Hey Napster fans! Pull your pants up, turn your hat around and get a job.
June 12, 2000 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Hey Napster fans! Pull your pants up, turn your hat around and get a job. "We'll put all the albums we can on the Internet for free download and to hell with the record companies. See how they'll like that! I know this feels good but they're throwing the baby out with the bath water."
posted by Mick (31 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The writer for this piece is the COO of www.com which is a music broadcast site. And a direct competitor of Napster and it's clones. Something tells me his position is a bit biased.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:33 AM on June 12, 2000

I just wish the piece was better written. It rambles. It glosses. It's frequently mispunctuated. It makes assertions that are questionable in my experience-- downloading is "awkward" but streaming is "clean" and "neat" --and then doesn't bother to back them up.

I remain unconvinced.
posted by jbushnell at 8:24 AM on June 12, 2000

what's up with that racist title?
posted by sudama at 10:43 AM on June 12, 2000

What race is identified or discriminated against in the title, exactly?

[honest answer, no kneejerk PC bull]
posted by dhoyt at 10:55 AM on June 12, 2000

close your eyes and picture someone wearing baggy pants sagging off their ass with a backwards baseball cap and then ask yourself what color their skin is. the title doesn't contain an explicit racial stereotype, but it certainly invokes one quite strongly.
posted by sudama at 11:03 AM on June 12, 2000

I think sudama is referring to the origins of the "low-slung cargo pants and backwards bball cap" style, which came from hip hop culture.

That article was terrible-- completely biased, obviously, but also uninsightful and rambling and lame. Streaming is "clean and neat"? Streaming is clotted like sour milk, even over a broadband connection. He thinks that soon all copyrighted music will be watermarked so that you can get caught for having pirated copies, without acknowledging that A) hackers will fillet any watermarking technology and/or pirate-seeking spiders, and B) so many people will have "pirated" copies of music that it'll be impossible to sue them all. At any rate, people are guaranteed going to be more interested in downloadable music (listen to it anytime you want, online or off) than streaming (listen to it whenever you're online, and feel like waiting a couple of minutes for it to buffer so you can listen to it start and stop throughout the song).

I can't believe they actually ran this as content-- it's poorly written brochure copy for this guy's streaming media site. LAME!
posted by wiremommy at 11:18 AM on June 12, 2000

"what's up with that racist title?"

I don't know where you are from, but around here (San Diego) that most likely be a white kid. Are you pissed that white kids are being unfairly branded?

"close your eyes and picture someone wearing baggy pants sagging off their ass with a backwards baseball cap and then ask yourself what color their skin is."

Sounds like you have issues. How many people here were thinking of a non-white slacker?
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:19 AM on June 12, 2000

Maybe the stereotype it invokes says more about the person/society that automatically thinks of said stereotype...

Not saying your racist in any way sudama, but I come from Ireland, where colour isn't an issue really (cause there are very few non white people) and the first thing I thought of was soemthing like a teenage H1axZ0r who listens to Limp Bizkit or something... sure, it invokes a stereotype, but... stereotypes have only as much power as you give them...

Anyway, on the topic itself... just because new water-marked file formats exist, doesnt mean Mp3s will go away. All someone has to do is play a protected file, while recording right off their soundcard, and thats the protection gone...

When DSL and such become as widely available as dial up access, downloding Mp3s will be like downloading a font is now...

So, i forsee draconian legal measures at some point in the future, which will balls up the internet for everyone...

posted by esquilax at 11:27 AM on June 12, 2000

baggy pants + backwards cap = hip hop = black people... the title equates this with unemployment. that's irresponsible, prejudicial and offensive. i don't care how many white kids emulate the style, it's got nothing to do with them.
posted by sudama at 11:59 AM on June 12, 2000

But it's not prejudicial to assume that only black kids can or do wear baggy pants and backward caps? Or to assume that white kids doing it doesn't count somehow---it's hip-hop if it's a black guy; it's nothing at all if it's a white kid?

It may be prejudicial to say "anyone who wears pants hanging off his ass and a cocked-sideways baseball cap is a slack-ass minimum-wage punk whose parents didn't raise him right---although stereotypes have to come from *some*where, don't they?---but that's got absolutely zero to do with skin color.

posted by Sapphireblue at 12:20 PM on June 12, 2000

> baggy pants + backwards cap = hip hop = black people...

