Banning Everything (‘Cause Everything is Racist)

Flawed Design, Lax Oversight Led to 'Astounding' Miami Bridge Collapse -  The New York Times

Built with pride! And nothing else.

Way back when, I taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It was an engineering college then. Its graduates were expected to be able to design and build things that wouldn’t fall apart.

Now RPI has an “ethnomusicologist”–do you know what that is? does it have anything to do with engineering?–who has organized a major academic conference [groans offstage] to “explore” pop stars like Taylor Swift… and especially in regard to “the whiteness of her fans.” Am I wrong, or are these people starting to sound like Captain Ahab? Obsessed with killing the White Whale.

The conference will also probe how “country music facilitates reproduction of racial and gender inequalities” (https://www.thecollegefix.com/academic-conference-looks-critically-at-taylor-swifts-career-including-the-whiteness-of-her-fans/).

Well sheee-it! boys ‘n’ girls–that bridge you designed and built just collapsed with 200 cars on it, but so what? You’re clued into the whiteness of Taylor Swift’s fans! Really, what more could anybody ask in an engineer?

Damn, everything’s racist! You just can’t have any fun anymore! Gotta ban everything.

When are we going to have enough of this?

10 comments on “Banning Everything (‘Cause Everything is Racist)

  1. According to the latest edumacation theories, insisting that 2+2 must always equal 4 is racist.

    And what if that collapsed structure identified itself as a sidewalk instead of accepting its assigned identity as a bridge?

  2. No more black holes, no more white-outs, no more black-outs or Indian summers, and no more popsicles… that’s racist against all races that like pop music. I grew up in public schools, overall, all races were friends even if birds of a feather often do flock together. That does not mean we all don’t like each other. I cared dearly for friends of different races, I’m certain the feeling was mutual. But, colorful groups of friends doesn’t make for good headlines to the media. People are more tolerant of other races & lifestyles more now than before, but that’s not what we’re all hearing. The insanity continues

    1. Who do we contact, to where do we bi***, where does the stand-up to nutsness begin or become withstanding? Perhaps the paid ones of lunacy (they with brain matter) are watching the true responses of the masses through social media. Likewise, I am presumptuous in assumption that when there is a shift in reasoning skills (not to speak down on anyone, many are victims of the only news and peers in their lives) that is visible, there will be a slight alteration to mend the fence between logic & freedom vs. emotion & succumbing – until the short attention spans fester, the wisened generations die off, and there is hope for another wave of absolute control and brainwashing. How long, indeed, where is the fix?

  3. I agree with Dawn. I live in the South and I do not see systemic racism. I don’t see any racism. And I don’t hear much about it because I get all my news from Christian sources (except our local TV news whose half hour program is mostly taken up with Covid & vaccines which I fast – forward).

  4. So let me get this right. If a Caucasian plays the Blues, that’s cultural appropriation, but if a Caucasian plays music from their own culture, that’s racist; am I right about this?

    Racism, is by definition, assigning behavioral traits to someone based upon their genetic origins. If I were to say that all southerners of Scottish ancestry were hillbillies that made moonshine and had feuds with neighboring clans, that would be racist, by definition. Ok, fair enough, we shouldn’t expect that being from any specific ethnic origin would prevent them from achieving what they wanted to achieve, based upon their own individual merits as a person and upon their own personal determination. It would be negative stereotyping to state that all persons from a specific ethnicity should never be doctors, and I’m completely on board with that. We are, always have been, and always will be individuals, and it is morally reprehensible to pre-judge someone by their ethnic background.

    So, if Taylor Swift sings about her culture, her life and her interests, and people of a similar background enjoy that music, that is somehow wrong?! Living in the desert southwest, if I wrote a song about seeing roadrunners out my window, would that be somehow unfair to people that live where there are no roadrunners to watch? What if the motive for writing the song was to share the experience?

    Is that somehow wrong? I grew up in the landlocked Midwest and West of the US. When I was 6 or 7 years old, we used to hear songs on the radio about surfing and hot rods in Southern California. Now that was about as far from our experience as could be, with regard to surfing, but we loved listening to that music. It took us someplace new and exciting. Wow! Surfing and hot rods and tricked out old station wagons called woodies. None of that was happening where I lived, but it was sure fun to listen to, and even more so when it was cold and miserable outside. But according to the mindset that some of these people have, The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean were mistreating us, by singing about a highly idealized version of life in Southern California. Even worse, they hypnotized us into buying their records, against our will! 🙂 Give me a break! That is utter nonsense and even when I was 7 years old, you couldn’t force music upon me, it had to resonate with something within me, in order for it to be interesting.

    And that’s what music does. Music can draw us together, because the emotions one person feels are usually relatable to others, from a variety of backgrounds. British youth, born during WW II, found Delta Blues very compelling and … they played it themselves, adding their own character to it. They didn’t steal something, and in fact the sales of these recordings directly benefitted the original artists, by stimulating interest in their original works. Beyond that, the owners of those songs received massive royalties in the form of Mechanical Rights fees, which are paid to the legal publisher (owner) of the song, by anyone whose records a song they didn’t compose themselves.

    So here’s a perfect example of how material from one ethnic source can help in seeing the common ground we all share. The Delta Blues artists came from a tough life of poverty and sang about their lives. British youth growing up in the harsh conditions of postwar shortages and poverty related to that found Delta Blues to fit with their world. A documentary on the Blues, which involved interviews with a number of these original bluesmen, had the common thread that the British Blues craze of the ‘60s reinvigorated their music and made it more marketable. Sorry, but I don’t see how anyone lost anything in this phenomenon.

    I actually find ethnomusicology to be an interesting subject. Music has some very interesting threads which connect people from all over the world. There’s a wonderful young lady in Korea that plays American Rock on a traditional Korean instrument that is mostly a Zither, but has some commonality with a steel guitar and a sitar. It’s wonderful! In various European countries, especially the Balkans, the Surf music of the early 1960s is quite popular and it’s great to hear the recordings they make, with Hungarian minor scales that they bring from their own music. Likewise, in Scandinavia, they play modernized Polkas, which sounds like a Polka being played by a rock n’ roll band. It’s actually a lot of fun. Don’t even get me started about the beauty of the music of Japan, but it’s fascinating that the Japanese absolutely loved the Ventures, a band of Americans that played instrumental rock n’ roll.

    Using music as a wedge between peoples is unconscionable.

Leave a Reply