Thursday, April 20, 2006

In Defense of K-Fed

Gawd, how I hate these hypehanted, abbreviated abominations foisted upon us by the same people who bring us E! television and renamed "photographer" to "paparazzi" (or some such spelling). Enough with the J-Lo's (although the "Jell-o" derivative is funny) and the A-Rod's and please, please, please rein in the Bennifers, Brangelinas and Tomkats. It makes me feel like these people are being elevated somehow, these shining examples of all that's good in humankind, and that mortal nomenclature somehow is too mundane for their like.

Crapweasels. I'm not a language snob and I think it's neat that new words creep into the vernacular all the time, but I find a have a problem with where some of them come from. I've never liked marketing concepts like "edutainment," informing me of something that should be so obvious that stooping to actually use this word would make me feel like a moron. Any words that are comprised with "Ameri" and suffixed with something designed to do what? Make a faceless corporation more at home with apple pie? We have a business relationship with "Ameriprise," and I used to buy from "Ameritech." These are ugly "words."

So why so much public bashing of Kevin Federline, Mr. Britney Spears, K-Fed or whatever tabloid nickname posed by gadflies everywhere? I actually went to his site on and played the "song" he has posted there. It's lousy. But it's not a discernible whit lousier than any other piece of worthless dribble labelling itself hip-hop and masquerading as "art" or the cornerstone of an imagined "culture."

Everybody knows about the tasteless themes of violence, the negative attitudes towards women, police and law abiding society; the importance of street cred that can only be gained through jail time and the commission of violent acts; the dope and the limos and the partying. But there are also the "songs" themselves, with cadences that aren't consistent from line to line and words that are supposed to rhyme but only kinda sorta make it; lyrics that make no sense precisely because their authors lack the language skills to produce an actual poem or story or, no joking, a song.

You can't write anything like this material and get a passing grade in the fifth grade. "Rap" it to someone else's sampled hit (the actual music has to come from somewhere) and if you've done time, arrive in a limo with fancy rims, and where jewelry like a woman, you can be a star. Why single out poor Mr. Federline? Because he's married to a woman who's first marriage was a one day fling? Who cares? Truly, he's no worse and no better than any of these other guys.

There are exceptions to this rule of garbage out there that I think just prove the rule, and I listen to them. Surely they're derided by today's chart toppers but the Fresh Prince's "Summertime" (has Will Smith ever been convicted of a felony?) or LL Cool James' "Around the Way Girl" have homes on my MP3 player, along with dozens of other rap songs. But who remembers Father MC or Heavy D and the Boyz? At least today's "artists" turned clothing and fragrance moguls will be forgotten just as quickly.

I'm trying not to sound too much like Andy Rooney so I'll let this one go. One more thought, though. This "culture," these attitudes, the fact that anyone out there actually notices car rims and drives around with deafening bass speakers filling their back seats (being able to turn the volume up on your car stereo is apparently an impressive skill), and, last but not least, makes it cool for people to walk around having to hold up their pants with one hand, is divisive. I don't want everyone to be like me. I actually spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out how I can be less like me. But I would feel a lot more comfortable raising my children in a world where our differences are compatible if not openly similar. It's not cool to shoot people who laugh at your pants, for chrissake.

You want art, you want culture, then make art and make culture. Nobody needs to get hurt, offended, endangered, or fall down on the street when their pants slip out of their hand and drop to their ankles. Just try harder. Rhyme better even if it takes learning new words, have the appropriate number of syllables per line even if it takes learning how to count or what a syllable is. But you can't scream profanities at the media, K-Fed, or glorify jail time and misogyny and tell me it's your culture. It's just your cop out.


Blogger Doctor Atlantis said...

Based entirely on this post, I'm guessing you're a white dude.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Rick Ollerman said...

That's entirely possible. Just note that I wasn't actually trying to rhyme anything.

9:55 PM  

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