Inside Higher Ed today has a story about a new book by a professor on hip-hop culture in college. In the interview, the author says, ”Hip-hop collegians are college students who create hip-hop and apply its sensibilities and worldview to their educational lives….They dance, rhyme, make beats, DJ, paint and draw visual arts such as graffiti, curate events, and more… A hip-hop collegian is not someone who simply listens to rap music. Anyone who turns on the radio can listen to rap music today because it is a mainstream part of American society. But a student who is deeply invested in the fuller culture of hip-hop, often by creating a part of it, and applies its sensibilities to education, is a hip-hop collegian.”
Sounds like a satire from “The Onion,” as one commenter wrote, but apparently not.
I wonder just what hip-hop “sensibilities” are and how they differ from the sensibilities affiliated with any other form of music. Other than perhaps creating more graffiti,how are these “hip-hop” collegians different from others?
I am aware that I am getting older, and therefore have less patience. But is it really that important where I or you were when John Lennon died? Thirty years after his untimely death this still seems to be an important question for some. I guess I need to ask why. John wrote some very nice tunes. A major thinker he was not. His activities in retrospect, seem a little tawdry, a little silly, and often downright foolish. I keep hoping the baby boomers will grow up, but my hopes are dashed repeatedly. I am left with the awful image of 90 year olds tottering in the old-age home to the streaming sounds of Satisfaction (yes, I know this is Mick's and not John's) and I want to hold your hand. Help!!
This just in from the MSN homepage, where there's a piece advising parents of prospective college students to check out what their hefty tuition buys them these days. The "weird" offerings include courses on dancing in laundromats (I'm not laughing - that really helped when my kids were young), the Philosophy of UFOlogy and the History of Furniture. Can you imagine that? Since I have a recollection that we may have run similar stories at this blog site, I thought I'd pass it along. I was unable to determine if any of them were freshman comp. courses, but I'll try to find out in light of George Leef's previous post on that fascinating subject.
For 30 years, I have used Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now in conjunction with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to illustrate allusion, ambiguity, irony, anxiety of influence, medium imperatives, and narrative architectonics. Oddly, the last few times I showed the film, many students were left speechless by the intensity of the experience. I was puzzled at first but then realized that their distress might stem from something that Apocalypse Now lacks: CGI. Today’s students are accustomed to computer-generated images and special effects, but CGI and full-motion capture/performance produce weightless pictorials with no substance. Avatar and 300 are forgettable eye candy, impalpable as a mirage. But in Apocalypse Now, when the script called for Col. Kilgore to order an airstrike and blow up a jungle with napalm, director Coppola blew up a jungle with napalm. Coppola also blew up a physical Do Long Bridge and expended many hundredweight of black powder, phosphorous, and fuse on a physical village of Vin Drin Dop. When a carabao is slaughtered, a real, luckless carabao was slaughtered. This gravity of actuality is shocking to today’s students for whom simulation, simulacra, and virtuality are the “natural” landscape. Film critic John Podhoretz decries CGI because
the extreme artificiality of the form creates distance between the viewer and the work. The secret about the movies is the way they trick you into believing you are seeing something realistic when you are actually watching something entirely artificial. The key is the recognizable human face and the interaction of the human body with recognizable real-world objects. Remove those from the picture and you are in the entirely stylized realm of kabuki theater.
Cyberpunk legend William Gibson contends that soon most people will live in a “blended-reality state.” The “entirely stylized” apparitions of CGI convince me that my students already live there with profound emotional and educational consequences.