All of us have a desire to transcend our surroundings. To become carried away by ideas seems like a pretty universal desire. And when you live in a neighborhood where there are bad people who’ll do bad things to you, then rap is an appealing way to transcend your surroundings.
However, I came across an argument in Robert Bork’s book that uses rap as a sign of cultural decadence.
Here it is:
“The distance and direction popular culture has travelled in less than one lifetime…
from these wholesome lyrics:
“Oh, but you’re lovely
And your cheek so soft
There is nothing for me but to love you,
Just the way you look tonight”
The Way You Look Tonight
With the decadence of Snoop Dog lyrics in Horny:
“I called you up for some sexual healing
I’m callin’ again so let me come get it
Bring the lotion so I can rub you
Assume the position so I can f… you.”
…gives some idea of how rapidly popular culture is sinking into barbarism.”
The culture is collapsing! The culture is collapsing!
Ok, so why is Bork’s defense of his aesthetic preferences any more or less valid than Snoop Dog’s expression of his? It seems like the worst kind of nostalgia, a nostalgia that seeks to justify the enjoyment of a song with the necessity of that song adhering to a moral code. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.