hip hop music

January 2, 2004

Blogs Jump Up To Get Beat Down

Some kid just referred to me while offering a rather outlandish defense of that now-infamous Brent Batten column. I'm about to give him way more attention than he deserves:


First let me say thanks for posting that. How nice to to see I helped inspire such an extensive and excellent essay (for me to poop on).

There is no topic or idea that should be off-limits for humor. Whether that humor turns out to be offensive depends on how you approach the subject, on your timing (see Bill Maher, whose only mistake was telling the truth too much too soon), and on the differing connotations that may arise depending on who tells the joke to whom (which is why your interaction with your friends is not a parallel).

The device employed by Brent Batten has indeed been used countless times, and lots of them were very funny, I cited one of these in my original post. The problem with Batten was not just that he chose to use this device, but that he used it so poorly and clumsily in this particular instance.

Regarding your little swipe at us, those who accuse others of having no sense of humor are usually just in denial about the real problem, which is that they themselves are not funny. But that must not apply to you, because your insistence that Brent offered an accurate rendition of hip-hop slang is downright hilarious. If you can't see how funny that looks then I fear trying to explain any of this to you is probably an exercise in futility. But I shall soldier on..

You can translate a paragraph of French into English using Google or Babelfish and you'll get actual English words in the result. But they'll be arranged into sentences that are painfully unnatural, because there's a lot more to language than just knowing what the words mean. That, in a nutshell, is the trap Batten fell into as he copy-pasted phrases from lyric sheets and hip-hop glossaries.

As you, like Batten, cling to the notion that he correctly represented the way hip-hoppers speak, you also expose the fallacy of your other argument, that his column was actually mocking a stereotype "to underscore how ridiculous it is that one blanket statement could be correctly applied to such a large group of people." You directly contradict yourself placing this defense alongside your claim that he was effectively satirizing hip-hoppers by accurately "plagiarizing" their speech. It's either accurate or it's a ridiculous stereotype, but it can't be both. Let us know when you make up your mind.

As for that garbled "N-word" tangent, apparently your grasp of irony is even worse than Alanis Morissette's. And what's funny is you were evidently trying to make some sort of point about ignorance by explaining that the N-word derives directly from "ignorant", but that is not the correct etymology, so your statement itself was a product of ignorance. Now that's ironic. Like ten thousand spoons!

Posted by jsmooth995 at January 2, 2004 4:39 AM

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