“i ain’t gon’ comeback at you, i’m comin’ at yr ghostwriters”

“It is far more difficult to murder a phantom than a reality.” —Virginia Woolf, as quoted in the intro to Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth
Brian Bassett of Southern California took time out of his day working over at Blueprint Mortgage, 607-2727 ext 17, to write some constructive criticism to my inbox. So thanks to Brian for that.
Meanwhile, Robert Hammond “occasionally of Dusted,” rebeljukebox dot net, and Wesleyan, wrote a criticism of my David Banner “Certified” review at pfork, invoked Adorno, and e-mailed me “requesting she respond to this post.” You sure, B? Sigh.
One of his probs w/my David Banner Certified review:
The review doesn’t even talk about the single that preceded Certified’s release, “Play.” How, in a legitimate album review, can you not mention the single that is currently all over the radio and BET? I’ve written here before that I didn’t dig the song, saying it was a re-hash of “Wait (The Whisper Song)” and emphasizing that the misogyny of these songs becomes particularly inexcusable when it comes in the form of mere imitation/cash-in. The difference between my short (and probably unnecessarily harsh) preview of Certified and Julianne Shepherd’s review on Pitchfork is that I actually expressed my displeasure in words. Instead, Shepherd expresses her displeasure by furthering a feminist agenda through her omission of Banner’s misogyny in her review.
So I dropped a bullock there. Feminist agenda? How can I read that far into a music review? Well, as I’ve shown, it’s painfully obvious. Also, I’ve read Julianne Shepherd’s blog, Cowboyz ‘n’ Poodlez, enough to know that she is very much a feminist. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with promoting a feminist agenda. I consider myself a feminist,* and if Shepherd had acknowledged her position, or at least written outside of the context of a music review, I would be only mildly irked about a few factual errors. What I do have a problem with is Shepherd’s integration of those politics into her review without even referencing them, which cheats and misleads readers. She fails in giving a complete, thoughtful analysis of the music, which means she fails (in this instance) as a legitimate music critic.
Though I in no way see misogyny in music as a positive, I still respect artistic expression, warts and all. Shepherd obviously does not, and seems to think that it’s her job to clean-up David Banner’s less wholesome act. She is also paternalistic towards the readers of Pitchfork, who apparently aren’t intelligent enough to separate the misogyny they hear in music from their own actions.

