The Stench of Exploitation

The Wire Episode 42


Late night in a rear alley, Dukie leads Michael and Randy to the vacant house he spied Chris escorting one of his victims. Prying the plywood off the door, they creep inside, making their way to the decaying bodies in the back of the house. “He dead,” Dukie says, pulling away the plastic cover. “They all is.” As they file out, Dukie proves his point to Randy, who, still childlike in many ways, seems relieved to know that they are not, at least, zombie spies ready to haunt his dreams. “There ain’t no special dead,” says Dukie. “There’s just dead.” There are various stories unfolding in the Wire, butthe storylines that depict the young males, all from vsrious backgrounds losing their innocents as they are slowly devoured by the system are the most chilling, What becomes painfully evident is that these young men have very few options and none that have promise. Not a warm and fuzzy thought, but one we can do something about

The Stench of Exploitation

There’s more proof that Neil Postman knew what he was talking about.

In his 1985 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, the media critic and educator suggested that futurist Aldous Huxley, not George Orwell, had a better vision of where life on this planet is headed.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books, Postman wrote in the foreword to his book. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. … Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture.

The success of Flavor of Love 2, a VH1 reality show whose second-season premiere last month brought the cable network its highest rating for any opening show, is a crass and tasteless descent into the abyss that Huxley saw the world hurtling toward. And it is proof positive that this nation is at risk of amusing ourselves to death.

The show is built around Flavor Flav, an aging rapper whose real name is William Drayton. A classically trained pianist, he found stardom as a member of Public Enemy, a rap group

It also offers us the kind of caricature of black men that makes Stepin Fetchit and the Amos ‘n’ Andy character Algonquin J. Calhoun look like straight men. With his ever-present mouth full of gold teeth and oversized clock that hangs around his neck, Flavor Flav is a cartoonish figure that only a mother or VH1 would believe might be hotly pursued by women with an IQ above room temperature.

On one level, his buffoonery is laughable. But more often than not it makes my skin crawl to know that as Lincoln Perry (who played Stepin Fetchit) and Johnny Lee (who was TV’s Algonquin J. Calhoun) did, Drayton has to assume such a shallow black role to find stardom in Hollywood.

If you think Flavor of Love 2 is innocent television fare, you’re wrong.

We do not see nature or intelligence or human motivation or ideology as it’ is but only as our languages are,Postman wrote. And our languages are our media. Our media are our metaphors. Our metaphors create the content of our culture.

And shows such as Flavor of Love 2 dumb us down and define us to others in ways that ought to cause an awful churning in our national gut. to read the entire artlce click here

Don’t watch this show, and if you do, don’t let your teens watch you watching this show


Money Matters

Parents of University of Minnesota students are signing up this fall for their own course, one they hope will teach them tools to help their children manage money. click here to read more

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