Saturday, December 05, 2009
As politics becomes more and more acrimonious, it becomes alarming how intensely personal political differences can become.
While some countries -- like, famously, Japan -- Parliamentary politics has crossed that boundary between verbal and physical violence, there are few cultural spheres in which words can translate into violence as quickly as in hip hop music.
Fortunately, Canadian parliaments haven't devolved into violence -- although at least one party leader, Richard Coliver of the Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative Party, has been beaten up by a political opponent (according to certain accounts, he may have actually deserved it).
While in politics the matter of contention is expected to be issues and ideas, the matter of contention in hip hop -- particularly in gangsta rap -- tends to be matters of status and dominance. Whoever can insult their opponent better -- or just threaten them more harshly -- tends to be considered the winner.
Like in politics, the key to victory in a rap beef is not necessarily in getting the last word, but in getting the definitive word. But one shouldn't confuse the definitive word within one's particular camp with a decisive victory. One can get what one's own camp considers to be the definitve word, but when one steps outside of that particular group, find a very different reality.
Although, one hopes that politics never becomes quite that personal.