* “some of my best friends are privileged white men!”
Firstly, I don’t know that political agendas are extricable from anything anyone writes, whether said agendas are admitted, implied, or inherent. That’s essentially saying reviews aren’t subjective. We are stewards of the world, we are stewards of the culture, and the personal is political acknowledged or no. Secondly, the constant use of “legitimate music critic” and “legitimate review” is itself icky, because what is “legitimate,” who is the legitimizer, how do we all agree on a definition of legitimacy? The idea of “legitimate” reeks of a hierarchy and is hostile to the free flow of ideas. Thirdly, uh… I respect artistic expression. I’m not censoring shit. And I do imagine the majority of Pitchfork readers are probably wicked intelligent. FOURTHLY, as my dear friend and peer Jessica R. Hopper pointed out, “Dude is attacking you for being a feminist by saying he IS a feminist… You have no responsibility to put your bias on the table, and that guy is just trying to discredit you, as if this is some “fair and balanced” shit. It’s totally bullshit. He would never do that to a dude. Never.”
Back to Ole Bob’s complaints. Indeed, my assessment of David Banner’s Certified was probably more “profile” than “review”–didn’t i show his contradictions? didn’t i employ the word “contradictions” in like, para. 1?–and it wasn’t my surefire entree for the Pulitzer, but as an ABC of music writerliness, here is a lesson: Considering Banner’s high-profile Katrina outspokenness/activity, and the fact that Pitchfork is a web-only publication that operates in the fluid timezone of the internerd, it was incredibly important to give the album its proper now-political context. It’s true, I didn’t write about “Play.” Not just because my first fucking draft was something approximating 1244 words (too long~even for web!!), the song came out like 40 years ago and other songs *you haven’t already heard* were more interesting, and anything I would have written about it at this point would have been the cursory “Hot off the single “Play,” which drops trou to Mr. Collipark and watches a lady auto-eroticize so that Mr. Banner may then perform cunnilingus on her and, hopefully, bring her to climax, over some shit-hot siren whorl.”
But also because I don’t think “Play,” in and of itself, is all that misogynistic (barring the one “beat that pussy up” party line that, in the context of this song, takes on a different meaning than the YYT song). It’s explicit, si, but I cannot be mad at a track about a dude trying to make a woman orgasm, yknow. (P.S. The female orgasm is one of the cornerstones of second-wave feminism!)
If I had been trying to push forth my feminist agenda, you would’ve known it.
Further from Mr. Hammond:
Misogyny in hip-hop is an important issue. Efforts to eliminate this element from the culture of rap, such that the content of the music no longer reinforces the patriarchy / marginalizes females, are admirable and indispensable. However, this should not, and does not, condone censorship. Merely ignoring it and thus misrepresenting the art is abhorrent to criticism.
Because I don’t think Pfork readers are stupid: Misogyny /violence are EMBEDDED IN THE FABRIC OF THE CULTURE / misogyny and violence are rewarded in rap, in particular, VIA record contract / and are especially fostered and reinforced by the bush/cheney deathfuck regime / one reason misogyny is present in most rap albums released today, corpo and otherwise, whether it takes the shape of stripclub flagellation or the young MC who lures girls backstage via forlorn puppy-dog narratives, and I WRITE ABOUT THAT SHIT EVERY DAY, almost literally. BUt since you asked. Yes, when I heard Gangsta Boo’s voice on certified–simply the sound of her voice on a rap album, rapping–I was thrilled and/or passing out with joy, like here is a space where a lady is “allowed” to exist, if only on a chorus, and not as object or subject, not as “token female rapper,” but as peer. That was amazing. Other points: there was the fucked up Too $hort track (imagine!), wherein the “hoe” is presented as conquest as a way of sonning the enemy, her man. That track was also kind of shitty. “Sonically.” And there was the “I fucked up, shorty” track, thinking bout you, which I loved, and had the apology for the hands around the neck, then expressed remorse, and deserves a whole essay unto itself.
This right here is tantamount to good old second-wave-style exhaustion. After serving on the Ying Yang Twins “Wait” CMJ panel and basically cashing out after one panelist repeatedly deployed the absurd term “male-dominated consensual sex” after outing his ex-girlfriends’ sexual proclivities/requests in a public space (while she was, presumably, absent and unable to comment on whether she thought that was ok) the selfsame day a dude in my neighborhood, as i walked to the train, looked at me and said, “Baby i could break you open” ominously, not to mention the standard occurrence of uninvited touching in clubs and beleaguring street hollers: “you gotta boyfriend?”s, “damn”s, “come’eresexy”s leers and/or catcalls or what have you, on a daily basis–every day, yes daily, uncomfortable, uninvited and invasive verbal reminders of the power structure and where i fit in it: all meat, who’s the boss. “TONY ‘MOTHERFUCKING’ DANZA UP IN THIS ‘BITCH.’”
So yeah dude, i’ve got a feminist agenda, because I live that shit. I’m dropping 1200 words from my bedroom/office which take much longer to write than they should, often paralyzed by precogged dismay and anxiety (writer-typical/gender-blind!), fully knowing that you and Brian Bassett of Blueprint MOrtgage and a whole cadre of dudes and other “occasionals” are sitting at the other end of the interweb, waiting to release the slingshot, ready to be right. Because as much as you wanna tout intellectual engagement with a piece of art as your endgame, in the end the game is the province of men and it’s all about being right, non? Yeah, it’s about being right and it’s about superiority and it’s about being threatened–and, fuck that, cause for me, it’s about spending the last ten-plus years of my life working my ass off, forging a path from undereducated/but enthusiastic teenaged fanzine publisher to autodidactic (still enthusiastic) full-time writer “legitimized” by economics, my hard-won ability to self-support doing the above, climbing out by my fingernails, also thanks to the forgiving outstretched hands of a whole range of humans, eat drink man woman, willing to help pull me up off the floor.
And so here’s where you’re right: The intro. “Heal” vs. “Feel.” It was still part of my point, but it was pretty much typo-tron 9000. What can I say. Sometimes we fuck up, sometimes we are flawless. I will allow someone on a web accountability fact-checking panel one (1) free pass to invoke my name in the future.
Ironically, “the song is called “treat me like a pimp” on the CLEAN version of Certified, which was the version of the hard-copy I procured from the record label and used as fact-checking, because they were “all out” of non-censored versions. So if it makes it to the radio, “treat me like a pimp” is the version you’ll hear.
Straight up, dude, the goal is to write, eat the parts that don’t work, and keep it movin’–whilst being mindful of my privilege, respectful of my lack of it, and living a righteous life accordingly, and doing so until He finds the “mercy” to “deliver” me, “He” being the affluent Western racist patriarchy that seeks to systematically mentally and physically undermine all those starting back at the 20-yard line. Nahmean? This is why I am ecstatic that you, Bob Hammond, occasionally of Dusted, Wesleyan, and rebel jukebox, have signed up, signed on, and pledged to call out/put in work against the sexism, racism, heterosexism, classism, and otherwise, in everything you write from now to eternity, because, after all, it is a terrific burden for the handful of skippers presently tugging an entire fleet of Princess cruiseliners, and we could use another hand. Come aboard! We’re expecting you!
More importantly, CnP is hoping everyone read this piece, too, on the ineffectuality of the Red Cross. Love and hope to Houston and I’ll work on getting some more links for non-Red Cross donation places.
And now, I’ve got a television shoot to attend, thank you.
YOURS,
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
South Brooklyn, NY
22 Sept 2005

