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Graeme Archer: Don't Look Now

Or at least, if you look, don't follow up by saying anything. You might feel physically sick and heart-broken at the news of the death of Claudia Seye Aderotimi, who was so consumed with the desire to be one of the Hip Hop Honeyz (that is, a woman with a tiny waist and enormous buttocks, which are then gyrated in the face of a Hip Hop star in one of their stylish videos) that she flew to a motel near Philadelphia airport in order to have industrial silicone injected into her buttocks, an injection which, wholly predictably, caused her blood to clot and which killed her a few hours later.

What you are allowed to say: what a tragedy for this individual.

What you are not allowed to say: Hip Hop isn't just music, any more than a burka is just a dress. (I think Freud was wrong about cigars, too). It is a machine which is used by its owners to enrich themselves, to set out their desired norms regarding female behaviour and appearance. But it's a very democratic machine! You don't need to own it, in order to use it. You can be fed into it, like sausage meat, and achieve a second's glory in one of those fabulous videos, before being burned out and dispensed with (old meat; no self-respecting Hip Hop star wants the over-inflated backside of someone who has gyrated in more than eight previous videos appearing in his next masterpiece). Get rich or die tryin', as 50 Cent, the Hip Hop artist, puts it. He gets very rich; a beautiful young woman has just died trying. Trying her hardest to turn her beautiful young body into material suitably vulgarised to be fed into Hip Hop's ugly, inhuman machine.

Another thing you're allowed to say: Goodness, the upper deck of this bus is quite noisy!

What you must in no circumstances say: And the noise is made by two or three teenagers, shouting obscenities at one another over the top of the Hip Hop or rap blaring from their mobile phones. These are the low-level users of the machine. To be antisocial, to not give a damn about anyone around you, to put yourself first in everything: this is the fundamental dogma of Hip Hop. It is, of course, a complete surprise that it is one found attractive by the people who pay for the machine's industrial success: children without fathers, raised with few boundaries, encouraged to be failures by their disinterested, failing schools. You must not draw a link between this and the violent, amusical noise they like to surround themselves with in public, because a middle-class journalist may write that he just loves the vibrancy of Hip Hop, but that he has never polluted a bus with it, as though this disproves your point (cf debate about drug use, by the way; as though taking an E at a rave in a Gloucestershire field in 1992 tells you anything about living next to a crack den in Hackney). You might notice that your bus journey is rarely disturbed by someone playing Cat Stevens or Beethoven without the benefit of headphones, although it has often occurred to you to try. You might remember the sunny morning when the Harlow train's peaceful rumble was distorted by blaring Hip Hop, and that when a fellow commuter mildly requested the noise be turned down, found himself being screamed at: It's My Music, Man!

One final thought you might have, which may occasionally allow you wry amusement, but which you must never utter: the Left got fat on its critique of "selfish" Conservatism, either literally fat in the case of the state-funded comedians who made BBC careers out of finding different ways to say that they didn't like Mrs Thatcher, or intellectually fat, like the columnists who felled forests in their attempts to prove how right-on they were. You might contrast their caricature with the undeniable evidence of your eyes about the real selfishness you see evinced every day on the streets, selfishness arising from fatherless homes, exposure to vulgarising "music", and the consequence of an education system more interested in theory than educational outcomes; all things the Left was either directly responsible for, or which it culturally encouraged. This may afford you a hollow laugh.

Why mustn't you say these things? Oh come on, do I have to spell it out? You haven't mentioned ethnicity once. But you will be called a racist.


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