Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – This Unruly Mess I’ve Made

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Both Social Justice Warriors and the people who hate them are panic-starters. Confirmation bias is their religion, and it’s hard to find the truth between all the bullshit. It’s hard to find where racism is truly a problem, and not just a normal case where a black person didn’t get what they want. It’s hard to tell the difference between the actual damage SJW’s do, or paranoia.

Macklemore’s second album makes it easy. SJW’s ruined this rapper. What used to be a confident, inventive and versatile rapper is now a doormat. “White Privilege II” is the centerpiece of the album. Way before you hear it, Macklemore’s crippling guilt over rapping while white cripples the album.

That song is easily one of the worst abominations commited to audio. You need to make songs about raping women and killing ‘damn niggers’ to make something worse. Actually, rappers have done songs about raping women and got acclaim for it.

Where to start with such a trainwreck? It ends with a woman singing about Hip-Hop like it’s some sort of ideal. Maybe she should look to Ice Cube or Eazy-E or Phife Dawg, highly acclaimed rappers who made sure to let us know how terrible women are. Women praising Hip-Hip is one of the most hilarious things ever. I can enjoy plenty of misogynistic music, but it doesn’t make it right.

In fact, “White Privilege II” proves something more terrible than white people rapping. Okay, so some dudes have a wacky entitlement complex and think their phenotypes mean they ‘own a culture’. Still, why are the only living artists Macklemore attacks are women? Why is Miley Cyrus twerking worse than those hundreds of videos and songs about ‘hoes’ and ‘gold diggers’, where women are just decorations in a video? Don’t criticize people for not wanting to listen to objecitifcation of women. It doesn’t matter how oppressed you are. Misogyny cannot be justified.

But Macklemore is concerned with not looking racist. Since we’re dealing with appearances, we can sacrifice other groups for our image. That’s why we bend over backwards to make sure people won’t criticize Islam. So Macklemore is angry over white people rapping and exploitating the precious culture that gave us songs like “A Bitch Iz a Bitch”. I’m not saying that racism doesn’t exist, or shouldn’t be talked about. Just don’t be a total moron about it (It’s no “The Blacker the Berry”, a song that gives the oppressed a voice, makes us understand what it feels like). Delivering coherent ideas in music is hard, but when you’re that pretentious is impossible. Hip-Hop is not holy. No one is entitled to Hip-Hop. Don’t tell me how Hip-Hop was for the ‘oppressed’ when misogyny and homophobia are all over the place.

Oh, and Macklemore had fantastic black singers on “Can’t Hold Us” and “Thrift Shop”. So no, Macklemore, your white skin didn’t help you. These black singers did.

Enough about that song, though. For a while, the album hints it might be good. “Light Tunnels” is actually very good. Apologizing to Kendrick Lamar was retarded, but it’s an ambitious song that could only come out of a Kanye-esque narcisstic mind. Then again, whining about fame is narcissitic unless you got psychological insight. The song stretches for 6 minutes, changing the beat constantly but still keeping a hook. It’s an epic, attention-grabbing opener. Macklemore still sounds inconfident in it, but at least it sees him looking forward and trying ridiculous but interesting ideas.

“Downtown” may be an obvious sequel to “Thrift Shop” but it’s a fun one. The aggressive shout-rap is a nice throwback. In truth, the only way it’s a sequel to that song is in concept. It’s a silly rap song driven by a hook that still pushes the music forward. The duo aren’t without talent, they’re just crippled by white guilt and over-seriousness.

The album drops in quality more and more as it goes on. It never becomes offensive until “White Privilege II” and sometimes it rises. Mostly though, it’s so subdued. Nothing about is particularly different from The Heist in musical terms. The songs switch from serious to fun, to a mix of the two. The musical backdrop is experimental and accessible at the same time (“St. Ides” has a beautiful beat). Both hooks and lyrics are important, but this Macklemore always sounds self-aware this time around.

