Friday, February 20th, 2004

Where You At, Mark Jenkins?

Where you at, Mark Jenkins?

How did you get to be such an accomplished film and music critic, and become the author of such a fantastic book–Dance of Days (buy it, it really is good)–with such poor reading comprehension skills?

It is not my style to call people out in public if I can help it. But I’m tired of all yall professional, amateur, and wannabe knee-jerkists taking cheap shots as a way of denying or avoiding the real argument.

Every time the issue of race (or gender or sexuality or…) and representation comes up, yall suddenly take offense like you’ve personally been called a racist. PLEASE. I don’t deal with that. That’s so 80s. I deal with the institutions. I deal with the discourse that’s a product of those institutions.

If you want to defend all that, that’s your right. If not, don’t shit on me without dealing with the argument first. And smart people, take note: the line that goes “racism is not the real problem, it’s sexism”, “sexism is not the real problem, it’s age-ism”, “age-ism is not the real problem, it’s BDP-ism”, etc., is not an argument as much as it’s a rhetorical device. Same thing with using my name as a signifier in the place of an argument (as in “Well, I’m not a real racist until Jeff Chang says so nyah nyah” or, I love this one, “racism is not the real problem, Jeff Chang is”).

These tactics are all called intellectual dishonesty (psychologists call it denial), and I’m calling yall out on that. It’s one of the many reasons all these -isms still exist.

So to clarify one last time, motherfuckers, here’s how you read Jeff Motherfucking Chang:

1) I don’t “attack” white writers’ right to write about hip-hop, least of all white writers of my generation. I never have. I never will. Here’s your fucking Chang soundbite/pullquote: “There are many whites who write about hip-hop very well. A few are among the very best. So the fuck what?” Should white writers be above criticism? Not any more than me.

2) I don’t disparage the right of older folks to write about hip-hop. I do show my ambivalence sometimes. When you see me use the word “Elder”, it’s meant to honor their insights and foundation-building. When you see me use the word “elderly”, I think their shit sucks. But to call me age-ist is just childish. (Let’s get to the real issue someday: the generation that once said, “Never trust anyone over 30”, now can’t seem to trust anyone under 30.)

3) Here is what I have said and what I stand by: the mainstream of music criticism is dominated by straight white baby boomer males. That’s not a “protest”, that’s a fact. Is that so controversial? Apparently it is, because my opinion was that, hey, maybe that isn’t such a great thing anymore. Go jerk your knee here.

So if you feel that you now need me to invite you to shoot yourself, list you in some directory of racists, or kiss your AARP card, please get yourself some professional help. I did not start writing to become a Licensed and Certified SWM Ego-Stroker.

Thank you and no more.

posted by @ 3:28 pm | 0 Comments

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