I’m Liking Hugo More and More

February 2, 2004 — Leave a comment

Some day I’m going to have to head out to California to have lunch with Hugo. He keeps raising important issues that I agree with. His latest post on the Janet Jackson issue is especially significant:

Hey, MTV: Simulated sexual assault is not funny. It isn’t sexy. And when a white man does it to a black woman, it adds a whole other layer of historical and cultural ugliness. The issue is not the breast, folks. The issue is the violent act that revealed the breast. I have no idea whether this was a genuine accident or not (knowing what little I know about the players involved, I suspect not), but I am disturbed that the real issue here is being ignored.

I agree with Hugo. The exposing of some flesh is a minor matter. What is of greater concern is the continuing sexualization of the music scene, sexual expression that often objectifies and denigrates women. Of course, I can hear the First Amendment zealots comlain that I sound just like the folks in the 1950’s that didn’t like Elvis because he gyrated his hips. And there may be some truth to that characterization. Yet, Elvis didn’t sing about sex in a way that advocated violence against others, that called women derogatory names, and that said that their worth was found in pleasing the desires of men.

I had not even thought about the symbolism involved. Some might say that their duet was a step forward, portraying positive relations between whites and blacks. But the more sinister overtones are not absent, and I hope that some will begin to comment on this aspect of the issue.

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