Tuesday, February 22, 2005

that woebot/shanty link should be this, actually

a few people have laid the old fake/real line on me, but hey, it's not like the MIA-industry isn't playing that very same game (refugee/freedom fighter, and a lot of pieces mention "her mum worked as seamstress", often stressing "at minimum wage" or for super-added anti-imperial frisson, "did sewing for the Queen"!!!), there is some Real-ist credentials-proferring going on, which would seem to invite scrutiny on that level.

i see it there being a three tier dialectic of argument going on here

level 1: straightforward real/fake, authentic/inauthentic type discourse, of the kind that pervade indie-rock culture, hip hop culture, etc -- the "adolescent" mode of waking up to phoneyness and positing some pure, true outside (or with indie/alt-rock, an angsty inside, a true self that must be expressed)

level 2: the pomo, irony-imbued awareness of realness as construct, figment of discourse, language-game, etc etc. Ironically (cough) these arguments often implicitly posit a real realness underneath the fake-realness of gangsta rap, grime etc (cf Logan Sama's recent argument on Dissensus that most grimesters are actually pretty happy, well adjusted types who are quite affluent and have lots of brand-name goods, as opposed to hungry kids from the ghetto; or c.f. that JME song "Serious" which posits a real realness of hum-drum mundanity versus the gangsta fantasy pseudo-realness). we could call the shift from Level 1 to Level 2 the Springsteen Epiphany perhaps, when you realise the American Everyman Shtick is a construct, a fable

level 3: realisation that the discourse of "the real" actually reflects something in itself, the fact that people still fight over "who's real" is signficant; that fantasies are social facts that tell you something about who's dreaming them, so in grime's case what's going on are mixtures of straight reflection of how peoples lives (crime in London, blocked opportunities, racism, urban deprivation) that are also contaminated by media-feedback fantasy-loop amplifications of stuff derived from hip hop/dancehall, along with grime's own internal aesthetic demand for nastier rhymes, grislier threats, more ego-maiming humiliations, leading to exaggeration/selfcaricature.

don't know what level 4 would be, all thoughts welcome

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