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57 Responses to “i ain’t gon’ comeback at you, i’m comin’ at yr ghostwriters”

  1. ritchey says:

    SPEAK IT!

  2. seriously? says:

    can we get over ourselves? i mean, who really fucking cares.

  3. marisa says:

    I heart my feminist agenda.

  4. Jessica Hopper says:

    I care. I care with my whole heart.
    I was riding my bike last nighting thinking about it, and this dude is on some heirarchal ‘there is only one way to eat a reeses” thing. Ultimately.
    JH

  5. chicks says:

    Fuckin’ chicks. Can’t live with em, can’t live without em.

  6. lynne says:

    JS – u gets my vote.
    You gots me stuck off the realness, we be the infamous

  7. R says:

    you and JH are the only reason I read music crit…

  8. Anthony says:

    god, why aren’t people bothering to say my name with this “one panelist” shit? Who are we protecting here?
    The anecdote I offered (with my ex-gf’s consent, if you really care) was to make the audience deal with the female audience for aggressive, often cartoonish, male sexuality in rap, and ask how they think a guy should react to it. It’s easy to bemoan dudes treating women as playthings and conquest, but I wanted to hear people’s opinions on “male-dominated consensual sex” (which is what the songs were ABOUT, in the same way some Grace Jones song about whippin’ a willing dude would be about female-dominated consensual sex, sorry you couldn’t explain why this was bullshit during the panel). I wanted to hear a response to feelings like these,
    which I think are more complicated and interesting than assuming the audience for this music is entirely male.
    I understand why you would be exhausted with well-meaning but self-serving male psuedo-feminists, but I’d appreciate it if you’d do me the benefit of a little enlightenment rather than sitting quietly and waiting to complain about (and warp) what I have to say after-the-fact.

