December 08, 2006

Culture Critic Quote of the Week

Blogger No Mas, on this "Ali Rap" thing:

First of all, I’ve worked at ESPN and I know that it is the lily-whitest environment you’d ever want to be in, stultifyingly bourgeois and ratings-driven at every turn. To put it mildly, these are not risk-takers. Every borderline socio-cultural decision at ESPN is made with exceeding concern for the family values of Joe and Mary Six-Pack, lest they get offended and not tune in for the next NFL/Rolling Stones concert. A show like Ali Rap gets green-lighted because the network sees an opportunity to cash in on the lucrative universe of hip hop without any of the potentially offensive offshoots of courting that universe. Someone says something at a meeting like, “you know when it comes right down to it, Ali actually INVENTED rap,” and some bigwig says, “you know, this rap music is VERY popular these days,” and everyone in the room starts hearing the cosmic ka-ching. The next thing you know you have a big coffee table book and concomitant documentary, highly stylized and wrought with pomp and circumstance and otherwise almost entirely devoid of substance, because the whole enterprise is rooted in a highly dubious premise, the true premise being, simply, “hey, it’s Christmas time, give us your money.”
Yes, exactly. But the "lily-whiteness" of ESPN hasn't stopped them from turning "SportsCenter" every night into a rap video, complete with "Scarface" references.

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 8, 2006 01:03 PM
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