You know I like the Black Eyed Peas as much as the next guy, but this “Let's Get It Started” thing is too much for any lyric-conscious audiophile to stomach.
As you probably know, the song used to be called, “Let's Get Retarded,” which was a simple MC-style party song in which “getting retarded” is a metaphor for busting fat rhymes, cutting rug and getting high. But thanks to the NBA (which wanted to use the song as the 2004 playoffs theme) and various disabled-people groups and their PC sympathizers, the title and chorus was changed to “Let's Get It Started.”
And while the new song is certainly less offensive, I ask you, can there be a more useless title than “Let's Get It Started”? Could it be more retarded? Could there be, out there, somewhere, anywhere, a lyric as extraordinarily mediocre as this lyric-which has about as much style as a wooden clothespin and all the imagery of the Kearny Mesa white pages? I am on my knees in pure and utter awe of its monolithic mediocrity because the world needs another lame lyric like I need an extra chromosome.
Even “Rock Me Amadeus” has more flare than this garbage.
And we could argue all day about whether “retarded” is offensive or not, but that's a whole 'nother column. My point is, it doesn't matter whether or not it's offensive. My point is, even if the Peas intended to defile the developmentally disabled-even if every song on Elephunk was a handicap-hating anthem with lyrics like, “Hey tardo, this the shit that make you move,” and titles like “Hands Up (The paraplegic's song)”-that it just shouldn't matter.
Because right now, America is under the thumb of its Censorship Machine and like every despot, it is moody and power-starved and must be stopped.
Not that all censorship machines are bad. Every society since the dawn of man has had one. It's really an important part of any healthy culture. After all, Censorship Machines are what keep us from shooting each other to settle poker disputes. But a Censorship Machine can go haywire. It can feed off its own conquests, become self-serving and grow in size and in strength until it becomes this grunting, bellicose, skyscraper-sized machine monstrosity with gears smoking and grinding and spinning out of control, and when that happens it's important for the survival of said society that the momentum of the Censorship Machine be stopped-or at least retarded.
The good news is that compared to some countries, it's the American public (not the government) that does most of the censoring. The bad news is, they still can't be trusted.
For instance, we know the Peas never intended to offend the handicapped in “Let's Get Retarded.” They said so right there in the beginning of the song: “In this context there's no disrespect, but when I bust my rhyme you break ya' necks.” But that's how obnoxious the Censorship Machine is. It doesn't know for context or intent. It's just like any other censorship technology. It locates keywords, then attacks. But keywords can lie. Which explains why the Censorship Machine goes after such enlightened compositions as John Lennon's, “Woman is the Nigger of the World” (a painful cry for gender equality), or Afroman's, “Because I Got High” (a stark portrayal of the follies of marijuana), or 2 Live Crew's, “Me So Horny,” (a tender ballad about summer romance in the orient)-and as bad as that title is, “Let's Get it Started” couldn't lance a boil on “Me So Horny”'s balls.
We must rage. We must rage against the Censorship Machine. Because its powers grow and grow. How else to explain the Dixie Chicks record-burning drives? How else to explain Pepsi's decision to pull Madonna's “Like a Prayer” ads? How else to define Pete Seeger's anti-war song being edited right off the Smothers' Brothers show by the network suit and ties? How else to explain a Nebraska boycott of K.D. Lang for her vegetarian worldview?
Oh yeah, vegetarianism-now there's a dangerous movement.
That's another problem with the Censorship Machine. No matter what it is, somebody somewhere will be offended by it. Then the Censorship Machine will organize a committee and threaten to boycott, which pressures advertisers to pull ads, and huge broadcasting monopolies to deny airplay, and merchandise outlets to take the album off the shelves, and the FCC to levy fines-and it's gotten to the point where anyone with an extreme or exotic lyric is bullied into replacing it with the same bland bullshit we always get and everything is being pushed toward sameness-giving new meaning to the theory of “The One Big Song”-and one day, if this keeps up, all lyrics of all songs everywhere will have the same, single, solitary, offensive-to-nobody message, and the message will be this:
De do do do
De da da da
So, I ask you, do you want “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” to be the one big song? 'Cause that's what you get when you silence the minority. You get “De do do do, de da da da, is all I want to say to you,” and-Eureka!-I think I found it. I finally discovered an actual lyric that is more useless, more mediocre and faaaaaar more retarded than “Let's Get It Started,” and that, my brothers, is all I want to say to you. B
The wop receives his e-mails at firstname.lastname@example.org. The mick get his at email@example.com.