  9. Anthony says:

    evidently I don’t know how to post links here, but “feelings like these” was supposed to lead to http://zerointerrupt.com/stevienixed/?p=700 , a piece my friend Nathalie wrote in reaction to the initial brouhaha.

  10. Rt. Rev. Fischer says:

    So you wrote a half-assed review and now its all about how hard your life is as a woman? Can’t be that bad people respect your opinion on music… and who the hell is this guy that has rattled your chain so hard? Ex-lover? Bitter enemy? Why spend so much effort going after him? I am pretty sure he isn’t setting back feminism any more than, say all of rap culture.

  11. Leon says:

    you and JH are the only reason I read music crit…
    If that’s true, I feel very very sorry for you. That’s like saying Thomas Kincaid is the only reason you’re interested in art.

  12. Leon says:

    Sorry, I take that back.
    Kincaid is very corny and trite and kitsch, but there is a certain level of skill to what he does. JS is very clumsy writer that doesn’t even border on coherency in this entry. I cringe at the thought that there are publications that would pay money for this level of poorly executed tripe.

  13. Thank you julianne for this stunning and awesome and inspiring entry.
    Ignorant dude: for future reference, it’s THOMAS KINKADE!

  14. Leon says:

    I’m glad you are well versed in true artists such as Julianne and Thomas, thanks for the enlightenment.

  15. seriously? says:

    Ugh. Are we measuring our IQs via hotel lobby artists? Come on,Kev. Kev, come on.
    I’m sure Julianne is a talented and passionate writer. I know she is. I’m sure she sweats cred and clever all over her leotard, but that’s not really the point. The point is the power given to these stupid blog wars. Have your discourse, have it all over town. But it doesn’t… translate well in a blogging town, you know? It doesn’t matter how crucial the argument, it will still read like you’ve left your diary open to the right page so the whole school eventually knows that Tony MIGHT be missing a ball OR balls or MAY even be a pretty little lady. And he started it! I know. I fucking know. Do what you do, and do it all day long. You’re very good. But. I’m old fashioned. Go to his parents house, shout at his window and throw up on the lawn. I’d rather read about that.

  16. levi says:

    “a whole cadre of dudes and other “occasionals” are sitting at the other end of the interweb, waiting to release the slingshot, ready to be right.”
    hmm

  17. ritchey says:

    the other night I was saying to someone, “Julianne Shepherd writes the only kind of music criticism I am interested in reading.” Then I come here and find that that fact is being debated?? HORRORS.

  18. Paul B says:

    The deafening chorus of male voices shouts back.
    I think you’re absolutely right in your critique of Hammond. He asks you to explain your politics before you write a review, but do we ask him to do the same? Somehow his politics become innocent and invisible, but yours demand explanation and need to be disclaimer’d onto your review: Nervous patriarchs be warned.
    This is the myth of privilege, as I see it- it asks the margins to explain and out themselves as ‘other’ while keeping its own subject position uninvestigated. He understands his review as netural while yours is feminist. Rather, it seems to me that his review makes power invisible, while yours seems to takes gender and questions of power in popular culture seriously.
    The interesting thing for me is to think about why he refuses to take questions of power seriously, and somehow tries to hide his ignoring of power in his claims to ‘legit criticism’. How somehow if you ask about power or question the connections between popular culture and larger social/political questions – thats not real criticism.
    Fuck that. He’s a fanboy, you’re doing the real critical work.

