Music and the abuse of women

Joe Carter has an interesting article in First Things today called “Our Abusive Balladeers”. He discusses the misogyny of so much rap music (Eminem is the example used) and its cultural danger but contrasts it nicely with them moral compass (too blunt, but still morally aware) of country music.

“Over the past six weeks, the top pop song in the land has been Love The Way You Lie by Marshall Mathers III (a.k.a. Eminem) and featuring Rihanna. Mathers is the type of musician that Plato warned us about, and the best argument for following the philosopher’s lead in banning them from the Republic.

So how did we reach the point in pop music where bragging about busting a woman’s face could propel an artist to the top of the charts? Partially it is my fault, for the blame rest primarily with my generation. The musical innovators of Generation X created the genres of rap and hip-hop and the rest of us made excuses when it degenerated into rampant misogyny. We pretended the treatment of woman as sub-human was a mark of authenticity and accepted the racist assumption that women-hating was part of the true “black experience” (even when the rapper was white).
While we are still part of the problem (on behalf of all Gen-Xers, I apologize for the perpetually adolescent Mathers), we are too old and out-of-touch to rectify the damaging legacy we’ve created. We empowered the vicious and the wicked we the power to write the ballads for our nation, and now we have to live the knowledge that we share the culpable when our sisters and daughters are battered.

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About Kleiner

Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.
This entry was posted in Philosophy, Polis (politics, culture). Bookmark the permalink.

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