Idolator Has Beef With MC Doozhbagg

Aug 21st, 2007 // 20 Comments

andy.jpgApparently Entertainment Weekly writer Michael Slezak has swapped bodies with Andy Rooney (a la Freaky Friday)–and apparently the magazine’s readership has been replaced with that of Reader’s Digest (ala the Folgers crystals challenge)–if this forehead-clenching mini-rant about grammar in popular music (and attendant fun-hating/wet blanket/cornball-ass comments section) is anything to go by. (I seriously think my internal organs cringed when I re-read the title.) Sure, we’ll poke fun at a habitual mangler of English like Courtney Love–which is Ulysses-level language fuckery compared to a piker like T-Pain–but spelling jokes? About hip-hop? In 2007? Yo Slezak, please feel free to hit us up with some au courant gags about Zubaz later on today. Yaddamean?

Nelly Has Beef With MC Dikshun Airy [Entertainment Weekly]

  1. Halfwit

    I didn’t write this, but I feel that it should be posted everywhere this article is discussed:

    junior Tue, Aug 21, 2007 at 09:25 AM EST

    Michael, I normally like your posts but you should have just titled this one “I don’t like how black artists manipulate the English language for artistic effect. They’re so stupid!” Don’t try to sneak in Fall Out Boy or Christina and think that’s gonna hide your vaguely racist tone. If you want all your music to have perfect grammar, don’t listen to these songs.

  2. PengIn

    Wow, that guy crammed so much stupid into such a tiny space that I think he created a black hole.

  3. Hyman Decent

    @Halfwit: Artistic effect? Oh, yeah, like they’re this generation’s e.e. cummings.

  4. The Mozfather

    @Hyman Decent: Uhm… well, they might be striving for that, if ee cummings was more than just a meh poet. Or maybe that’s the point?

    This is such a silly response to a silly post. So he doesn’t like atypical spelling in contemporary songs. Whatev. It was obvsly a joke (Slezak for prez?). I think the only fun-hating is coming down Idolator-way.

  5. Bazooka Tooth

    Oh yeah, it’s all racism and people who need to lighten up?
    I suggest anyone who disagrees with this article to actually teach a public high school English class, like me, where one might run into this:
    Q: What happens to Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet?
    Student A: He is deaded.

    Yes, ‘deaded’ is actually a word I saw in the classroom.
    Hip-hop IS ruining grammar and speaking,a nd unfortunately, that happens to be the music of choice for teens, no matter the race. And I found that, by far, my black students’ grammar was worse than all other groups.

  6. mackro

    BY AQUEMINI AT 12:48 PM
    Nothing against the site, or the editors, but does anyone who comes here really give a shit about teeny-bop R&B? Seriously, fuck this kid, and all the other whack ass eleventeen year olds putting out the crappiest music I can possibly imagine.

    I believe “whack ass” violates proper dictionary use.

  7. Dickdogfood

    @Aquemini:

    Yo, Mr. Non-sequitir! Care to explain how the statements “hip-hop is ruining grammar,” “hip-hop is the music choice of teens, no matter the race,” and “out of all of my students, the black ones had the worst grammar” relate to one another?

  8. Hyman Decent

    @mackro: Shouldn’t that be “wack-ass” (no h, hyphen)?

  9. Dickdogfood

    Really, now. I think if anything, the KOMPYOOTER serves as a much better scapegoat for any perceived decline in grammar and writerly coherence. Word processing makes smart people write too much, and overthink details while neglecting wholes. On the other side of the equation, texting, IMing, message boards, and e-mails encourage a kind of brevity that encourages people to type before they think.

  10. dippinkind

    @mackro: indeed, it should clearly be “wack ass”. Teachers these days…

    the funny thing to me about this whole discussion is that I see articles making almost exactly the same arguments in old magazines I collect from the 30′s-50′s, except they’re not talking about pop music they’re talking about comic books and cartoons – Krazy Kat, Popeye, Pogo, Tweety Bird, various “ethnic” dialogue spellings in true crime comics, etc. etc. etc. were all leading the kids down the path of misspellings and grammar hijinks towards juvenile delinquency and eventual destitution.

  11. Lucas Jensen

    Not to defend the current state of education, but one thing that people forget is that, back in the day (i.e. until the early 70s in the South), schools were segregated (and conditions in predominantly black schools were/still are much poorer) and the dropout rates at schools were above 50%. The dropout rate in the country is still alarming high, but a lot of students stay in school and are encouraged to do so that wouldn’t have done so before. I think Dippinkind is on the right track, though that kind of argument from tradition can lead itself to rationalization pretty quickly. There’s nothing wrong–ever–with good grammar, as it is–for better or worse–one of the ways society judges people (see Slezak’s article). If we use “things were bad back then, too!” arguments all of the time we fail to address serious fundamental flaws in our educational system, whether they be pedagogical (my suspicion–we teach grammar like we teach math, very turgidly) or socio-economic (schooling does not equal education, remember).

  12. okiedoke

    I do believe it’s really wackass. But that may be due to regional differences in how language evolves east and west of the continental divide. And the fact that I’m white.

  13. Halfwit

    @Hyman Decent: I believe you may be confusing it with the phrase “wiggedy-wack,” which indeed has a hyphen. I’m not sure if wack(-)ass should be hyphenated, though you could argue that, since “ass” is a modifier of the adjective “wack,” they should indeed be linked through the use of a hyphen.

    Whether at the level of ee cummings (though I agree with the “meh” assessment of his work), music – particularly African-American based music has always played fast and loose with grammar and structure in service of artistic expression. The problem isn’t that the kids are listening to this music, the problem is that they’re not learning to speak/write correctly in their daily lives.

    And on a more serious note… this many responses and no one picked up on “eleventeen”?

  14. PengIn

    According to Fulflej (who, based on their musical output I assume are experts), it’s “Wack-Ass”.

  15. dippinkind

    @Lucas Jensen: i wasn’t rally making an argument, just pointing out the parallels. i think my argument would be that when kids are exposed to standard grammar/spelling in a classroom and ‘creative’ grammar’spelling in the popular culture they consumethey historically seem able to differentiate between the two and understand the contexts in which one might be more appropriate than the other to employ. And if they are unable to make that distinction the problem lies more with the quality of the education they’re receiving rather than with the music they’re listening to or the comics they’re reading or whatever scapegoat is fashionable at the time.

  16. Lucas Jensen

    Am I the only one here who loves e.e.cummings? You can take your Ezra Pounds and T.S. Eliott…I’ve made my choice.

    @dippinkind: Agreed. I wasn’t trying to suggest that you were headed down a slippery slope. Just saying we should be watchful is all.

  17. dippinkind

    you’ve overlooked William Carlos Williams (aka “e.e. cummings for Adults”). Not to mention Ogden Nash…

  18. The Mozfather

    @Lucas Jensen: He’s okay. But if you are going after wordplay, why not strive to be this generation’s Joyce? And Pound sux and Eliot blows slightly. Wallace Stevens all the way, baby. Holla!

  19. Dickdogfood

    Christ.

    Well, at least you folks aren’t saying Bukowski. (Though I say yes to Stevens.)

  20. Lucas Jensen

    @dippinkind: Oh, I love William Carlos Williams. And I will defend cummings to the death. And I hate Joyce. There. I said it.

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