May 29, 2005

AT MY OWN SELF REVEALING RISK

Anthony Miccio giving Ying Yang Twins a pass in The Village Voice / The Village Voice giving Anthony Miccio a pass. What follows in my response to the first paragraph. Some other thoughts are also being sent, in conjunction with J-Sheps, in the form of a letter, to the Voice.


1. The headline of "call the porn rapper scum at your own self revealing risk" - particularly poignant, because yes, there is risk to critiquing any music's message, because people accuse you of taking things to seriously (see #3 below), you fear you will look like a puritan or C Delores Tucker and that will undermine whatever "legit" critical "authority" you have, you will be chided for putting the "personal" and "the political" where they do not belong, you are seen as too emotional (read: female/ not properly detachedly critical) and as a castrating feminist who is easily offended and cannot put aside your feminism ( as if one should!) to engage in some "real" criticism that's unfettered by your "feelings". Also, in this headline, the word scum is used like an insurance plan -- see the writer guy, the editor, the whomever, they are admitting scumminess, so they are not ignorant/co-signing on the clear RAPE MESSAGING of the hit song.

2. "Ying Yang Twins' whispered-in-your-ear "Wait," for better or worse, is a crass flirt mistaken for a date rape anthem" -- a few things I do not understand here: "for better or worse" -- ? The ambiguity is a little baffling. Secondly, the song is not a crass flirt, because beating someone's pussy up is not about sex, it is about power, it's about dominion, and I think there is no mistaking that. Sex can be about power and be ok, but that is not what the song is so absolutely explicity implying.

3. "by people who have no sympathy for lechers" -- Anthony, have you ever had your pussy beat up? Have you ever been raped? Have you ever started to leave the house and suddenly decided to change your outfit from shorts into jeans because you did not want to be harrassed? Have you ever been followed home in the day light or the dark? You ever been stalked? You ever been sexually harrassed by a boss? You ever been slapped in the face by an employer, in front of other people, for refusing his advances? You ever been beaten with a shoe by a man that insists "loves" you? Have you ever considered what it is like to be a little afraid anytime you are alone, even when you are in your own house, because of lechers? Have you ever considered how the women you know and see on the street and at the office and on stage live their lives because of "lechers"? See, I have , so I do not have any give in my heart for seeing the lechers side of things. So, in light of alla that I do not have a lot of humor around lechers. I do not have the luxury of a critical blind eye to a song, or a cannon of songs, a domination aesthetic present in music I like and music I do not NOR pop hits about hitting or hurting people, keeping bitches in line, etc. Nor am I interested in threatening forced sex anthems being dismissed (sic) or, rather, emboldened as catchy tunez fun timez. .

Living in a patriarchal culture, where the plight of womens lives is not considered and the sexual exploitation of women (and children) is what most media, "art" and marketing is based upon, and rape and sexual abuse (including all people, children, men in prison, etc) IS INVISIBLE and the problem of the raped/abused person -- it is absolutely NATURAL for you to take such a stance -- because "Wait" fits right in with the rest of culture. It is no big deal. Songs that casually advocate rape and abuse of women, for you and most of our peers, is just another discussion thread on the ILM message boards.


3. "or just miss the key-for-me "Naw I'm jus playin' less ya say I can/And I'm known to be a real nasty man." -- this technique is well known to any girl over the age of about 12. A man, a boy, a guy in yr class, your boyfriend -- he does something "bad" to you, maybe he says it, maybe he writes it on your locker, maybe it happens to you behind a dumpster, maybe it's something that he says to other people about you -- maybe it is sexual, maybe it is threatening, maybe it just innuendo -- but you feel fucking weird/frightened/violated. 90% of the time, if you confront the dude, or bring what has happened into the light of day, you will be told (by the boy, the principal, the cop, your boyfriend's roommate, your boss, your husband - whomever) that they were just messing around, it was just a joke, c'mon - they did not mean it, you took it too seriously, you misunderstood, you imagined it . It's the number one way to get a girl to shut up (save for hitting her or threatening her) - discrediting her, making her feelings and thoughts and fear INVALIDATED. She is forced silent, forced to feel crazy, forced to turn the blame inward and question herself, rather than asert her experience. Saying "Psyche!" is not a defense. Saying "I didn't mean it like that" is not a legitimate excuse, but is meant to further disenfranchise "her" and to keep her from further questioning the abuser.

See, I did not miss that part of the of the song, as you said. I heard that part loud and clear.

4. I preferred it more as a Web-only toss-off rarity—like some Redd Foxx album kids are playing when their parents aren't home—than as The First Song off Our New Album boomed out of cars with a "classy" video. FACT: White critical America, in large, is afraid to put real critical examination to hip hop and (some) R&B because they are afraid of appearing racist, of looking like an uptight white dude who does not get it, thusly losing valuable cache (culturally and professionally). They only feel "qualified" to hold Eminem ( or white indie rappers) up to the light about what they rap about in their songs regarding women/sex-entitlement/violence and the example he is being or not being to fans. Snoop's got rape charges, and meanwhile he's on the cover of the biggest magazines in America and the question never gets broached, but rather the "he's a good daddy on the comeback trail - Drop It Like It's Hot - it's crunktastical!" partyline is towed. My hunch is that it goes much deeper than just wanting to appear "down" -- my hunch is that the critical embrace of domination agenda in Cam'Ron songs (p.s.how long must we forgive in the name of hot beats? ) -- and how that may relate to the centuries-old envy/fear paradigm that white men/people have in relation to (percieved) black male sexuality? That black men are expected to be "savages" and so we need not ever expect anything from their art or expression other wise (the racism of low expectations), and in fact, as a critical establishment, rather, we will re-enforce and reward that savagery. While we may not actively think we are racist (hey, we like hip hop don't we?), we are still dragging centuries of cultural goading into any discourse or 5-mics awarding we are doing and to be ignorant of that is further tragedy in the making -- WHY ARE WE NOT TALKING ABOUT THIS?!

5. But either it's defensible or it ain't; with "bitch" up to debate, I'm gonna go with "is." You're welcome to never want to hear it—just call the listener scum at your own self-revealing risk. I do not call the listener scum, and I will not call the critc scum. I will call instead, the critic lazy & blinded by male priviledge right given to him by a culture that taught him that he needn't not consider anything but his own pleasure, and for that, he will be reserved a prized pedestal in a prestigous music section of the biggest weekly paper in America.

yours very truly,
Jessica Hopper

Posted by Jessica at May 29, 2005 03:21 PM | TrackBack