Category Archives: pop stars

Why should anyone take any notice of what such people say?

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-21-55-48The question of intellectual and moral authority, writes Dalrymple,

is an important one. I mean the authority that derives from thought or knowledge that is out of the ordinary.

Dalrymple supposes that

all ages have had their charlatans, and in no age has credence been placed in what someone says precisely in proportion to his real authority to say it. Is there anyone who has never been taken in by false credentials or by a bogus air of competence and knowledge? As a doctor I have often exuded a confidence to my patients that I by no means felt. Having been seriously ill myself, however, I know only too well that the last thing a patient wants is a Dr Hamlet, scrupulously doubting the veracity of his own opinion.

The attention given to the opinions of people from the world of entertainment—essentially actors and pop stars—irritates Dalrymple.

Actors strike me as unlikely gurus because those who spend their lives imitating others are unlikely to have firm principles or even personalities of their own. In practice, moreover, the opinions of actors and pop stars are drearily uniform: when it comes to bad things that might cause suffering, they are always against them.

He cannot imagine

why anyone should take any notice of what such people say—except, of course, that being kept constantly entertained is the main purpose of many people’s lives, and they naturally assume that those who entertain them are therefore of immense importance and authority. At any rate, this must be the premise on which the news media report that rock guitarist A wants to save the whales, and actor B is worried about the fate of children in Burkina Faso (formerly the Upper Volta).

Such people

have as much right to their opinions as anyone else, but the deference given them by the publicity they receive is rather odd. It is a bit like the publicity given more than a century ago to the testimonials of aristocrats about the value of patent medicines, as if a hereditary title conferred special insight into the pharmacology of bowel movements.

Flattery of degraded popular taste

Why, asks Dalrymple, should

a newspaper directed at the [apparently] most highly educated portion of a large population devote so much space to the posthumous adulation of [a second-rate, repellently self-aggrandising] pop singer, and treat his activity with such breathlessly awed veneration? Was it sincere? Was it insincere? Is it worse if it was sincere than if it was insincere?

He suspects that

in the extravagance of the coverage there is an element of flattery of the popular taste, that is to say a willing and dishonest suspension of judgment. You can criticise authorities all you like, but when it comes to criticising masses of ordinary people—there the critical faculty must halt.

Fuck Tha Police

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 07.38.38Dalrymple reports that this

charming little ballad,

performed by the gangsta rap group Niggaz With Attitude, is one of UK finance minister George Osborne’s favourites. It contains lines, says Dalrymple, that are

beautifully expressed and just the right message for the black youth of Los Angeles.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 07.48.53Here are the lyrics:

Right about now NWA court is in full effect.
Judge Dre presiding in the case of NWA versus the police department.
Prosecuting attorneys are MC Ren Ice Cube and Eazy motheruckin’ E.
Order order order. Ice Cube take the motherfuckin’ stand.
Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth
and nothin but the truth so help your black arse?

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 07.36.41Why don’t you tell everybody what the fuck you gotta say?

Fuck tha police
Comin’ straight from the underground
Young nigga got it bad ’cause I’m brown
And not the other colour so police think
They have the authority to kill a minority

Attitude

Attitude

Fuck that shit, ’cause I ain’t tha one
For a punk motherfucka with a badge and a gun
To be beatin’ on, and throwin’ in jail
We could go toe to toe in the middle of a cell

Fuckin’ with me ’cause I’m a teenager
With a little bit of gold and a pager
Searchin’ my car, lookin’ for the product
Thinkin’ every nigga is sellin narcotics

You’d rather see me in the pen
Then me and Lorenzo rollin’ in the Benzo
Beat tha police outta shape
And when I’m finished, bring the yellow tape
To tape off the scene of the slaughter
Still gettin’ swoll off bread and water

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 07.53.55I don’t know if they fags or what
Search a nigga down and grabbin’ his nuts
And on the other hand, without a gun they can’t get none
But don’t let it be a black and a white one
’cause they slam ya down to the street top
Black police showin’ out for the white cop

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 07.52.16Ice Cube will swarm
On any motherfucka in a blue uniform
Just ’cause I’m from the CPT, punk police are afraid of me
A young nigga on a warpath
And when I’m finished, it’s gonna be a bloodbath
Of cops, dyin’ in LA
Yo Dre, I got somethin’ to say

Fuck the police. Fuck the police. Fuck the police. Fuck the police.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 07.53.32M.C. Ren, will you please give your testimony to the jury about this fucked-up incident.