Even when Macklemore was serious and cheesy, he sounded honest. He might’ve sounded ignorant, but he sounded like he genuinaly cared. “Neon Cathedral” worked. “Growing Up” and “Kevin” don’t. It’s as if Macklemore knows this is what’s expected of him. The fun tracks are where this is most apparent. “Brad Pitt’s Cousin” and “Dance Off” lack any sense of joy, or any hook. Macklemore sounds particularly depressed on the former, referencing Deez Nuts (meme, not the band) in some silly effort to inject silliness. Now, if Macklemore deliberately wrote a song about trying to lift his depression in a party, it’d be brilliant. His voice is light-hearted and sounds odd in serious songs, so it’ll be ideal for a song like this one. Instead, Macklemore sounds like he doesn’t really want to make music.

The line “I don’t like who I am in this environment” in the opener is telling. Both parties rarely sound like they want to make this music. Ryan Lewis has cool ideas and a diverse palette, but the beats aren’t attention-grabbing like before. He never takes the ideas to their extreme conclusions. “Need to Know” barely has a beat, as if minimalism is a virtue in and of itself. “Dance Off” is utterly pathetic. It’s a banger with no drums and no basslines. You can only tell it’s a dance song because someone screams about getting down on the floor.

If Macklemore truly thinks white females are ruining Hip-Hop, then he’s a hypocrite. If he just thinks white people are exploiting the culture (No mention of Apathy or El-P or Eminem or Mike Shinoda though), then don’t rap. Don’t rap especially if you don’t feel like it. Even when you leave out the abomination that is “White Privilege II”, it’s a tired album by two people who just don’t want to make that music.

2 popped tags out of 5

Rape is Beautiful: Dismantling a Crazy Idea

A true test of intelligence is how well you can handle a crazy idea. Calling a statement ‘crazy’ or ‘stupid’ is easy, but the obviousness can make us think we already know why. Without basis, without understanding why a statement is stupid, it’s all just name-calling. If an idea is so obviously wrong, it will take minimal effort to point out the holes. It’s not necessary to go through the emotional turmoil

Rape is beautiful, according to Kurcaba

Actually, that title is a bait. His statement doesn’t say that rape, in and of itself is beautiful. Rather, he thinks that it’s beautiful that a child could come out of it. He thinks that pregnancy is some sort of silver lining.

I find rape to be one of the most terrible things you can do to another human being. Me and Kurcaba don’t really disagree here. You might be able to salvage a discussion over his usage of the word ‘awful’, but there’s no need to create targets when they’re here.

Kurcaba’s view doesn’t stem from misogyny. It probably stems from a deep convinction of natalism. He views childbirth as something so positive that even if it’s caused by rape, it’s a good thing.

Sadly, this was only a line. I don’t know why exactly Kurcaba thinks that. Maybe he’s well-versed in natalist philosophy, or maybe he just takes it for granted. Either way, I disagree with him.

First off, you do not ‘give’ birth. You force it. The baby isn’t given the option of refusing. Even if he grows up, he doesn’t have the option of euthanasia – suicide is still viewed as irrational and something that must be prevented. If you value consent, then birth isn’t something you should value.

Then again, you have to exist first in order to consent. So let’s go from the position it’s okay to give birth, but is it always moral and good? Isn’t giving birth to a child when you can’t raise him, is basically throwing a child to suffering?

Even worse is when the child is the product of rape. The women is not necessarily ready to raise a child. She could be in a position in life that’s not friendly to children, like high school. Second, she will still suffer from the trauma. Third, the child will be a stronger reminder of the rapist.

It will hurt both the child and the woman. The woman will have extra work, on top of facing all the emotional baggage of being raped. The child will be with a mother who’s in a position very, very far from capable of raising a child.

There can always be exceptions, sure, but all signs point that a bith out of rape is a bad idea. It’s not a chance worth taking.