  19. Jessica Hopper says:

    Three things, or more, mebbe:
    Anthony Miccio: “Male Dominated Consensual Sex” is pretty much the blanket that covers the world. We could go semantics-penetration vs. envelopment, or whatevs. It’s totes nebulous, and also, maybe the panel was not the time for J-Shep to debase yr TMI session. That anyone, in a professional public arena would discuss an ex-lover’s proclivities, plus, as an exampled responce to a YYT song… where does one begin on a topic like that.
    The responce of “why does this dude bum you out so bad–ex-lover?”– this is so common of a response from dudes, so frequent it is comical. They also like to whip that out when you give a harsh review to a band: “why you so rough on them, the drummer fuck you and not call you back?”. One bites back when some one-review-hack (see his “occasional” work with Dusted–1 review a month ago) deems himself peer critique and busts wild double standard, like there is only one way to do it, it is his way–steeped in bullshit and attack-attack-envy.
    And then they will discredit you for being too personal(feelings are not critical/legit), too feminine(not critical enough, sensitive), not feminine enough (too harsh). They will tell you your writing sucks and does not matter, but then will write you responses a mile long about it, how it is wrong, post in your comments section over and over. They will wait in the trees with the slingshot, hoping for engagement and chance to pounce again.

  20. Will says:

    You are a supergenius.
    ^^^True story.

  21. Anthony says:

    It’s not like I named names, Jessica, and as I noted I had already cleared this with the person you’re both so worried about. I used an anecdote from my personal life in order to get people to talk about a complex issue. I find it really ironic that this is being treated like a major offense by the both of you, esp. in this arena. But then I’m finding plenty of irony in your ‘Feminism is about all of us being peers–the whole wide world. With feminism, you do not have to live yr life cowboying around the internet duck-duck-goosing on the legitimacy-tip to prove you are “a real critic”: you can be free.’ stance, anyhow. But hey, this is totes whatevs.

  22. Mr. Peach says:

    What is male-dominated consensual sex? Has anyone ever used the word “love” on this website? Man. Bob may not be on your “level” [me either for that matter] but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a point. Julianne wrote a weak review that was probably, maybe, slightly, outside the realm of criticism (she called it what…a “profile”..? ok). That’s fine, I guess. The 1200 words and the extremely whiny tenor of her response (the whole “I live this shit” bit) made me laugh though. All of our lives are hard Julianne! You aren’t the only victim, I swear. Heck, I used to get laughed at and made fun of all the time because I was the smallest, whitest basketball player in town. And it hurt. You and your friends seem to think that gender discrimination is somehow especially egregious. You’re not the only one who is hemmed in by Darwin (as we all know, women have weaker spatial cognition…read The Bell Curve). I do appreciate how jealously you defend your weaknesses though. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go get my ass kicked on the rugby field by men who have REALLY REALLY REALLY male-dominated consensual sex. I think you should just fall in love Julianne, male or female, whatever. Life is unjust. You just need to ask yourself: “what is more important to me, love or justice?”
    In any event, for future reference, don’t write a pathetic review then try to cover it up by getting over on Bob with a masturbatory appeal to your puerile fan base. It makes your ideology feel cheap and [more] boring.
    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a television shoot to attend to…what???? Uh…thanks Carrie Bradshaw. Wear something nice…I’m not saying you’re superficial…no really…we really wanted to know.

  23. Mr. Peach says:

    http://tiny.abstractdynamics.org/archives/006435.html
    I also don’t like how Jessica Hooper (at her blog) appropriates the Lord’s teachings for her weird agenda. Get real Jess. Freedom, to quote a great American, is not the exclusive cache of the feminist left “but the Almighty’s gift to the world.” GWB.

  24. femme feral says:

    I read often, but haven’t commented before. Just wanted to say thanks for all the hard work.

  25. Bob Hammond says:

    Hey, J, care to moderate any of my comments? What’s the deal here? You can slide on over to Rebel Jukebox and shoot a few barbs anytime you’d like. Where’s my thank you card for upping your traffic / relevance? Yours is in the mail.

  26. Dizzle says:

    Hahaha Bob. That kid is the man.

  27. Bob Hammond says:

    Also, why’s everyone making such a big deal about my writing for Dusted? Yes, I link my written work on my site. But I never brought that authority in to the debate. Please, the good folks over at Dusted are actually serious people, leave them out of this.

