The Surprisingly Large Shadow of Adam Levine


I keep getting criticism on this post I had almost two years back now on the Kanye West song “Heard ‘Em Say.” Most of this criticism revolves around the idea that I seriously think Adam Levine hates white people–a group in which he’s included–and that he believes a that the government actually distributed the AIDS virus.

Re-reading the original post, a couple of things strike me. The first is, I cannot seriously believe that people took the first part of this post not to be satire, especially when I go on to say that I’m joking. It literally makes me doubt if people even read the post, but then it (really?) makes me wonder why they felt the need to comment. I understand Levine and Maroon 5 were a big deal, but to my knowledge they don’t even have a song out now. Still, Levine is now the top searched item on this blog now, as interest in Amy Winehouse, the celebrity that brought this blog thousands of hits, has faded.

It’s frustrating, but it’s not something I take too seriously, and maybe the people who come for Levine, stay for something else. I don’t know.

But the other thing that’s quite noticeable in that post is how fucked up the 2008 primary was. The point I was trying to make, at the time, was how ridiculous it was to hold other people accountable for their friends and collaborators views. Again, I could be wrong, but I really don’t think Levine buys all of the lyrics in “Heard ’em Say,” let alone all of Kanye West’s thoughts. Yet, here we had Barack Obama, already being called a secret Muslim, already facing so many slurs against his identity, being held accountable for his preacher’s views. Rev. Wright did not even make the controversial sermons in Obama’s presence.  Meanwhile, John McCain had openly sought the endorsement of Reverend John Hagee, who called the Catholicism a “great whore” and hoped for all Jews to migrate to Israel, thus advancing the coming Armageddon. Where does this end? Do we call John Kerry an advocate of child molestation, for being a Catholic in Boston? Do we call a George W. Bush a gay meth-addicted solicitor because Ted Haggard was a friend and advisor?

This was my main point, but it’s worth noting that I made some mistakes. For one, I should have at least challenged the idea that George Bush doesn’t care about black people. I think he just didn’t care. He was decidedly unserious about FEMA, naming Michael Brown the head of the department, even though his talent was primarily in organizing equestrian events. He defended his government’s poor behavior, as he did with torture and the Iraq War. He was who he was. We know him, we hated him, and the continued advancement of his ideology is troubling at best. That said, that ideology is not explicitly racist, just ignorant. Racism certainly has a strong history in the GOP over the last half century–and it can be tied to W’s turd blossom, Karl Rove, who started a whisper campaign that his then opponent, John McCain had an illegitimate black daughter. In a South Carolina primary. But was Bush letting people drown in New Orleans out of a hatred for black people? The evidence strongly suggests it was mere incompetence.

So that was wrong of me. The issue also of my judgment also comes into question about Hillary Clinton. In this recent post on David Shuster, I mentioned that he had used a disgusting sexist slur against Chelsea Clinton. I don’t know if there’s evidence on this blog of my ignoring the issue of sexism (which may be evidence in itself), but I do remember thinking this claim was just pathetic pushback from Clinton campaign.

While I admit this sentiment was very wrong on my part, I guess I should try to explain the wrongness on my part. First, I was an enthusiastic Obama supporter. I thought the man was a political genius, and that a return to Clintonism would not be significant progress, nor would it make for effective government. Clinton had historically high negative ratings, so much so that it would have put her candidacy at risk in what should have been an easy Democratic year.

I also saw the comparative racism against Obama, and decided it was far more intense. Yet, Obama didn’t complain, as Clinton did, and I thought this approach would be wiser politically. By and large, I think I was right about that prediction. That said, the sexism, was in fact there, and it needed to be called out. My opinion of Clinton’s reaction to that sexism should have been kept separate from the facts. I should have analyzed it, in an Obama-esque, cool manner. I didn’t, and I think I missed out.

I should add that I think Clinton’s been fantastic Secretary of State. However, she was a dirty campaigner. Her advisor Lanny Davis openly questioned Obama’s loyalty to Israel, and despite her own wishes to go “for the will of the people” in cancelled elections, it was clear for some time that Clinton could only win by superdelegates. Clinton’s pitch to the superdelegates was that…well, just see Bill Clinton’s rationale for Obama’s victory in South Carolina. It was ugly.

But overall, I think there’s room–well, it may even be necessary–to err on the side of objectivity. This means editorializing on facts, not according to who you’re rooting for in a campaign. This is a real problem in the media. And so I guess I have to thank Adam Levine for making me re-examine the early days of this blog.

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