If you read music news as much as I do, you might already know that 50 Cent said some really tasteless, stupid shit about the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan at the end of last week. Taking to his Twitter feed, Mr. Cent twatted (past tense of “Tweet,” at least according to Stephen Colbert, whom I implicitly trust in matters of this sort), “I had to evacuate all my hoe’s from LA, Hawaii, and Japan,” as a way of indicating the seriousness of a tragedy that has claimed, last I checked, almost 2500 lives and counting.
So sure, that was a dick move.
Fifty’s “apology,” such as it wasn’t, was to say that some of his tweets are “ignorant” and helpfully adding, “I do it for shock value.” Now, I wasn’t all that shocked that people would say stupid shit about a tragedy on the internet and, as a person who strongly values my right to say whatever the fuck I want here on Bollocks!, I don’t think Mr. Cent owes us an apology. He’s free to say horrible stuff and we’re all free to call him a tasteless sack of shit for saying it. That’s the deal.
What really gives me the red ass about what 50 Cent twatted is that it provides ammunition for idiots to write off the entire genre of hip-hop as the last refuge of illiterate, violent, uncaring thugs. Don’t believe me? Steel your nerve and click this link. Where are you? You poor bastard, you’re in a Fark comment thread. See the first comment there, by Birth Control 2 Major Tom (clever handle, that)? “I hate rap so much. It’s total bullshit and the idiots involved couldn’t get a job slinging fries at Jack-In-The-Box,” he says. I don’t think this Major Tom guy (who, given his knowledge of their hiring practices, probably manages a Jack-In-The-Box) would like hip-hop no matter what, but when people like 50 Cent say stupid shit for “shock value”, it gives people like Major Tom a little grist for their bitchy, anti-hip-hop mill. And that sucks for me. I don’t think rap record sales will plummet because of this, but it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Major Tom has stereotyped all rappers as assholes and/or idiots and 50 Cent just held that stereotype up as high as he could.
So you know what would be really shocking, 50 Cent? How about you stun the world by giving one million dollars to help the good people of Japan, some of whom might even listen to your music?
Okay. Time for some Bollocks! news.
Over past few days, I’ve been seriously thinking about what goes on here at Bollocks! and trying to evaluate whether or not it’s worth continuing this little music-blogging adventure. Specifically, I’m starting to feel like the blog is growing largely on the premise that I’m really, really good at not liking things. At first, when almost no one was reading Bollocks!, I thought this was kind of funny. But I’ve discovered a couple of things recently that give me pause: 1) I am increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of becoming even minimally well-known for disliking things. I actually like a lot of music and I’d like to think I’m pretty good at liking things; 2) people seem pretty willing to get on board with what I thought was comical negativity, but that changes drastically when the negativity is turned on a band or song that they actually really like. Though I have maintained time and time again that my opinion of music is just that and that we can be fine friends even if we hate each other’s record collections, music is something that is very personal to people, maybe more than any other type of art. It soundtracks our lives and the last thing I would want is someone who likes John Mayer to think that I hate them because I can’t stand “Waiting on the World to Change,” especially if that song has a context for you that I can’t possibly understand.
But here’s the rub: I can’t pretend that I think all music is good in some way and I damn sure can’t pretend that I like everything. I don’t. I’m kind of suspicious of people who claim to like everything (although I’ve met precious few people who make this claim). So I want to try to figure out how to make Bollocks! more positive (though no less visceral in terms of the language; sorry, everyone’s mom) and still keep it honest. It may sound trite, but all this news coming out of Japan has reinforced to me the need for real human positivity in the world; our precious lights can be extinguished at any minute and that should be the only excuse we need to refrain from shitting on each other constantly.
So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna take the rest of the week off (give or take a day) and try to figure out how to have Bollocks! be fun for me to write, for you to read, and also have it be some minor force for awesomeness in the world. You can help, if you’ve any interest in reading this blog. Shoot me an e-mail with your thoughts. You can tell me what you’ve enjoyed about Bollocks! and what you haven’t. If you have a cool idea for improving things around here, let me know what it is. Next week, I’ll fire up the blogging engines and see if things feel better.
If you really can’t last four more days without any Bollocks!, here are some of my favorite posts from the last three years:
Here’s my review of Cee Lo Green’s last album, along with some thoughts about kids and dirty words.
I actually had a lot of fun writing about Wolf Parade’s Expo 86. It’s kind of a ridiculous post, but I thought it was funny.
Tom Waits is my hero.
A while ago, I sat down with Sarah Palin to discuss the Future of the Left. It didn’t go well.
One of the albums I think I’ve been best at liking is Middle Cyclone by Neko Case. She is a goddess.
Okay, kids. I’ll see you next week. Please do email your ideas, thoughts, and threats.