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FRANCISCO LEQUERICA

14.8.11

Hip-cop: David Starkey was right


The riots have been over for a couple of days. In a BBC studio, historian David Starkey is trying to explain the truth to the two selected archetypes of political correctness seated across the room: the young author and the black author, each representing one of the two sensitive areas of the debate. Everyone in England is trying to understand, but a post-modern political correctness is standing in the path to full comprehension. Then, against all odds in such mainstream programming, David Starkey nails the core of the issue, only to be interrupted for the following ten minutes by the other members of the panel, who choke in awe and gasp in disbelief, at his surgical commentary:

What’s happened is that [a] substantial section of the chavs [has] become black. The whites have become black – a particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic, gangsta culture has become the fashion, and black and white, boy and girl, operate in this language together…this language, which is wholly false, which is a Jamaican patois, that’s been intruded in England, and this is why so many of us have this sense of literally a foreign country.

Wake up, wailers, this is not about race – the historian goes on to reiterate this fact to the other speakers, who remain seemingly oblivious to it, and continue pounding on the man were he a national punching-bag. Can we move on? he asks, desperate to deepen the analysis beyond the issue of race. But he can’t: many have misheard and are now scandalized. David Starkey has a provocative curriculum, but he often voices what nobody dares to speak, and there seems to be a fine line between being plainly wrong and people not wanting to hear the right answer. Many scream racist at the first mention of the word black; they just don’t listen carefully (this recent aura of indisputable immunity also tends to occur with Jews, LGBT and to a lesser extent with women). Mr. Starkey repeats that this is not an attack, but it is too late – the dunces have conspired. From the start, all the nuances that the veteran historian has carefully inserted in his words are ignored. That people can still call this man a racist is only proof of their own intolerance, one to fact.

But that’s what those who represent the left in the world have become: a bunch of wailers, obsessed with political correctness, usurping culture unknowingly with their inexplicable social ingenuity, dilapidating and rearranging history as any king or despot would. Their social experiment has gone wild and is vulnerating civism and ethics with its irresponsible daydreaming. Those who participated in the riots are the children of this left, of their social engineering, of their educational catastrophe. In fact, at this time, the left is so weak that the far right is emerging everywhere again, frighteningly so. The polarization has begun.

One of the most disturbing aspects of any war is the inability of a majority to identify with any of the belligerents or what they stand for – it is happening again. Most people do not want to take sides, and during the riots they have been forced to. The taking of sides will become more and more strained, and affect the lives of greater numbers of people throughout the world in the near future. Already, authorities in Philadelphia, only a few days after the London riots, have called a youth curfew to deal with recent gang violence affecting innocent citizens. It would be naïve to think that all this madness will stop here, especially if the rioters are all punished or sent to prison. This is just the start of something worse: we are, slowly but surely, being accustomed and prepared for war.

Before the riots, extreme policing of urban areas would have been frowned upon. Now, sixteen thousand cops in London are a welcome sight for many terrified citizens, even if the death of Mark Duggan has already been overtly recognized as an abuse on behalf of the police. One week of plausible deniability later: success. Mr. Starkey rightly points out that no government or official buildings were damaged during the riots – if they are so pissed off, why didn’t they emulate Guy Fawkes? Why wasn’t Westminster on fire? Why was there not a single word from rioters to attempt to qualify the upheaval? Why was the police so ineffective in dealing with the misdemeanour? The whole riot story reeks of montage, one of nine-elevenish proportions, and of Ali G.

No. Hip-hop is not the problem; it is one of the symptoms. Hip-hop is not black or white. Good music exists, in all styles, but hip-hop as such is just a commercial etiquette within which are enclosed the issues discussed by David Starkey, as well as a profound degradation of the cognitive-accumulative nature of historical and cultural advancement. In Europe, different cultural invasions are occurring like they have done in the historical past, just as surely as reactionary tendencies to such invasions are always likely to exist, but Mr. Starkey’s analysis falls under no such tendency. As for those who have this sense of literally being in a foreign country, they must be answered that their countries no longer exist, that they have been taken over by corporate interests. Ironically, both the police and the rioters (and indeed many ordinary peaceful citizens), by what they stand for and how they do it, represent the same corporate interests.

