Mortified and Stupefied

More
Conor, responding to the stupidity of Fox News, is shocked (!!) that the White House would host "controversial" rapper Common:

A prominent platform by the president of the United States? Determined to find out, I delved into various news archives. Imagine my surprise to discover: This isn't even the first time the occupant of the Oval Office has behaved in this manner! 

In a video that has somehow escaped the attention of the conservative press, President Obama can be seen presenting a medal to a foreign singer whose co-wrote a song with the lyrics, "I'd rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man." Another of his compositions depicts a serial murder on a killing spree that involves bludgeoning a teacher to death with a hammer. He also wrote a song that glorified the Soviet Union at the height of its Cold War power. Alas, President Obama is far from the first American leader to favorably highlight performers who've sung bawdy lyrics. 

In an interview about his iPod, President George W. Bush once revealed some of his favorite illegally downloaded songs, including one with the lyrics, "Such a dirty mind/I always get it up/for the touch/of the younger kind." The disrespect shown the White House by such presidential preferences arguably reached its zenith during the tenure of Bill Clinton, when a man known for singing about cocaine -- and shooting not a mere police officer, but a sheriff -- performed a concert at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. "It took place in a marquee on the White House lawn," he wrote in his autobiography. "I remember being desperate to pee, but since finding a toilet would have meant going through complicated security and back into the main building, I decided to sneak out and water the lawn."

Indeed.

So much of this sort of stuff just boils down to "We don't like you, and we need to fill dead air by discussing how much we dislike you." But the sight of Fox profiling, then attacking, Common, profiling LL Cool J, and lauding Ted Nugent is a metaphor for a conservatism that has trouble going beyond anti-liberalism. 

It's not like this is new.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In