The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Gots A Peace Prize: A Review


I'm hearing a lot of Steve Crowder out in the right-wing circuit. I first heard of him from a shambolic "We Didn't Start The Fire" parody (at FrontPageMag.com, although I don't see it there now). Then I caught him right here at the 3 July Tea Party (his wit n' wisdom - "Obama looks like a photo negative of Alfred E Newman"). Now I find that Mr Crowder has "dropped", as they say, a new video: the rap I Gots A Peace Prize.

It's instructive to compare Crowder's parodies with those of Weird Al Yankovic. Weird Al's "Germs" derived from several Nine Inch Nails songs. One does a style parody of a charged genre for one reason - to compare an example of misbehaviour (in the new lyrics) to the pathologies underlying the original (in the shared tune). When Weird Al did "Germs", he was mocking paranoia in the style of frequently-paranoid Trent Reznor. With "Trigger Happy", he was mocking careless gun owners to the tune of a carefree surfer melody.

Crowder's video was gangsta rap. Weird Al has done gangsta rap too: in all cases, to compare his real target to the urban underclass. "All About The Pentiums" and then "White & Nerdy" both lampooned computer-nerd braggarts. Crowder, then, is saying that Obama's Nobel is ghetto. His video is a similitude like Limbaugh's.

Crowder's video is more violent than Yankovic's nerd parodies. Crowder waves a pistol around; Yankovic, as far as I remember, didn't. This brings up primal emotions of rage and terror in Crowder's audience. Crowder also chooses to rap in a Black rapper cadence; and not in the conversational tones of Vanilla Ice and the Bloodhound Gang, nor in the street-brawler snaps of Eminem and the Beastie Boys.

As a result I'm not sure who is Crowder's target.Crowder is going after the Black community as a whole. If the attempt was to attack Obama as a poser, then he would have done better to rap like a white guy (or to choose another genre entirely). If the attempt was to go after the Obama supporters in the Black community, then the attempt was misguided - surfing around turns up that most Black Obamists on the internet are NOT jumping up and down with pride, but mildly embarrassed by the Prize. But Blacks on blogs are not a representative sample of the average Black person; three quarters of Black population believe that Obama deserved this prize. (h/t, JammieWearingFool.)

Crowder has talent as a satirist and is technically skilled as a musician; but his method is distracting. Rating: 2/54/5

UPDATE 10/27: Having done the research, I find that Crowder had the correct intuition about Black psychology - and I didn't. I apologise to him. I have boosted his video's rating accordingly. Crowder is, like Rush, raising an impolite truth. Satire is not supposed to be polite; it's just supposed to be accurate. That is what Crowder has accomplished here.

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posted by Zimri on 19:27 | link | 0 comments

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