Manspreading

I told a friend that men spreading their legs on public transportation
became a recent feminist issue. He laughed. He wasn’t drunk, but you’d be
forgive for thinking he downed a pint or two of Maredsous. The silliness of
focusing on Manspreading is easy to point out. Still, tackling crazy idea is
a fun and challenging thing to do. No matter how crazy an idea is, an
emotional, “That’s so stupid!” reaction is never valid. Intelligence is
tested when you’re confronting stupidity.

I know this paragraph is full of implication that the Manspreading debate is
stupid, but bear with me.

In a previous post, I said that something becomes a feminist issue when it
targets women. Manspreading cannot be a feminist issue. No matter how many
people Manspread, it will target women specifically. It’s a rude behavior,
just like talking loudly with your friends or blasting unoriginal Death
Metal through your phone speakers (1). However, no one is targeted
specifically. A person who Manspreads will annoy a fellow man just as it
will annoy a woman.

Not only is Manspreading not a feminist issue, it’s a fairly misandrist
term.

It’s definitely a sexist term. Sexism is giving a different treatment based
on sex. You give men a special treatment by attributing this behavior
specifically to them in the word itself.

This is not the same case with rape. A lot of discussion about rape talk
about man-on-woman rape, which is valid because they tend to back it up with
statistics. It’s also valid to worry more about the persecution and violence
that’s targeting your group. However, the word itself isn’t sexist. You can
only know if the rape in discussion is commited only by men by context. The
word ‘Manspreading’ implies it’s a behavior that’s unique to men.

This would only be valid if Manspreading can only be done by males. Women
can also spread. There’s nothing preventing women from doing it, not even a
few funny looks. Some mentioned that women who get on public transportation
with plenty of shopping bags are also taking up space. Isn’t that a
stereotype, saying women are such shopaholics?

Sitting with your legs spread when the train is full is rude behavior.
Sitting with your legs spread when the train isn’t full is logical, because
why sit uncomfortably when no one’s there?

I’m not sure what to make of ‘it’s a sign of male dominance’. Let’s assume
it is. Let’s say that in a patriarchy, men will feel much more comfortable
taking up space. How exactly is focusing on that going to solve the problem?
It reads like a symptom, but not the disease itself.

As for the “Men Taking Up 2 Much Space” tumblr, it’s a very ugly blog that
should be named and shamed. There’s rude behavior and there’s immoral
behavior. People taking up too much space is annoying, but you feel the need
to shame these people, who doesn’t deserve to be shamed? Where do we draw
the line? Good friends have done to me things much worse than this. I did
things much worse than this. None of it was that bad.

Feminists should throw that debate in the trash bin. There enough serious
women’s issues. By focusing on petty things that are unrelated to your
cause, you end up being caricature of yourself.

Manspreading appeared on The Daily Show. It’s awful. It’s really awful. Stewart can’t see the absurdity of paying so much attention to just some rude behavior on public transportation. All it does is create a straw man and punch it. It doesn’t say anything, other than “These men are whining”. If you’re putting a lot of effort in making sure people don’t spread their legs, if this really bothers you, maybe you need a little self-criticism.

 

(1) It’s bad more because Death Metal is not a very good genre of music. If
you blast music I like, then it’s okay.

Calling Out on Thunderf00t’s bullshit

Anita Sarkeesian’s video series, “Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games” is great. It’s like a feminist version of Jerry Mender’s Four Arguments only for video games, and without dismissing the entire medium. Sadly, there are a lot of nonsense out there disguising itself as a ‘response’ of some sort to the video series. Thunderfoot’s is popular. It’s also pretty long and very, very serious.

I can go off like Thunderfoot and start calling him idiot and repeat “Look how ridiculous this is!” without end, but that would be wrong. I would also look ridiculous.

Why Feminism poisons EVERYTHING

The first thing we see is the ‘face of feminist atheism’ throwing a sexist insult at an unnamed male atheist. I call this joke sexist because it deals specifically with the target’s sexuality. I fail to see, however, how this backs up Thunderfoot’s argument. Show me a single feminist who says something stupid, and all I can conclude is that Watson said something really stupid. He later shows more example of ‘bad feminists’, but they don’t hold up. He also says it was directed at the “entire male atheist audience.” Sure, a single insult directed at a single person is an attack on entire audience.