Fuck tha police and Ren said it with authority
because the niggaz on the street is a majority.
A gang is with whoever I’m stepping
and the mutherfuckin’ weapon
is kept in a stash box, for the so-called law
wishin’ Ren was a nigga that they never saw

Lights start flashin’ behind me
But they’re scared of a nigga so they mace me to blind me
But that shit don’t work, I just laugh
Because it gives ’em a hint not to step in my path

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 07.58.10To the police I’m sayin’ fuck you punk
Readin’ my rights and shit, it’s all junk
Pullin’ out a silly club, so you stand
With a fake-arsed badge and a gun in your hand

But take off the gun so you can see what’s up
And we’ll go at it punk, I’m a fuck you up

Make ya think I’m a kick your ass
But drop your gat, and Ren’s gonna blast
I’m sneaky as fuck when it comes to crime
But I’m a smoke ’em now, and not next time

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 07.59.37Smoke any motherfucka that sweats me
Or any asshole that threatens me
I’m a sniper with a hell of a scope
Takin’ out a cop or two, they can’t cope with me

The motherfuckin’ villain that’s mad
With potential to get bad as fuck
So I’m a turn it around
Put in my clip, yo, and this is the sound
Ya, somethin’ like that, but it all depends on the size of the gat

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 07.58.21Takin’ out a police would make my day
But a nigga like Ren don’t give a fuck to say

Fuck the police. Fuck the police. Fuck the police. Fuck the police.

Police, open now. We have a warrant for Eazy-E’s arrest.
Get down and put your hands up where I can see ’em.
Just shut the fuck up and get your motherfuckin’ arse on the floor.

and tell the jury how you feel abou this bullshit.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 07.58.53I’m tired of the motherfuckin’ jackin
Sweatin’ my gang while I’m chillin in the shackin’
Shining tha light in my face, and for what?
Maybe it’s because I kick so much butt

I kick arse, or maybe ’cause I blast
On a stupid-arsed nigga when I’m playin’ with the trigga
Of any Uzi or an AK
’cause the police always got somethin’ stupid to say

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 08.04.44They put up my picture with silence
’cause my identity by itself causes violence
The E with the criminal behavior
Yeah, I’m a gangsta, but still I got flavour

Without a gun and a badge, what do ya got?
A sucka in a uniform waitin’ to get shot,
By me, or another nigga.
and with a gat it don’t matter if he’s smarter or bigger
M.C. Ren: Sidle him, kid, he’s from the old school, fool

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 08.03.22And as you all know, E’s here to rule
Whenever I’m rollin, keep lookin’ in the mirror
And there’s no cue, yo, so I can hear a
Dumb motherfucka with a gun

And if I’m rollin’ off the 8, he’ll be tha one
That I take out, and then get away
And while I’m drivin’ off laughin’
This is what I’ll say

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 08.05.10Fuck the police. Fuck the police. Fuck the police. Fuck the police.

The jury has found you guilty of bein’ a redneck,
whitebread, chickenshit motherfucka.
Wait, that’s a lie. That’s a goddamn lie.
I want justice! I want justice!
Fuck you, you black motherfucka!

Fuck the police. Fuck the police. Fuck the police.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 08.03.39

Ugliness, be thou my beauty

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 09.05.43The squalor and degradation that is Western popular culture

Two windows on the sordor:

  • obituaries of pop stars in the newspaper
  • a walk in the street

Pop stars, writes Dalrymple, fall into two groups:

  1. those who retire into the life of the squirearchy, the pleasures of whose kind of life they have done so much to destroy for others
  2. those who die young

There is nothing like the sordid for getting ahead

Romantics view self-destructive behaviour

as the sign of a great soul.

De Quincey wrote:

Pain driven to agony, or grief driven to frenzy, is essential to the ventilation of profound natures.

But, Dalrymple points out,

it is an elementary error of logic to suppose that, because profound natures ventilate agonised frenzy, those who ventilate agonised frenzy have profound natures.

Take punk. Its ‘ethic’ consists, explains Dalrymple, of

an utterly conformist non-conformity and an insensate individualism without individuality, allied to brutal and deliberate bad taste.

Self-harm

For instance,

to inflict a serious injury on yourself (which you then require others to repair for you, at their expense) in order to prove that you are genuinely committed to bad taste, ugliness, a rejection of everything that could possibly make life worth living, and to a celebration of ‘alienation, boredom and despair’ does not seem to me to be meritorious in any way. The alienation, boredom and despair are the consequence of a combination of laziness and impatient ambition, rather than the consequence of an ‘objective’ situation, and represent an impossible demand for achievement without concomitant effort.

Rage

Dalrymple says:

I feel a certain rage at the culture that we have created, and a certain guilt that I have not fought against it with all my heart and soul, to the best of my ability. It is a culture that can produce lines — and mean them, that is what is terrible — such as the following from one of Richey Edwards‘ songs (as Mozart took dictation from God, so he took dictation from the Zeitgeist):

I hate purity. Hate goodness. I don’t want virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone corrupt.