  28. Does no one else see the essential irony of this highly bizarre argument
    https://vdov.net/?p=158
    Anyone?

  29. I mean really after going through all the comments here I feel even better about writing my re-re-retort (or wherever we are in this bizarre cult of musipolitico nonsense)

  30. personal agendas says:

    Wait. So is it unfeminist for me to sleep with someone who has a girlfriend? And as a vegan, can i swallow come?
    personal agendas.

  31. repo man says:

    No that would just make you an ass or a big player depending on who you ask but if you were to rap about slapping around said girlfriend and then having sex with her in demeaning ways I think you are on the way to anti-feminism. As far as come and swallowing and veganism I think you are still ok but maybe just maybe if you talked about how delicious meat was no one would take you seriously as a vegan
    but you know asking for unsolicited advice on swallowing various human body fluids on the internet is probably not the best idea… but who am I to judge

  32. I couldn’t join the Brodude Slingshot Army even in the unlikely event that i would disagree with you about something.

  33. Nathalie says:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what the YYT thought when writing the song? I s’pose 90 percent was just money/a hit, but what about the rest? But of course that doesn’t really matter, now does it? I understand feminism, I understand why you want to fight misoginy, but I only want to combat it when the evidence is clear. I’m kicking myself for forgetting the song that dealt with a woman (the singer) being into aggressive sex in the backseat. It made the YYT seemed like softies.

  34. “Brodude Slingshot Army”
    I think I have found the name for my first band. I think it will be a post-punk Easy E. coverband where we just belt out the most offensive lyrics from each song over and over again all atop a background of fuzzy guitar, tape loops, and samples from really emo bands… but disped really hard so they are almost incomprehensible. That way pretty much everyone that can get offended (not middle and up class white men, and fascists) will be offended and at the same time feel sad (but subliminally so)

  35. Doesn't matter says:

    Hi, I didn’t read your review yet, but I do consider myself a “feminist” and if you wrote a review that didn’t tear down that completely useless song “Play” my only question is WHY NOT?
    Actually I don’t think “play” is anything like The Whisper Song. At least the Whisper song is about men pleasing women (The Whisper song is very sexy). The lyricism in The Whisper Song is far more advanced and honestly I really don’t get why so many “feminists” hate the song.
    That “play” song , on the other hand, doesn’t even have a story line. It’s so ridiculous–”work them hips, run girl…let me see your body sweat”. It’s such an obvious and shameless attempt to sell sex. I used to have respect for Banner and I used to think he had something to say. How he could allow himself to make such a worthless, unengaging song, it seems, has only to do with the fact that he is following trends and is NOT an original musicain in the least.
    After hearing “play” I have no interest in hearing Certified at all. And I do think it’s kind of strange that you wouldn’t mention it.
    I don’t think Pitchfork is being hard enough on these mainstream rappers (courting advertising money perhaps?).
    And I do think politics or lack thereof has become an issue for far too many reviews at Pitchfork recently.

  36. I don’t think Pitchfork is being hard enough on these mainstream rappers (courting advertising money perhaps?).
    Now that is something I can get behind. I don’t think it has as much to do with money as it does with a desire to be edgey and engaging to a wider audience (one that is not all white and upper middle class… although by simply being an internet indie music review site you are limited). I definitely agree I think there is a little too much worship at the altar of mainstream rap. A lot of it is not really breaking any new ground or particularly engaging. A lot of it is simply less wel known artists rehashing what Biggie and Tupac did years ago, but in places that are not LA or New York. I also agree that politics and Pitchfork has become a hot issue recenlty. But I think it is one deserving of a little analysis at least, if for no other reason that music reviews probably should be fairly apolitical and focus more on music and less on say… feminism.