Anita Sarkeesian appears in about 1:23 into the video, and is accused of lying 1:46. His evidence of her lying is one instance where Anita shows a picture of her playing Super Mario, saying she has “been playing game for quite a while”. Then there is a video where she introduces her project, saying, “This is a fandom. I’m not a fan of video games. I had to learn a lot about video games while doing this,” and “I’d love to play video games, but I don’t want to go around shooting people, ripping off people’s heads, that’s gross.”

Playing video games and being a part of the fandom are not the same thing. There are people who listen to the band’s hits, and people who buy merchandise and go to shows. Yes, that means she has less knowledge of video games. That’s why she also she says she needs to learn a lot about them. She drops a lot of names in her videos, so she probably did her learning. As for the second quote, it says Anita isn’t really into the aesthetics of violence. She probably won’t see what’s the big deal with John Woo. That’s okay.

Thunderfoot uses the second quote to ask, “Why does sexism in video games bothers Anita, while violence doesn’t?”. Violence in video games and women in video games are two different issues. Anita focuses on the latter, and her videos never pretend to be some sort of general analysis of all aspects of video games. As I said, it’s Four Arguments, only from a solely feminist perspective. That’s not minimizing other issues. They’re just off topic.

The ‘video games influence people’ topic appears about 3 minutes into it. Thunderfoot’s interprets Anita’s saying (“Video games help shape our society by challenging or reinforcing existing values, beliefs and behaviors”) as: A video game teaches exactly what the character does. His examples: Left 4 Dead teaches people to survive the zombie the apocalypse, Assassin’s Creed teaching people it’s okay to assassinate for the guild, and Call 4 Duty teaches to solve problems using a headshot.

This is not a strawman. This not understanding the basic idea of ‘imagery influence people. If he read serious writers on this topic, like Neil Postman or Jerry Mender he’d know that the influence is not obvioua, monkey-see-monkey-do thing (Sometimes, it is). I admit I have not read all of this, but notice how it refers to “aggressive behavior”, and the final paragraphs, which offer conclusion, do not speak of specific acts (Unlike Thunderfoot), but general aggressive behavior or thoughts. If this is anything to go by, video games do have some sort of effect. I don’t really know what’s with the GTA guy though.

Anita didn’t bring evidence regarding this idea, true, but the purpose of her videos is to analyze women’s representation in video games, not the influence of video games in society. She only talked about the impact on the real world in general terms. Yes, it would’ve been better if she had a study or something, but even great people sometimes make mistakes.

Thunderfoot goes off on the “What’s your priority?” yet again, missing what I pointed above, while using murder statistics to prove “video games have no effect on reality”. I refer to the study I linked to yet again, which talked about “aggresive behavior”, not killing people. Killing people is merely one act of violence. So video games don’t influence the murder statistics, but that’s not it. Also, Anita doesn’t talk about “saving this [Peach from Mario] princess”, she talks about how much this trope appears.

(According to Thunderfoot’s graph, murders had a peak somewhere around after 1990. Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, and Quake were all released from 1992 to 1996, but no matter).

Around 4:58, I get told that “It would be hard for Anita to play the victim when all she has is not liking these first persons shooters” (Not the exact quote). I don’t see how Anita not liking violent video games somehow makes her argument less valid. Violence against women isn’t the only thing she talks about. Thunderfoot himself shows us she also talks about the damsel in distress.

TIME OFF FOR FUN: A comment by “Cynthia King” criticizes Anita for wearing beauty enhancing products while talking about serialization in video games. By addressing this, Cynthia King distracts us from the much more serious problem: None of Anita’s videos contains a well-placed bass drop.

