the take

New York ‘Times’ Commenters Still Confused About Snoop Dogg

“You kids with your hippity-hop!”Photo: Getty Images

Currently, Kelefa Sanneh’s Times piece “Don’t Blame Hip-Hop,” exploring the way the Don Imus debate transformed into a referendum on hip-hop culture and lyrics, has accumulated 424 comments. Let’s spell that out for you, in italics: four hundred and twenty-freaking-four comments. And this isn’t a message board, where fast-paced back and forth can inflate response totals; these are the Times’ reader comments, where users typically type up one or two paragraphs of their own thoughts without necessarily responding to any other particular argument. No, these are more than 400 individuals who took the time to express their opinions to the whole Internet, sometimes in all caps.

So who are these people? Racists, idealists, morons, grumpy old men, aging liberals, and lonely maiden aunts. We’re pleased to present Vulture’s Field Guide to the Sad Commenters of the New York Times:

The Racist:

Of course you can’t “blame hip hop.” Only white people ever have to take the blame for anything. Blacks can do whatever they want and never have to answer. That’s what the double standard is all about. —Richard

The Quaint Idealist:

Obviously the author of this piece has no experience in listening to or (god forbid) in enjoying real hip-hop that creatively engages political and social struggle. Artists like the Roots, Jean Grae, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill are just a few examples. I simply can’t believe that people can be so blind to an entire genre of music. —beth

The Nervous Observer:

Would someone please print a text example of lyrics so I could decode the unintelligible hip-hop what I hear from blaring cars driving by… —Elmer

The Grumpy Old Man:

I absolutely refuse to watch a movie that has a hip hop sound track, and I have walked out of stores and restaurants where I have been assaulted by this vile caterwauler. If I ever catch my son listening to this filth, I will throw him out! —Mark T. Meyer

The Aging Liberal:

Out of curiosity, I googled one of the lyrics for one of the songs, by “Crime Mob.” First off, “Crime Mob??” How is the name of this group anything out of the mold from Snoop’s usual pimp and gangsta fare? Then if you read the lyrics, you will find not only the n-word, self-identification as a thug, and “pimping,” but you will also discover that it’s all about strippers. So much for the author’s thesis. It’s filth, no doubt. But what’s telling is that the author has become so desensitized to the machismo, violence and sexism that it doesn’t even register as filth to him. That’s definitely happened in the culture at large, and it’s a giant step backwards from everything popular music and the cultural zeitgeist used to be in the 60s. —Dan

The Voice of Reason:

Blaming “the black community” for bad, stupid hip-hop is like blaming “the white community” for Revenge of the Nerds. —Larry

The Woman Who Drags Poor George Washington Carver Into It:

Please refrain from looking down on the African American community, for our musical and social contributions, from jazz to George Washington Carver, cannot be overlooked because of one’s opinion on hip hop. —Stephanie

The Lonely, Half-Crazy Maiden Aunt:

When I was a child my mother washed my mouth out with Ivory soap for calling my brother a black boot. Now Ivory is my favorite body soap … Now that I live in NYC again, I live alone. My 15 yr old neice Brittany and my two nephews Joshua & Jonathan (12 & 9) WANTED to visit me, but when they found out that I didn’t have a TV, THEY DECLINED. Then they offered to bring one of their 4 TV’s & Playstation from their house to my house. I said no thanks. It’s been 1 year and still they have not paid me a visit. I’ve invited them to dinner on the weekends and all sorts of things, but they can’t bring the TV. Oh well. —Michelle James

The Triumphant Detective:

To the articles point of these lyrics reflecting artists’ life experiences I would simply point out that the lyrics referring to women as bitches and ho’s are not in the past tense. GO SCARLET KNIGHTS! —Got Kids

Readers’ Comments: Don’t Blame Hip-Hop [NYT]

New York ‘Times’ Commenters Still Confused About Snoop Dogg