Metacritic forums

So, writing/singing songs from a perspective (telling a story) should be guided by the potential audience of the song? Eef Barzelay's "The Ballad of Bitter Honey" tells the story of a girl who dances in hip-hop videos...is the fact that a white indie kid might sing a line like "that was my ass bouncing in the Ludacris video" also forbidden? The point of the Two Gallants song is that it tells a story, from the perspective of a black man, about racism. According to the Pitchfork review, the project of performing this song "requires a complex intellectual purpose" and then the reviewer claims there is no apparent intellectual purpose because of the way the song sounds to him and the responses to comments on the song in one interview. That seems like a leap to me...it's nice to know that, merely by reading an interview and listening to a song, Brian Howe can discern a songwriter's intellectual purpose (or lack of it).For my money, a song with a white guy telling the story of life as a black guy (and using the n-word) is slightly disconcerting. But maybe that's the point...to put white indie kids on their heels, and make them think about racism from the perspective of the other. This line of criticism reminds me of the Dave Chappelle argument for ending "Chappelle's Show." In one interview, Chappelle cited his discomfort with the popularity of the show amongst middle class white kids as a reason for pulling the plug. White college kids aping lines from the show made him feel dirty, to some degree, and so he quit. Maybe some of the racial humor fosters racism, but is that reason to stop your project of making people aware of racial intolerance? The fact that some meathead starts dropping n-bombs in tribute to Chappelle (without knowing the 'true meaning' of racism) shouldn't detract from the fact that other kids might actually get it.At the end of the review, Howe says: "In the same interview, Two Gallants repeatedly complain about critics not "getting them." But a persistent failure of interpretation usually signals an initial failure of expression." REALLY? So, there's not much chance that Howe is bringing HIS racial baggage to the table here? That Two Gallants were, in fact, trying to open the eyes of indie kids to racism (by covering a genre song and taking on a perspective) and that HE was the one who's got the 'initial failure' of critical apprhension? And this comes after he had just noted that several critics found the song to be at the least a fair depiction of racism and at most "revelatory"...At the end of the day, I don't think I'll be belting out the lyrics to the song in my car. But given how many indie kids listen to hip-hop, even if the Two Gallants DIDN'T record this song, wouldn't there still be indie kids driving around, dropping 'ironic' n-bombs with their favorite rap song? At least with the Two Gallants, it seems (ostensibly) that there's a message: racism is bad.

WHY I'M AN ASSHOLE: I agree with Dave Chapelle that there's something of the minstrel show about rehearsing the history of racism as entertainment; I think the fact that some racial humor actually fosters racism IS a good reason to "stop your project of making people aware of racial intolerance;" I prefer the use of the "n-bomb" in rap music to its use by white emo kids as some sort of corrective (ps - wtf?); I have racial baggage like everyone else.

VERDICT: Guilty. I could do a whole post about this, but you get the gist. Let's move on to some other reasons why I'm an asshole.