Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Shock and awe ... for a cause ...

Recently a rapper who goes by the name Paris unveiled new album. The record, entitled "Sonic Jihad," shows a picture of a jet liner flying into the White House.

On Paris' Web site, GuerrillaFunk.com, he has a note which reads, "Upset by the cover? You should be, but for the right reasons. Read about the Bush Administration's involvement and the real motives behind the Attacks on America here."

The link goes on to claim that the president was not only aware, but involved, in the Sept. 11 attacks because he needed the United States to have an enemy in the middle east so we could go harvest opium and oil and so the White House could inflict war-time rules upon the American people to allow them to get away with dirty deeds.

While I may not be a fan of W., I must admit Paris' concept of reality sounds somewhat far fetched to me.

But it's worth noting that while nothing on his Web site states as much, I'm sure that Paris drew up his album cover in hopes of shocking and aweing people into digesting his message.

Apparently, it worked. I took note and I passed his message on to you.

But do you think the tactic of shocking - or even angering - people in order to get your message across is OK? Or do you think it's wrong to do such a thing?

There are two types of people that shock us, I believe: Those who shock us to get across their message, like Paris, for example; and those who shock us because the like the effect. It excites them to see other people get upset, offended or what have you.

I have no use for the shock-gratia-shockis types (shock for the sake of shock in bastardized Latin).

Examples galore of this type of propaganda permeates our society. Can you say Madonna? How about Howard Stern? How about 6,604 other "artists" or "talk show hosts?"

The quotation marks are meant to illustrate a point.

Welcome to the Spin Zone, Bill O'Reilly style.

O'Reilly, a self-proclaimed talk show host and purveyor of the "truth," lives to see his own ugly face on the news.

Take for example a spat that O'Reilly got into with Al Franken - at the recent Book-Expo America convention of all places.

Franken, author of "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right," (Which feature's O'Reilly's mug on the cover, I might note), dared to challenge O'Reilly's claim that he's a centrist.

Well, you don't speak ill of Bill O'Reilly unless you want to be the subject of his show for the next week or two (ask Michael Moore).

O'Reilly calls Franken an idiot and pretends to be upset, all-the-while loving the attention, which one could clearly see he loves for the sake of attention. Or shock for the sake of shock, if you would.

But shock-for-a-cause is just fine by me.

Someone who makes a ruckus to point out a society ill is justified in doing so, in my opinion.

Drawing attention to what you percieve to be the world's evils in hopes of curing those evils is simply being a good citizen.

It's unfortunate, though, that we don't reward our good citizens.

In the post 9/11 era, we aren't free to have open dialog on a variety of topics, first and foremost, the ongoings at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Rather than thank those with differing opinions for allowing us to have a look from another angle, we burn their books and demonstrate outside their concerts.

Ironicly, the heat from those book burnings and concert demonstrations are likely to start a fire up under someone who will continue to carry out their cause.

Some people shout to make sure you know they're talking.

Some people shout to make sure you can't hear anyone else talking.

And some people shout to make sure you can get their message - whether or not you want to.

That's Sonic Jihad.