Herbert London: Michelle Obama And Political Correctness
For those who follow popular culture, the slide into debasement is palpable. From the f-bomb to pornographic exposure, America has become the land of anything goes. The once provincial, laced up nation, challenged by the liberal view of expression, has lost. Victorian notions of modesty are as outmoded as horse-drawn plows.
Recently an eleven-year-old tape of Donald Trump was aired in which he employed vulgar and uncouth language about women. It was inexcusable, notwithstanding the debasement in the culture. As one might guess, this matter became the focus of the Clinton campaign for president. First lady Michelle Obama said she was “shaken…to my core” by Trump’s comments and, alas she has a point.
However, if Trump’s lewd remarks are so meaningful, it is worth asking why she and the president have openly promoted rap “artists” who glorify misogyny, sexual objectification of women, date rape and cop killing. Kendrick Lamar was invited to the White House for President Obama’s 55th birthday party, the same Lamar who wrote “Bitch, Don’t Kill Me” and even raps about killing police officers. Another invitee, Rick Ross, glorifies date rape with lyrics, “Put molly all in her champagne | She ain’t even know it | I took her home and I enjoyed that | She ain’t even know it.” Molly, by the way, is slang for the date rape drug, Ecstasy.
Nicki Minaj, who often outdoes even the most vulgar of the rappers, has been invited to the White House with her husband despite lyrics such as “Make sure mama crawls on her knees keep him pleased rub him down be a lady and a freak.” This is the respectable side of Ms. Minaj.
Then there is the King and Queen of Rap, Jay Z and Beyoncé, who have been guests of the Obamas dozens of times. Jay Z in “Drunk in Love” wrote, “Slid the panties right to the side | Ain’t got time to take drawers off” and “We sex again in the morning, your breasteses is my breakfast.” This, by the way is the least profane of the lyrics.
The Queen of Rap – admired by the First Lady – wrote, “He popped all my buttons and ripped my blouse | He monica-lewinski’d all on my gown” and then adds, “Hand prints and good grips all on my ass.” And this is the part of her rap that can be printed without redaction.
The N word and sexually explicit lyrics are the calling card for rap. Mine is certainly not the first condemnation of this art form. Nor do I use it to excuse Trump’s coarse and crude language. What I cannot abide, however, is the sheer hypocrisy. If Trump has shaken the First Lady to her core for using the “p” word, then she must be shaken continually by the rap she and her daughters listen to which uses this vulgar expression repeatedly. At the risk of appearing incorrect, what is good for the goose should be good for the gander.
Is it possible Hillary’s husband gets a free ride for his indiscretions, but Donald Trump doesn’t? In 1994-5 when the story about President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky broke, many liberals would say dismissively, “well it’s just about sex.” Well isn’t the Trump vulgarity just about sex?
One dimension of the debasement in culture is the double standard. An average white person who uses the “n” word is ipso facto a racist; an African American rapper who uses the same word, very often in a negative context, is enlightened. The Media Control Police will determine if it is acceptable or beyond the pale.
But before Michelle Obama gets shaken any longer, I would suggest she read the lyrics of the best known rap songs with her daughters and compare what she reads to the ignorant indignities of Donald Trump. Which shakes her core more? Or is that core suffering from a severe case of political correctness?
Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries at www.londoncenter.org
The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.