For this post, I would like to start off with the bad news that saddened the hip hop world yesterday. MCA of the Beastie Boys, as you know, has succumbed to cancer after announcing in 2009 of scheduled treatment to try to stop this monstrous disease. It is unfortunate that we had to lose such a talent, visionary, and pioneer like MCA. But I guess it is a reminder that life is short. You could never say that the Beastie Boys never enjoyed life. Even after selling millions of records, earning national and worldwide fame, they never stopped their hunger. And they never broke up and sticked by each other till the end. And through their music, they showed how you have to value life for every day, hour, minute, and second you have. Even at age 40, they probably had more fun than anyone at 20 has right now. So all I’m saying is, life is what you make it. Make the best of it so that when it is your time to go, you will feel satisfied that you lived a damn good life.
Now a word about “satire”
I don’t usually do this but I felt it was so necessary to bring this up. Yesterday, some New York Post reviewer was accused of making racist remarks in an attempt to be satirical.
As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots — what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new “urban” home — why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment?
Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N——s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B—-hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!
The writer, Phil Mushnick, later claimed that his comments were meant to be satirical:
Such obvious, wishful and ignorant mischaracterizations of what I write are common. I don’t call black men the N-word; I don’t regard young women as bitches and whores; I don’t glorify the use of assault weapons and drugs. Jay-Z, on the other hand…..Is he the only NBA owner allowed to call black men N—ers?
Jay-Z profits from the worst and most sustaining self-enslaving stereotypes of black-American culture and I’M the racist? Some truths, I guess, are just hard to read, let alone think about
Now, at first glance, it’s racist. No doubt. But when you see the reason why he wrote it, you kinda have to think about it. It is true that Jay-Z’s music does feature some of those stereotypes and it is also true, he makes big money off of it. But I think Mushnick was under the impression that Jay-Z was a misogynistic, violent Uncle Tom (with a wife, no guns, and many black friends). Mushnick maybe could have looked at it better and found better wording. So f*ck him, right?
Or is it just the nature of racial satire?
I personally feel that race is something that can NEVER be satired. Because anyone will interpret it as racist. And nobody is gonna look any deeper than that. Pointing out the stereotypes is one thing. Making fun of them is another. Pointing out the flaws in a racial community is not considered racist. People will take it as fact. Ice Cube made a song called “Us” where he pointed out the various flaws in the black community. But no one called Cube an Uncle Tom. And not because he is Ice Cube, the African American your mother is scared to death of. It is because what he said was true. But imagine Cube doing the song in a more satirical fashion. I’m not sure if Cube would be alive if he did that.
The problem is not the people who interpret the satire. It is the nature of the satire itself. Race is way too touchy of a subject to make a satire of. People will mistake your mocking, supposedly insightful comments as bigotry. Race is one of the only things that can never be put in a joke. It is just not possible to pass off a satirical comment on race and NOT be considered a racist. So satirists, don’t even bother.
Once again, RIP MCA.