In our numbed reactions to constant mass shootings we’re pulled into tracking which ideological side has produced more homicidal maniacs. Our wish to absolve ourselves of responsibility hints that we’re feeling it in some way. The inkling of collective guilt we get when confronted by news of horrific violence isn’t right on exactly, but it shouldn’t be dismissed. It’s a complement to empathy. We wish we could do something. At the same time we unconsciously wonder at what we did. Unexamined and then repressed this anxiety may, in turn, devolve to a less than humane rush to determine a shooter’s race or politics—a habit of mind we’d all be better off ditching.
The figure of Slim Shady haunts the moldering corridors of the Midwest. In every town you’ll meet them–tall, pale young men in hoodies on the margins of the mainstream economy. They roam the busted landscape of blue-collar America, enacting private sagas of self-destruction in search of some lost myth of unsullied masculinity.
The kind of fundamentalist school I went to churns out two kinds of individuals: super-Christians—with gleaming smiles surgically implanted on their faces—and drug addicts. I’m exaggerating, of course, but only slightly.
Out in the Midwest, the Default don’t provide much connection to Black Culture. The barrier’s mostly cultural I’ll admit, but I’d like to suggest the geographical plays a part as well. Bumping bass amidst corn fields and moldering barns just feels mostly lonely. To “get” hip-hop you really got to put some work in.
Donald Trump is the greatest Rapper of all time. He’s the G.O.A.T. precisely because he doesn’t even have to rap. “Well, how then is he a rapper? It says here in Webster’s…” I don’t mean to be a tease. And please don’t assume I’m suggesting that he’s a rapper chiefly due to his misogyny or his nasty language. But, to move forward, let’s go back a bit…
I remember as a kid, aged eight or nine, watching The Apprentice on TV with my mom. I went to a Christian school (fundamentalist Baptist), so it seemed like something we weren’t supposed to be watching, but who doesn’t have their harmless little sins?
Angry Young Men—today the concept in its simplicity seems quaint, almost charming. Among millennials, there’s an underground subset of young males wrecked amidst the storms of self-creation and signification. The internet is now nearly the exclusive domain of social and cultural life. For many born without memory of life before the web, there burn weird heart-fires of grievance and resentment, imbued with the alien green hue of nocturnal computer monitors. How to forge an identity out of an endless succession of ironic poses?