Where? I think you need to be a little more open minded. Try to expereince some things outside your own comfort zone. If the idea of white kids dressing like this really bothers you this much I think you should take a hard look at that.

You are saying that the title is racist because white kids shouldn't dress that way. Huh? White kids DO dress that way. And if you close your eyes and only see black kids doing it I think you need to stop being so close minded.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:48 PM on June 12, 2000

y6-3, sudama isn't "saying that the title is racist because white kids shouldn't dress that way". It has nothing to do with white kids dressing or not dressing that way. Sudama's saying that the article's title describes a fashion that began in hip-hop circles and implies that a person with those signifiers is a pirate, a thief, and needs a job.

That said, Sudama, I don't think the writer of the article was thinking of black people with that title. Personally, I'm pretty sure the author of that dumbass article doesn't even know that big pants started in hip hop-- the article was utterly clueless.

I'm way more insulted by the stupidity and poor reasoning of the article than about any possible implied slam against youth or hip hop culture.
posted by wiremommy at 12:58 PM on June 12, 2000

wiremommy, i suspect you're right that the writer of the article (or whoever wrote the title) wasn't thinking of black people -- but i'm not concerned with the intention here, i'm concerned with the result. the result of titling an article that way is to propagate a dangerous stereotype, one that literally threatens the lives of the people being typed. i encourage anyone who's not clear where i'm coming from to check out Peter Noel's article in the Village Voice entitled Portraits in Racial Profiling: When Clothes Make the Suspect.
posted by sudama at 1:22 PM on June 12, 2000

Another Irish person! Yay!

I have to echo their sentiments, although the number of non-whites is increasing (much to my distress, that is not going well for them, they have to deal with a lot of crap).

Sudama - when think of baggy pants, I think of white wanna be hip-hop heads, listening to Snoop or Ice Cube or something. Ever think that maybe it's a bit different in other parts of this world? Get over it. Anyway, why give a damn, the article was utter crap anyway.
posted by tomcosgrave at 1:54 PM on June 12, 2000

but I come from Ireland, where colour isn't an issue really

the number of non-whites is increasing (much to my distress, that is not going well for them, they have to deal with a lot of crap)

it sounds like color is an issue in Ireland, though it's easy for those with fair skin to ignore it. that's not so different from the United States after all.

posted by sudama at 2:01 PM on June 12, 2000

Of course its an issue, I simply meant that it isnt yet an issue on the same scale as in places like America because the white to non white ratio is so different.

anyway, this has gotten so off topic its unreal...
posted by esquilax at 2:39 PM on June 12, 2000

Sudama: The headline makes you think of black people in a negative way, so it therefore is racist? White teens have been wearing look-at-my-ass baggy pants and backward caps for many years, making it one of the easiest ways to stereotype Gen-Xers of all skin tones.

Considering the life-threatening peril you are reading into a headline that had no racist intent, I can't believe you have not considered the danger inherent in the other part of the article's headline: "Are you throwing the baby out with the bath water?"

Discarding babies with used bath water is a thoughtless tragedy that affects not only the health of babies around the world but degrades important ground water resources, since bath water often contains soap and shampoo.

Your thoughtless disregard of this issue, which comes so easily to those who have indoor plumbing and no need to dispose of bath water, speaks volumes.
posted by rcade at 8:50 PM on June 12, 2000

Ali G.
posted by holgate at 5:00 AM on June 13, 2000

I'll say it again, as I said in my original post: Exactly what race is being identified or discriminated against? The collective answer appears to be "All of them" or "None of them". I guess I've just been tired of hearing people stirring the shit about stereotypes, meanwhile helping to support them by suggesting perhaps that only black folks would be wearing those clothes. Which to me seems like narrow logic. I added to the thread because in my mind, even with my eyes closed, I'm pictured one of those shiftless WHITE high school kids I see around the mall every time I'm there, though I realize ANY young person could dress that way.
posted by dhoyt at 7:22 AM on June 13, 2000

LOL@rcade....oh and Sudama has his own racist ideas to deal with I think.
posted by FAB4GIRL at 9:45 AM on June 13, 2000

wow, where did that come from? i'd heard that people who speak up against racism often get labeled racist but hadn't experienced it until now. was it something I said?
posted by sudama at 12:29 PM on June 13, 2000

Sudama, I think it was more that many people--myself included--associate baggy jeans and backwards caps with teenagers in general, since dressing like that has became one of the predominant styles among American high school kids a few years ago.