  37. Doesn't matter says:

    Now I’ve read the review
    Why in the world is David Banner admirable?—- cause he helped Katrina victims? Everybody and their mother is trying to do something for Katrina so they can get some press. You put quotes from the man and everything. That isn’t a cd review , it’s a press release.
    And since when has pitchfork cared about an artists’ “massive hood clout” (whatever that means).
    And why is his sound compared to a “bark.” I find it odd that black artists are most often compared to animals. I won’t even start in on the racism in this review.
    You say he “gets by” on personality. Gets by what? That he’s a sucker mc trying to sell this hardcore “son of the south” persona as well as the pimp/gansta persona to listeners and he’s just coming off looking STUPID AND CONFUSED?
    Your quote from his song
    this is for my thug niggas/ All the pimps and the drug dealas/ Thieves and the motherfuckin killas/ Most of y’ain’t neva had shit/ That’s why we get crunk in this bitch,” the chorus goes, after which the nascent connect-the-dots sociology comes full-throttle: “Daddy in the pen/ Mama out suckin’ dick/ I ain’t never had them/ So I ride with my click/ And I’d die for my click.”
    Oh man like we’ve never heard these played out narratives before have we??? And his lines are so intricate. I mean David Banner is so original!!!!!
    YOu say
    “Certified, the South’s first post-Katrina album. America: fuck yeah.”
    ARe you kidding me?
    I mean I can’t figure out if he’s a pimp a gansta rapper or a black nationalist and he can’t rap worth a damn (though his production aint that bad—might have been better if you stuck to that rather than his politics or lyricism ). Problem is he’s trying to be the jack of all trades. It’s all a hustle to this guy.
    I guess that it may be a hustle for the writers at pitchfork too, because, just based on politics, Banner shouldn’t get a pass and based on musical consistency he shouldn’t get a pass on this LP either—so how that LP got a whopping 8.8 on a supposedly CRITICAL AND ALTERNATIVE website is incredulous to me.

  38. Ricky says:

    wow, i think its funny all this critiquing of rap music by privileged white kids
    at least JS and JH have women oppression and can get closer to being able to critique this sort of thing
    but white male privelege c’mon
    don’t even be frontin

  39. Well yeah that is what my argument was… although far from being more able to critique this kind of thing I feel as if its more bizarre that women/feminists would really be reviewing it.
    https://vdov.net/?p=158

  40. Mikey says:

    I don’t know…Mr. Peach made a pretty good point about whiteness. Any person is capable of oppressing–or at least demeaning–any other person of a different background.
    People like Bob and Julianne Shepherd are, believe it or not, MUSIC CRITICS. Their goal is to write reviews or criticisms of music for other people to read. It just so happens that much of the innovative music being made right now is hip hop, and they would not be fulfilling their role as critics if they ignored rap simply because of their skin colors or socio-economic background.
    Man, I’ve grown up in and around Chicago, and music has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’m a middle class white kid. I don’t see my nonwhite friends from Cicero and Chicago proper as lacking legitimacy when they say the new Weezer album sucks, or that Naked Raygun is undeniably incredible. I don’t think they hold anything against me when I admit that I really don’t like Common that much, or if I drive around blasting “Aquemini.”
    (Is David Banner really a strong, cogent voice in the realm of inner city oppression, anyway? I don’t mean to get too Studs Terkel here, but if we’re going to argue legitimacy on basis of oppression, we should at least look at what the object of criticism was in the first place).

  41. nathalie says:

    “wow, i think its funny all this critiquing of rap music by privileged white kids”
    Yes, of course, let’s all let them keep quiet because due to their skin colour and money they can’t understand anything.

  42. Rich says:

    i think we have to name our subject-position y’all
    anyway i love all of you…but the thing is we shouldn’t rank oppression but we do have to be cognizant of the fact that yeah, we do have some privilege be it white or male privilege
    brush up on your Gloria Anzaldua
    and yer Cherrie Moraga
    “Yes, of course, let’s all let them keep quiet because due to their skin colour and money they can’t understand anything.”
    white people have been doing that for years, isn’t that what hip hop is about a reaction to this?

