Outrage Flares As Michelle Obama Invites Common To White House To Read Poetry
Even though it’s 2011, we’re still litigating whether rap music in and of itself is a societal corrosive or an artistic expression that channels raw experience and expurgates emotions in the form of a catharsis. It’s really the old Plato versus Aristotle rap battles over the artistic merits of tragedy — at least we can dance to it, so there’s that.
But the news today is that Michelle Obama is having some poets over to the White House to read some poetry, and that one of those poets is Chicago rapper Common, and OH MY GOD did you know he’s rapped about violence? It’s true, and the Daily Caller is beefing about it.
As always, it’s important to remember how stories like this come together. Some political figure likes some artist. If the artist is worth his or her salt, then chances he or she has probably done something outre or controversial. And, wow, a rapper? That means there’s probably a chance here, to anger up the anger-prone, and manufacture some ire, and suggest that art or music was much more refined and non-controversial back in the 1950s or something.
Of course, Common is a pretty hard sell when it comes to striking the right divisive note, and while the Daily Caller could have mined his most recent album Universal Mind Control, for some dirty-ass songs that encourage some athletic sexual activity, it doesn’t really contain the short, sharp shock of those gangsta rap classics about running drugs and capping police officers. But they dug and dug, and found an example of what they’re looking for, in the form of a poem called “A Letter To The Law”:
In my opinion, Michelle couldn’t have invited a more talented and intelligent artist than Common. I’ve been listening to his music for years, and it’s on a completely different level than most hip-hop. Here’s one of my favorite songs by him.