Juan Williams just couldn't help himself.
The Fox News analyst and columnist penned an open editorial for the Wall Street Journal where he reflected on one the many great products of the Civil Rights Movement: The music. With tomorrow commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, Williams decided to compare the music of back then to the music of today. If you were expecting any sort of genuine depth, shame on you.
In Williams' eyes, the music of the movemement—specifically the March on Washington—is a "universe of time away" from today's evil rap music, which is devouring the moral fiber of America. Williams offers a tired rundown of '60s classics, while linking them to Dr. King's words:
King sailed past all those sad realities to invoke his soaring vision of the nation at racial peace. When he finished speaking, the crowd spontaneously broke into singing "We Shall Overcome," holding hands and swaying as if in communal prayer.
Williams namedrops Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" and Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions' "People Get Ready," but forgets "Dancing in the Street" by Martha and the Vandellas as part of the defining soundtrack of the movement. He takes the long way home to attack hip-hop's low-hanging fruit, chiding Jay-Z and Lil Wayne for the use of profanity in random songs:
Now, half a century after the lyrical promise of that inspiring music and poetry, there is the inescapable and heartbreaking contrast with the malignant, self-aggrandizing rap songs that define today's most popular music.
In Jay-Z's current hit, "Holy Grail," he sings about "psycho bitches" and uses the n-word seven times while bragging that he is "Living the life . . . Illest [n-word] alive." Another top rapper, Lil Wayne, released a song in the spring with an obscenity in the title, using the n-word repeatedly and depicting himself as abusing "hoes" and "bitches."
Come on, now. Did his boy Bill O'Reilly teach him the art of combing through songs in search of profanity for the sole purpose of semi-proving a point? Williams' stratetic and dated criticism of hip-hop is laughably out of touch and actually kind of embarassing, cosidering the moment. Using the spotlight of the anniversary of Dr. King's speech to swing and miss during his condemnation of hip-hop is similar to an older sibling complaining about a younger sibling at a family reunion purely because they have an audience. It's just plain divisive.
One last gem, though:
Similar examples abound in the rap-music world and have persisted for years with scarcely any complaint from today's civil-rights leaders. Their failure to denounce these lyrics for the damage they do to poor and minority families—words celebrating tattooed thugs and sexually indiscriminate women as icons of "keeping it real"—is a sad reminder of how long it has been since the world heard the sweet music of the March on Washington.
Typical #fakedeep analysis. To quote Jay-Z, "Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?" Obviously the latter, especially when there's a dull axe to grind.
[via Wall Street Journal]