. I feel that the Left overburdens itself with theory and jargon that make its criticism and value-system inherently elitist and exclusionary. Some of this theory is necessary, but much of it is, perhaps, not. I feel that certain strands of feminism only serve to alienate working-class females. But this is not, however, something which Whyman can be accused off, and my discomfort with certain left-wing concerns does not invalidate their entire enterprise.

    Would you then agree, for example, that rap music shapes black gang culture? Is violent music to blame for black criminality?
    • PS Helper

    I read the Grauniad, but can't believe we've got this far without someone mentioning the article which verged on self parody 'Can vegetarians stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa?'.


    (Original post by imtelling)
    Would you then agree, for example, that rap music shapes black gang culture? Is violent music to blame for black criminality?
    1. I think that to draw a one-to-one link between either of those things, as with any of the other links I've drawn, is reductionist and does a disservice to any sensible analysis of the reasons for gang culture. Thus, I'd be more inclined to respond 'yes' to your first question - because of the word 'shapes' - than to your second question, because I think that to answer the question the way it is framed would amount to excising all other factors from the record.

    2. Outside of Kanye West and Eminem, I don't know any rapper's ouvre in great detail. Equally, I think you're being reductionist again as 'rap music' isn't homogeneous. The music of B.O.B. is classed as hip-hop, but there is very little violence in there. Likewise for Kanye West.

    3. In any case - and I sincerely apologise if this seems like dodging the question, as I'm not trying to - I think you've chosen a poor example. As I want to make clear in a blog post I'm writing about this, it's more subtle than that. People naturally shy away from racism and sexism in its most abhorrent forms, which is why objections to, say, the EDL tend to be near-ubiquitous and visceral. Likewise with violence. The type of criticism I'm discussing obviously leaves itself open to criticism because it's more concerned with the subtleties of opinion formation, and I think the example above is too crude.

    4. By this I mean that obviously the majority of my friends listen to rap music, or have done, and are not in gangs etc. But then most of the friends I know are at university, middle-class, etc, and so there are other - probably stronger forces - at work that prevent them entering gangs, such as peer mores (study after study shows that peer influence is a strong predictor of behaviour, naturally) that 'override' any effect rap might have.

    5. However - and I'm equally sorry to answer your question in such a roundabout way - I would see it as highly plausible that, without these social, familial, peer controls in place, rap music provides part of a background whereby violence seems a viable option, not because of any 'intended message' to commit violence in the songs (Eminem's music frequently critiques and satires those who take his music as instructing violence) but because the general sense of rap music is anti-establishment and pro-individual, and this combined with the obvious overtones of violence mean that, should an individual decide that he or she (more normally he) wants to react against instituitons that seem to care not for them, rap music provides a strong strengthener of any violent propensities.

    6. Ergo, I think that perhaps the most important point I can make is that cultural criticism wouldn't draw a causal link between rap music and violence. Rather, it would argue that rap music makes propensities that bit more likely to manifest themselves if they are sympathetic to the mores of rap music.

    7. The idea of strengthening rather than creating is really important. There are more important socioeconomic aspects that determine behaviour, sure. So it's not suggested that Thomas the Tank Engine makes a white kid go and start joining the EDL, nor is it suggested that 'Blurred Lines' would cause a guy to wait down dark alleys for females to rape. These are straw men, as is the rap question to an extent. However, it does suggest
    -In case a), that representing black as bad encodes a schematic whereby the child receiving TTTE might be more disposed to look upon black people as inferior, thus making them, say, less likely to choose an equally qualified black candidate for a job or university place.

    -In case b), that representing females as inevitably up for sex, and that those who say they don't really 'want it' means that a male bringing a female back to his room may be less likely to consider that kissing doesn't equal consent for sex - because, after all, 'I know she wants it'. Especially if he's just been chanting 'I know you want it' to that girl along with the song at a club beforehand.

    -In case c), that representing the individual agent as one that is naturally disadvantaged and can only alter this situation by violent acts might strike a chord with those who are actually naturally disadvantaged - and it is undeniable that socioeconomic status is the strongest predictor of gang membership, and this is inevitably linked with race - thus increasing the likelihood that a violent act against those who are perceived as challenging that individual's autonomy is seen as the most propitious course of action.

    This does not equal fascism. As a result of recognising these subtleties in belief-formation, it is not fascist to suggest - or request - that those who produce cultural artefacts recognise their responsibility to consider how they might contribute to belief-formation.

    I apologise for the length of this, but this seemed to me to be the best form of articulating my thought process. I reiterate that the shaping factors behind any behavioural trend will be complex, but I firmly believe that part of this causal matrix involves exposure to culture, and all of the evidence seems to point in this direction.

    Naturally this is a long piece, so I'll understand if you are disinclined to reply to it all. But these subtleties are important, and I believe more so than a direct ideology a la the EDL, because more difficult to react against. This is why left cultural criticism takes the forms it does. And, thus, I'd argue yes - rap music does shape gang culture.

    Paedophile apologist - http://www.theguardian.com/society/2...-desires-light

    Compare the Meerkat: racist - http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...acism-meerkats

    George Moonbat on the centenary of the aeroplane: "a weapon with wings" - http://www.theguardian.com/comment/s...7861%2c00.html

    Toynbee in love with Gordon Brown's brain - http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...mment.politics

    Women watch men strip for fun. Men watch women strip for darker reasons - http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...gold-stripping

    "What do men and sperm have in common? They both have a one-in-a-million chance of becoming a human being. But enough about me. What are your favourite anti-sexism put-downs?" - http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...on-sexist-pigs

    "A bully with a bloody nose is still a bully" - Marxist feminist one week after 9/11 http://www.theguardian.com/world/200...mber11.comment

    Seamus Milne defending communist atrocities: http://www.theguardian.com/Columnist...710891,00.html

    Seagulling - http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...line-fantasies

    This great article written by a Cambridge graduate:
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