  43. Rick says:

    “I don’t know…Mr. Peach made a pretty good point about whiteness. Any person is capable of oppressing–or at least demeaning–any other person of a different background.”
    i don’t know i think you’d have to have some sort of power to practice racism, and is there a greater power than privilege?
    as for your music critic point, that is valid, definitely….lets not turn this into a point counter-point forum but more of a forum for all of us to learn from each other

  44. Rick says:

    as for the “its just music criticism” argument
    i think with black music—hip-hop, rap, jazz
    it is so personal and tied into the politics and racism of the united states it is way different from weezer
    what JH and JS are doing is something I don’t think has happened before which was a feminist critique on rap/hip-hop but coming from a white feminist perspective
    as opposed to a black feminist/black male feminist perspective
    and they do it in a way that is hella interesting
    and entertaining and needs to be voiced
    but thas just my opinion

  45. rebecca says:

    all art comes from a political place, be it a privileged place or an oppressed place. To say that Weezer, or any art for that matter, is somehow devoid of politics is sloppy. Nobody can separate their art from their cultural background. I do think that black music is in a singular position because of the mass commercialization and co-opting of it by a largely white middle and upper class. and that is something that America has successfully done for along time, far before “in da club” was made into a frat-party favorite. But that doesn’t negate the politics of weezer, or green day, or even thomas fucking kinkade. Art, in whatever form and by whoever’s hand, is political.

  46. Raju says:

    any man in an arguement with a woman about feminism should really think twice before asserting himself in this “i know what i’m saying” way
    like my friend said; “men think they know everything but women know its not true”

  47. Raju says:

    By the way, thank you Jessica Hopper for critiquing the way men critique women
    you’re so right and i used to do that on this blog. what you wrote was so on point it makes me embarrassed and ashamed to think i thought i was being different but i was doing the same thing

  48. Mr. Peach says:

    Raju….are you a girl or a boy, because I am lost? And please don’t lie: you have no friends.

  49. Mark Ibold says:

    It’s ironic beyond ironic that when these women, these writers, they stick up for themselves, and call out some lamebrains for macho politicking, the lamebrains strike up little boy pissing matches further proving the points of writers they insist are off base. Boys juust flapping around, riding coat-tails to internerd glory.
    As ever, Julianne, I am a huge fan of your work. Keep up the good work and the right-on fight. Do not let petty haters get you down.

  50. Mr. Peach says:

    Quit trying to get laid Mark.

  51. Mark Ibold says:

    So men who are feminists are just trying to get laid? Dude, do you find comfort living in Reagan-years jock stupor? You are outing yourself in your ignorance and motives. I feel bad for you, even though this is just the internet or whatever.

  52. shit is poppin off up in here. Jyeah!

  53. Raju says:

    unfortunately 99% of what men do is to get laid, feminist or not

  54. So men who are feminists are just trying to get laid?
    No, pretty much all men have a sex drive.
    Also, I like how you stick up for people that don’t really seem to need it by… of all things name-calling.
    I am not sure whether any of those “lamebrains” “hater” or “Reagan-years jock stupor”‘s were directed my way but honestly bravo. I really thought that thinly veiled accusing people of being conservative to undermine their argument had gone the way of bra burning and the Symbionese Liberation Army. Seriously thanks for bringing that one back… makes liberals look awesome.

  55. Nah, its cool Julliane and Jessica are some mary poppins lookalikes that dig ghetto music, personally I prefer my women with a little more classy girly music, but a lot of preppy white girls wanna hump some ghetto niggas so nothing new here.

  56. nice tea says:

    Byron Crawford on the new David Banner album:
    David Banner, Certified (Universal, 2005)
    I know it’s probably not nice to talk bad about the dude while he’s down there handing out bottled water to the “refugees,” but this new David Banner album is a huge fucking turd.

  57. reacher says:

    Hi Julianne —
    I like you. I enjoy reading what you write about these issues (kind of the same way I enjoy watching people run for the bus.)
    but please! it’s a fucked-up world & all seditious causes are not allied. rap is not on your side just cause you’re a girl —-

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