If Thunderfoot actually paid attention during Anita’s videos, he would know that she’s not on a crusade against FPS games. It takes a while before FPS games even appear.

Anita’s “These games are made by men, for men, and if girls are want to participate they need to shut up.”

This isn’t the best phrasing of that idea, but like I said great people sometimes make mistakes. Anita talks about the exclusion, the whole idea of boys-only. Thunderfoot counters it by going to ‘Games2Girls’, and says that according to her logic that site is sexist because it doesn’t feature a random FPS in the middle of ‘puzzle games for girls’. Let’s forget that he still thinks this is only about FPS’s, but that Anita would probably think that a ‘Games2Girls’ site is also wrong. Never in her videos did she ask for games only for girls. She only asked for games which are not dominated by males, and her examples of what does it right are, among them: Beyond Good and Evil, To The Moon, Papo & Yo. Watch her videos for the details, but the gist of her argument is that these games are only male-targeted, reject the female voice and thus reject a whole audience which is interested in them*.

6:38 – Here comes more of, “She’s a liar because she’s not a real gamer!”

Madonna appears as an example of women who disassociate themselves from feminism because of “those who vocally associate themselves with feminism”. Considering how much bullshit I found in Thunderfoot’s video, I’d say the feminists are doing much better. Watson’s stupid comment is nothing compared to all of this.

There’s more – here comes the examples of why feminism is so bad:

– A woman saying “If you’re not a feminist, then you’re a bigot. There’s nothing in between”. I think she creates her a false dilemma, but I can see her logic. I’d say she’s wrong, but it’s not total bullshit.

– The snippet with the red-haired one is a mess. She seems pissed off, but it’s also implied the guy was interrupting her reading. I have no idea what to make of this. Maybe he really acted like an asshole. Maybe she needs anger management. This says nothing.

– A woman telling me there is a school of art that focuses on the female body parts. No opinion is expressed here. “Focusing on body parts” doesn’t tell me anything. She might as well have said that a lot of party songs are about going to a party and probably find someone to have sex with.

– Anita making a bold statement about women being “oppressed all the time”. Thunderfoot cuts off before giving her a chance to present anything.

– A woman talking about how ‘bitch’ is an insult based on gender. ‘Bitch’ also means female dog, and is used casually when referred to women sometimes not an insult. Female rappers commonly call themselves bitches (Trina had an album “Da Baddest Bitch”). Talking about this word can be a pretty good idea. Nothing wrong here.

– Anita calling something “Choose Your Own Patriarchal Porno Fantasy”. Thunderfoot doesn’t show us what it is. I AM DYING TO KNOW.

Wikipedia makes a wild apperance in 8:20. Feminists claim Wikipedia is biased, and Thunderfoot claims their evidence is that ‘they say so’. No evidence of that appears. What does appear, though, is the “Are Women Weaker Than Man?” thing. I agree women and men are structured differently, but what we do with this difference, and when exactly it is relevant, is what matters.

Dividing the Olympics makes sense, just as dividing wrestling according to weight. I’m not a biology expert, so feel free to tell me more. The Olympics merely acknowledge a difference exists, but not that one is worse than the other, or something.

He dismisses a study (book) solely because it is described as ‘feminist’. I’m serious. The book describes itself as feminist, therefore it is invalid and he will not even bother to read it. The studies he does think are okay talk about a very small part of the human body. Grip and elbow muscles are not the only things that make up strength.

Anita should have brought evidence, true, but even if the premise “Women are generally weaker than men” is true, it wouldn’t undermine Anita’s project (To show how prevalent sexism is in video games, and explain why it’s problematic).

Thunderfoot has more videos against Anita. I watched another one, which was also filled with bullshit, but that’s for a later post. Thunderfoot, like a lot of others who don’t agree with Sarkeesian, completely miss the point. You’d think such a well-thought video series would start an interesting and engaging dialogue. I don’t agree with everything Anita says, but nevertheless she says a lot of interesting things and this sort of critical thinking is what video games need to progress.