« "Desperate Search" to Find Manchester Bombers Before Easter Terrorist Attack | Main | Good News: Exploding Death Star May Put a Sixty-Three-Billion Caliber Bullet of Gamma Radiation Right Into the Earth's Heart »
April 10, 2009

Stanley Crouch on Mos Def's Minstrel Show

Mos Def is pushing the idea that "authentic" blackhood means stewing in ignorance, and Crouch isn't having any of it.

Note he refers to Mos Def by his given name -- Smith -- throughout the piece.

Not long ago, after reading a black political blog, I found myself moving along, link to link, until I went from Smith’s making hilarious fun of another rapper’s insipid lyrics to a very disturbing appearance he made with Cornel West in a discussion with Bill Maher on Real Time some time shortly before the presidential election. That was a gully-low moment.

I found it disturbing because it was the contrived Mutt and Jeff act of a public—or pop—black intellectual and a guy from the bottom. Successful people perform that act in order to prove that they are still connected to the community. While Cornel West pretended to sympathize with “where he was coming from,” the actor ran through the counterfeit lack of sense we see too frequently in those always trying to make it clear that they have not “left the ‘hood.” Their mask of brain rot allows them to genuflect in the face of ignorance.

Just a few weeks ago, Smith appeared on Real Time with Salman Rushdie and Christopher Hitchens, but his pretentious "brother from the projects" act did not go over well. His supposed courage to "express an unpopular opinion" was taken by Hitchens as an insult to the common intellectual knowledge that anyone should have about big issues in the contemporary world. Unlike those white Americans who have presented black illogic as a form of popular entertainment since the days of Malcolm X and Eldridge Cleaver, Hitchens was not having it and challenged Smith to back up his purported opinions. This is something the British are much better at than their American counterparts. Stuck in his act, Smith wavered forward, sinking with every syllable he uttered. That's how it goes: When the right white people are encountered, contrived ethnic authenticity doesn't cut it.

...

Whether they actually mean to or not, Smith and West end up condescending to the ignorant and the irrational as if that backwardness is no more than a version of “black style.” Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Ignorance is a lack of information, not a genetic defect or a “cultural style;” and irrationality should be fought at every step. Irrationality powered the toxic tribal blob that swelled over Hitler’s Germany and swallowed up its citizenry as well as their murdered victims. The exact same thing can be said about Bosnia and Rwanda. Tribalism. It is what it is and does what it does and can be recognized if we are not decoyed by color.

Of course, Mos Def hardly has a monopoly on lunatic conspiracy theories.

I think Baldilocks was saying something similar here in the comments, some time ago.



digg this
posted by Ace at 04:40 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
freakd: "There is no nood. Continue as you are. ..."

Off the reservation: "NOOOODDDDDD ..."

ALH: "Let's go swimming! Love that top pic. Only in Amer ..."

mindful webworker - for real: "Tip o' the ol' mindful topper to ALH. I was close, ..."

Off the reservation: "corgies ..."

Zaklog the Great: "Paying a blackmailer is bad long-term policy, both ..."

Miley, the High Duchess [i] [/i]: "I stood you up last week. Said I'd catch you here ..."

Calm Mentor: "ONT! ..."

Steve and Cold Bear: "[i]And ... as it turns out ... the Gag Reflex is r ..."

platypus, gumdrop gorilla channel: "*puts trophy on shelf* ..."

Cosmic Charlie: "Michael Shannon was good in Boardwalk Empire. ..."

mindful webworker - for real: "We [i][b]ARE[/b][/i] having fun yet! ..."

Recent Entries
Search


Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64