Friday, July 25, 2008

Distorted Reflections

Two weeks ago a family was visiting a local amusement when their 12 year old daughter was sexually groped by an adult male in the parking lot as they were leaving the park. The father took exception to the behavior and began defending his daughter from the man. The groper got away and called several friends who were in the park and a total of 6 of them ranging from their late teens to early 20's proceeded to beat the man. This continued until the police and park security arrived. The father was down, unconscious and still being kicked when the police and park security finally arrived.

Adding to this mess, the family was white and the perpetrators were black.

Last week the Star Tribune published a piece claiming the root of the incident could be found in the social values common to Rap music. The author opined that the sexually denigrating and violent ego centrism that permeates Rap music has found its way to mainstream America and is being reflected in violent behavior like the beating. Is society reflecting the music? Is the music reflecting society?

Which is the reflection and which is the image? Are they distorting each other?


cadbury_vw said...

i don't think the mirror analogy is complex enough to explain the situation

it is a complex feedback loop that is not self-contained

while two elements are related there is a host of influencing factors

also, people try to make generalisations fit specific instances

if the groper and his friends had been white frat boys, you can easily write the reaction and experts who would have been quoted

it's like Chomsky says - the media only puts forward people who repeat things you already know

anchovy said...

Maybe the more apt analogy is triangular in shape with cultural mores at the apex and the attendant consequences forming the base--in the case, both the music and the behavior.

I often have conversations with a friend of mine about policy. Having vastly different political views, we usually disagree on the best way to solve problems like that illustrated here. Whereas her solutions usually involve using the blunt and ham-fisted tool of government, mine are usually something like "hey, raise your kids right!" Don't have any kids? Try good ol' moral suasion to influence your friends then (opposed to "who am I to judge?"). After all, the most normative influence in our lives is not Uncle Sam, but the families and friends who influence us.

So which way does the causal arrow connecting the music and the behavior point? It doesn't. But when we fail to recognize the importance of and our individual responsibility for shaping values, culture and family then you can rest assured all arrows will point to us.

sage said...

that's a tragic story. It seems that the music and society feed off each other, bringing us further down into the cycles of violence.

Anonymouse said...

Wow... pretty fast reaction by the friends if they were already in the parking lot. You would think the family would have left fairly quickly after the groper got away...

I think both. I think the way people are, from rubber necking at a "good" car accident, to watching reality TV shows where cheaters or criminals get caught, extreme sports even... people want to be on the edge. Push the envelope. Its Rap, its video games, its movies, media in general.

Its lack of caring, parents dont care what their kids are watching, playing or listening to. They BUY it for their kids, things that are not age appropriate items... omg.. im being pulled into a tangent lol I want to mention thong underwear n all kinds of things that I personally would never allow a child (JR High is way too young!!) to wear... R rated moves... I JUST started letting my kids watch R rated things that I have not already seen... my youngest is almost 16 lol... and Grand Theft Auto?? Sorry no... I'm not buying that crap, nor will it be played on the system I paid for.

Anyway... I think your last question is the answer.