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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Coarsened culture: Lil Wayne desecrates the sacred

Open note to President Obama: now's a good time to scrub that iPod.

And if any Lil Wayne tracks are still present, or if iTunes was set on an automatic download and snatched up the web-released remixed version of "Karate Chop" by accident, just burn the thing.

In bragging how his virility would ravage his female partner, so much so that her organs would resemble Emmett Till, Lil Wayne aka Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., breached a new low.

All publicity is said to be good publicity, because controversy sells. In this case, though, that cha-ching you hear marked the sale of his soul to the devil. Some lines just aren't to be crossed.

Emmett Till was a chubby-faced 14-year-old when a band of white men attacked him, beat him savagely, shot him, tied barbed wire around his lifeless body and then sank it in the Tallahatchie River. The inspiration for this "justified" crime was an allegation that he whistled at a white woman, an act for which these Mississippi men served as judge, jury and executioner of the Chicago teen in 1955.

It was his open casket funeral, one his mother, Mamie, demanded for her baby, and photos of which Jet Magazine published. That landmark layout shocked a nation, stirred its conscience and fortified resolve to conquer the complete brutality and domestic terrorism being visited upon African Americans.

He was Trayvon Martin before Trayvon's parents were even born. He was an unwitting sacrificial lamb, a linchpin for what became a steeled and largely successful Civil Rights Movement.

For some, 1955 represents the Stone Age, like legal segregation, Women's Lib and the Reagan Revolution.

Emmett Till, before and after.
For others, like the surviving members of the Till family, it's only a blink of time and a history to never forget. Certainly not one to desecrate.

In an era where the proclaimed most powerful man in the world is black, there exists in tandem a level of unmitigated ignorance so crass and cruel among those who share his skin color that it makes you shudder. Then again, this is the age where glitz and bling dictate who's king. In such an arena, Mr. Cash Money Millionaire himself -- with his Billboard chart-busters, industry awards, personal rap sheet and assorted babymamas -- is royalty.

And for a minute, let's just overlook his glaring history of misogynistic lyrics and the outrage they've inspired through the years -- even among the juicebox set. That a man from the South -- New Orleans, in fact -- with even a hint of knowledge of that unspeakable 1955 horror would string together such words under the veil of "entertainment" is perhaps saddest of all.

That deep sigh you just heard didn't come from Weezy fans-turned-critics like Stevie Wonder or the president. It's from Chuck D. Or maybe it was KRS-One. Or any hip hopper who turned to this music to speak truth to, and for, a disaffected generation -- not simply to peddle a poisoned path to perdition.

In that vein, Lil Wayne is an apt Pied Piper, spawned by a coarsened culture run amok.

Those without any sense of their history, what it means, even enough to be wary of signs that could indicate its repetition in some of the ugliest ways, truly represent the doomed. On that, George Santayana was on the money.

Cash money.

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