With speed, and much to the dismay of the most skeptical elements of society, PM Cameron has called on the services of Bill Bratton, described as a U.S. supercop, whose resume is staggering in the exercise of extreme policing, both as a public servant and as a private entrepeneur. Not only did he crack down on criminality in New York and Los Angeles during the nineties, he has participated in the training of police forces throughout the Third World, and is specialized in training in warzones, such as Afghanistan. This celebrated supercop, who’s all about defending what he calls the American success story, and spreading it around the world by making serious money, sounds and looks all like the Mr. Wolf in Pulp Fiction. Everyone is being duped, tagged and controlled:

The Wolf: You're... Jimmie, right? This is your house?
Jimmie: Sure is.
The Wolf: I'm Winston Wolfe. I solve problems.
Jimmie: Good, we got one.
The Wolf: So I heard. May I come in?
Jimmie: Uh, yeah, please do.


What is most insulting about the whole debate is the absence of a detailed analysis about who is oppressing who, and only Mr. Starkey can be granted the benefit of the doubt, having been interrupted continually before being able to elaborate his points. Nobody mentions those who feel equally oppressed, concerned and affected by the mindless hoodie culture as well as the mindless political and financial warlordship that – at least in this battle – is seemingly pitted against it. In reality, they are working closer together than it may appear at first sight, even if – like rats in a lab – they believe in their fundamental enmity. Both cultures are attacking the core of all civilization: one through coercion, the other through degradation.

The hoodie culture has spread throughout the world, and has uprooted ancestral cultural traditions in the span of fifteen years: it is no isolated event, certainly not exclusive to the British Isles. This is no revolution – nothing comes after it, only gadgets and bass-drum beats. It is often argued that these semantics, or lack thereof, represent the oppressed and their grievances, yet their lifestyle identifies them with the oppressor, and ultimately leads to the widespread justification and approval of the oppression. It is beyond belief that these oppressed have yielded to consumerist values by looting materialistically, have condemned literacy, education and culture themselves, have enacted a degrading sexist chauvinism in their daily life, have resorted to pointless crime against the population and yet have brandished no banner nor voiced any articulate protest. These youths are empty.

A portion of the youth has derailed massively, but it is successive governments who have tolerated the deterioration of education to this point. Mr. Starkey possesses a gentlemanly diplomacy that does not allow him to refer to Darwin in explaining the riots; instead, he rightly chooses to cite (and not defend) Enoch Powell. Yet it must be said that these youths behave like animals and document the regression of the human race by their every action or inaction; hip-hop culture is but the symbol of such a regression.

Hip-hop culture was born from affliction, from the pain of poverty, racism and oppression. It was born into sickness, malnourished, dissatisfied, and uneducated. No good can be expected from this culture if it has been born from the wrongdoings it intended to dispel. It would be wonderful to know what a healed black culture would be, what a healed white culture would be, and the answer is they would be not – there would be a healed culture, all-inclusive, born from empathy and meditation, and celebrating the beautiful by means of the good. All culture is sick today, black and white, red and blue. Chavs and cops are both enemies of culture, and their battles and reigns must be ended. Bad education, that’s what there is; and there will always be fools, who cannot be reprimanded or avoided.

If this culture is not defeated in time, it could annihilate thousands of years of everyone’s culture, and not only in the mind, but in reality. It starts when learning about Michelangelo – for example – becomes boring; it ends when his statues are smashed to pieces. The young repeat incessantly (and clearly beyond distinctions of skin color, language, geographical and political situations) that they don’t care about anything. The demise of all values has become a situation which is only apparently out of control, as a spectacle in Debord’s sense, because it serves greater interests. In reality, it is tightly under control – only nobody will recognize it and those who speak up, like Mr. Starkey, are at risk of being ostracized publicly.

Still there are artists, thinkers, scientists, followers of the truth with proof at hand, and it is they who are being oppressed, they who are being ignored, they who are being spat at – by the rioters, cops, and cleaners-up, all the same. A whole section of society, still young, brilliant, tomorrow’s light, is being consistently thrown out of the debate. It is they who are truly dangerous, for they cause no damage, for their anger shows the way, for their rage is truly beautiful and creative, and their fire is spiritual without being dogmatic.

We shall prevail.