July 19, 2018 | ° F

Pop culture depicts social issues through art

 Again I encounter another social commentary written by a self-indulgent college student assuming moral authority in Tuesday's letter "Pop culture obsession distracts from real issues." This author declares that we must reject entertainment and entertainers. He claims that mankind had always revered its leaders but now admires entertainers. Our society in particular worships jugglers as opposed to kings and this makes him angry.Why worship jugglers who waste time entertaining rather than pursue meaningful endeavors? We must follow those dedicated to attaining excellence and improving humanity. We should admire those who want to heal the world and make it a better place for you, me and the entire human race. Entertainers never strive for excellence and never wield the power to inform. Their agendas never involve raising awareness of such humanitarian issues as famines and genocides in Africa or inadequate government responses to natural disasters. Entertainers and social awareness are mutually exclusive. Why admire "jugglers" such as Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby? Entertainers neither subversively nor overtly spread important political, cultural or social messages. We shouldn't waste time listening to artists like Fela, U2 or Manu Chao. Public Enemy is no friend of mine!  In addition, no storyteller ever helps one understand the everyday struggles and embody the hard-knock lives of others. Rappers don't do this and neither do country nor blues nor folk singers. If you don't know, now you know — entertainers deserve neither your adoration nor attention. Also troublesome is the author's view of entertainment that in this, arguably, post-postmodern era is glaringly anachronous. He neglects the variety of roles entertainers assume in various cultures. Entertainers transmit history to unite communities and allow people to explore their own heritage, identity and existence. The author claims entertainers simply offer hollow entertainment and those who follow them are ignorant. But the author unwittingly illuminates ignorance embodied by those who make pretentious, condescending and therefore inherently audacious statements concerning complex subjects they don't understand. We need not eschew entertainment but rather demand education from our entertainers. Entertainers have always maintained important roles in most cultures because entertainment and education have been inextricably linked, from Homer to Homer Simpson. The author feels sorry for those who perceive entertainers as role models. Wu Tang explained the concept of writing rhymes with a liquid pen among other Socratic philosophies, so I strive to be an entertainer to disseminate knowledge efficiently to the sprawling, fertile masses. As ODB said, "Wu-Tang is for the children, as am I, and the children hate boring, pedantic diatribes."  I feel sorry for he who considers himself an intellectual authority but can't write a paragraph free of grammatical and reasoning errors. Without addressing the specific misused terms, paradoxical phrases and logical fallacies rampant in the author's misguided rant, I have effectively proven that an aspiring entertainer may be intelligent, thoughtful and useful, though I concede that attacking a clumsily written student article may not be the most meaningful endeavor.   Jon Horowitz is a Rutgers College alumnus from the class of 2005. He was a Spanish and economics major, New Brunswick resident and Highland Park raised. 

Jon Horowitz

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