Jewish World Review Sept. 17, 2002 / 11 Tishrei, 5763
Ludacris' mom -- whose name is not Mrs. Ludacris, by the way -- is very angry with me, as are many in the world that profit greatly from the vile words that this rapper and many others put out.
Nobody really defends what Ludacris is peddling, which is a life of guns, violence, drugs and disrespect of women. The man can rhyme many words, and some of them are "Glock," "crack," "hos" and, most frequently, the "f-word" in an amazing array of forms.
No, the argument from Ludacris sympathizers is that Britney Spears also hawks Pepsi and she is just as bad.
To me, comparing Ms. Spears to Mr. Ludacris is like comparing pot to heroin. Ms. Spears struts around in tight slacks, a bare belly and store-bought breasts. She sings silly love songs, as Paul McCartney might say. She does writhe around a lot and look pouty -- and there is a double-entendre in her Pepsi commercial with the dazed and confused Bob Dole -- but is Britney Spears a danger to the republic?
I believe Ludacris is dangerous. Scores of grammar-school teachers in the inner cities of America have written to me detailing horror stories spurred on, they say, by rap music. One fifth-grade teacher told me that it is common in her class for 10-year-old boys to call little girls "bitches." And those little boys can quote the lyrics of Ludacris with amazing accuracy.
Another teacher, who works in a Los Angeles ghetto, has a once-a-week "real talk" half hour in her classroom. She told me that some eighth-grade girls now say they want to become strippers and some boys pimps. When asked why, the kids say it looks like fun in the rap videos. Nobody in her class mentions Ms. Spears at all.
Now, I'm sure there are little girls who can sing Britney's songs about young love all day long as well. And some of these girls inevitably will want to dress in a manner inappropriate for their age because of the Spears influence. That is not good. But it is a million miles away from a handgun, a crack pipe and selling sex.
The Spears vs. Ludacris argument is deceptive because of its racial overtones. Many defenders of Ludacris say the criticism of him is racially motivated. That, of course, is a foolish and insulting position to take.
Every American should be condemning rappers and rock stars who sell children subversive values. It is tough enough these days for kids to develop maturity in our confusing society without being told that selling drugs and carrying illegal guns is fine. And children who have absent or bad parents are especially vulnerable to corrupters selling them instant gratification.
Where is the outrage over Ludacris and Eminem? Where is the protection for kids who have no role models and little supervision?
I can put up with Britney Spears. She's just another in a long line of teen idols who come and go like so much pollen in the wind. Yes, she flounces around, and some little girls will be affected, but that kind of damage can be undone.
However, Ludacris, like a cursing Pied Piper, can lead children into a lifestyle of defiance and destruction that could ruin them for many years -- perhaps forever. And like the decadent mercenary he is, he'll laugh all the way to the bank doing it.
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09/09/02: Answering my critics about the Roush case