If you want to get into a discussion about the continuing cooption of African-American styles by middle-American white kids, that's a whole 'nother topic and may eventually force someone to cite Normal Mailer.
posted by snarkout at 1:41 PM on June 13, 2000

Well said, Snarkout. Using a phrase like 'racist' in this situation is silly & inflammatory for no good reason.
posted by jblock at 8:35 PM on June 13, 2000

Sudama: If, as it appears, nobody except you inherently associates the "baggy pants and backwards cap" image with African-Americans, is it really a stereotype?
posted by harmful at 6:24 AM on June 14, 2000

Thanks, jblock. I wish I could manage to post on Metafilter without smacking up some typos (Mailer's many things, but "Normal" isn't one of them); time to download that bookmarklet.

I'd like to say that I appreciate Sudama's efforts to confront racism, even if I think they were somewhat off the mark here. If that image had been used a few years ago, back when grunge was still the dominant style with those selfsame middle-American white kids, s/he would have had a point.

And, as Wiremommy says, there's a lot to be offended about in that article: the painful leaps in logic, the insulting pseudo-banter. Ugh.
posted by snarkout at 11:34 AM on June 14, 2000

Who benefits when the word 'racist' is deemed inflammatory? I acknowledge that lots of people today wear baggy pants, but I maintain that the choice of images to use in the article title was an extremely poor one, with racist undertones. Maybe they're too deep for those not familiar with both hip hop and critical race theory to see, but they're there nonetheless.
posted by sudama at 6:37 PM on June 14, 2000

Thats exactly the point sudama, the undertones are in very deep in the article title, and one can either leave them there to rot, or can dig them up...
If everybody ignored said undertones, in years to come that statement would have no impact other than its face value.

There is no question that that statement applies to both white and black people, regardless of who it applied to X years ago when it originated.

Being PC to the point where if insulting a black person with the exact same (race independant) insult as a white person, is a racist act, thats another facet of racism all on its own...

posted by esquilax at 1:12 PM on June 15, 2000

You may be able to ignore such undertones, esquilax, but a great many people cannot -- not because they choose not to, but because, as illustrated by the Village Voice article I linked above, it's a matter of life and death.

The most offensive thing about this whole thread is the subtext evident in phrases like "you have issues", "stirring the shit", "silly & inflammatory", and "being PC" -- all veiled attempts to locate racism in the perceptions of the victim and thereby shift responsibility from the oppressors to the oppressed. I'm shocked and disappointed by the metafilter crowd. If work needs to be done outside of someone's comfort zone, I'd venture to say the work needs to be done by anyone who suggests racism needs to be discussed LESS and not MORE.

And esquilax, the very existence of racial injustice causes the same insult to be racist in one context and innocuous in another.
posted by sudama at 10:52 AM on June 16, 2000

I understand what you are saying sudama. My way of fighting racism and homophobia is to neither be racist or homophobic. Other peoples way is to speak out against it.

(understand that i am not implying that you are racist or homophobic, and also, that i do not speak out about injustice when i see fit.)

The saddest thing about this thread is people who are against bigotry but have different ways of fighting it, end up fighting each other. That is one of the other subtle evils of racism.

And if you re-read your last post, you may see that *you* have suggested that other posters here are racist - the very thing which you (i have to admit, with some reason) accuse myself and others of doing to you.

So, friends?

posted by esquilax at 11:49 AM on June 20, 2000

You're right, that's exactly what I'm suggesting -- that it's racist to try to dismiss and silence discussions of oppression, because doing so serves to support the status quo, which in this case is a system of racial oppression functioning to benefit white people at the expense of people of color.I never intended to fight with anyone here.. I felt I was defending myself and defending a perspective that's rarely represented in the mainstream. I appreciate that at least a few people (such as yourself) took the time to elevate the discussion by hearing what I had to say and responding thoughtfully.And of course we can be friends.
posted by sudama at 2:12 PM on June 27, 2000

You know (repitition alert) I too equate the baggy-backwards-capants look to the general teenage public, esp. Limp Bizkit-quoting Ja-Dudes.
More to the point however, in the few interviews I've seen with the two early-twenty-somtethings that created Napster, they were wearing baggy pants, t-shirts, and one did actually have on a backwards baseball cap. Could it be that the title refers to Napster directly? Well, now we have slander without racism.
posted by Awol at 9:35 PM on June 27, 2000

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