Violent Imagery and MLK Day (Don't Watch If You Are Unbalanced)


You want gun imagery and threats to Arizona politicians? How about the anti-Semitic Ed McMahon of hip-hop, Professor Griff (on a second viewing, it seems to be some other "S1W"; Griff was bounced from the band for his comments about Jews a year earlier), clutching an M-16 while plotting the murder of Arizona's governor for not adopting the Martin Luther King holiday! From 1991, complete with a brillant Mandrill's sample, I give you Public Enemy's video for "By the Time I Get to Arizona." And yes, about halfway through the video Chuck D does say "the whole state's racist":

NEXT: The Giffords Shooting, as Only a Pulitzer Prize-winning Cartoonist Could Render it

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  1. I LOVEd this album back when it came out. Looking back at this video, I’m a bit embarrassed.

    I also used to love Rage against the Machine about 15 years ago. I recently saw a live concert of theirs with an upside down American flag with an X through it. Maybe I’m just old now, but that upset me.

    1. I had a RATM phase when I was about 16-17, but their CDs are now collecting dust in my closet. Good musicians, but I can do without the angry John Lennon politics.

    2. Sadly, Rage Against the Macine never really raged against any machine. It makes great theater to imply you are doing such but its another to actually do so. No need to draw attention to that fact by burning all of your ‘Rage’ records. Better to just continue listening to them to remind you how naive you once were. Karen Carpenter does that for me.

      1. We’ve only just begun…

    3. There’s always been a market for rebelling, and who doesn’t want to make money doing that?

      1. They don’t call ’em “Rage ATM” for nothin’….

    4. If I only listened to music I in whihc I agreed with the lyrics I think I’d be down to classical and Bloodhound Gang.

    5. Eh, I’ve always thought they sounded like shit until the last album. Admittedly good, in spite of the brainless political content.

    6. I’ve always enjoyed Rage. Strangely, I enjoyed it more when I was a younger and more conservative teenager. Their politics, aside from the general anti-authority stuff, I pretty much ignored.

      ‘Course when I realized they just wanted left-ish authority to replace whatever they perceived as bad, they started to slip in esteem.

      Still like them in general, but not as much. I must be getting old.

  2. PE made up with Whitey since then. They played the Pitchfork fest.

    And Griff was in the house. As opposed to the field.

  3. What?

  4. I’ve heard that because a number of schools had to close during this past week’s cold spell in the south, that schools are looking at Spring semester holidays to use to make for the snow days. Apparently, President’s Day (at least for those schools that observe PD) is still on the table but MLK Day wasn’t.

    1. This is my post. I still had Olbermann in the name box from a past joke comment. Wow, that was funny.

    2. That’s cause schools in the South don’t dare appear racist.

    3. Not Charlotte, NC. And lo and behind, my hometown’s getting protests by the NAACP.

      1. The NAACP is the most racist organization in America. To hell with them.

        1. YOU’RE racist, JohnD. Ooooh, your ass is SOOO on our shit-list now, Klanner!

  5. A lot of that imagery is in emulation of the Black Panthers. Hell, the crips were originally formed in emulation of the Black Panthers.

    Just for the record, I think the last thing that hasn’t been said yet about the Arizona shooting–that probably should be said by libertarians at some point…

    I think advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government should be protected speech.

    Conspiracy to commit murder is something else entirely–that is and should be criminal. Trying to actually overthrow the United States government through violence is and should be criminal. Shooting elected politicians obviously is and should be criminal, but advocating the violent overthrow of the U.S. government?

    That’s like burning the flag as far as I’m concerned. I may despise people for doing that, but that isn’t and shouldn’t be a criminal act.

    1. Has there ever been a law-enforcement official, on record, that has said that innocent civilians should shoot back at police officer that’s firing upon them. I mean, what would the alternative advice be, “Wait for the police”?

      1. That’s called the “door prize.” The people coming through the door when I get a bead on the entry win as many “door prizes” as I can get off before my position is compromised.

  6. I was just thinking about that video yesterday – it’s the perfect distillation of the last week of news: advocating violence, Arizona, accusations of racism, MLK day… throw in the fact that Chuck D was later a host on the liberal Air America radio network, and you’ve got all the hot-button topics in one.

  7. This was precisely a response to Gov. Meacham’s refusal to honor MLK day. I have no problem with the protest, no matter how over the top it may seem now. It is what it is. I draw now parallels to the current state of affairs: let pundits be pundits. However, let free speech live on. Viva! the first amendment.

    1. What’s wrong with a refusal to honor MLK day? States should be able to opt out of any federal holiday they want.

      1. They do have that right. But they don’t have the right to be liked by other states if they don’t adopt the holiday.

        Personal, I celebrate five things: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, July 4th, and my birthday. When I was in school, MLK, President’s, Labor Day, etc. were all just excuses to get out of school. Like my grandparents’ deaths, I was conditioned to find those days enjoyable based only getting to sleep late on those days.

        1. It’s like the language, you don’t have to like it, but you damn well have to allow it. And making threats over it really is cutting a fine line on “allow.”

          Plus the irony is ironic.

          1. The irony of the ironic irony is also ironic.

        2. When I was growing up in Virginia, the state recognized the holiday as Lee-Jackson-King day, celebrating the birthdays of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Martin Luther King.

          Eventually the cognitive dissonance of celebrating the birthday of a civil rights leader along with those of two Confederate generals got to bee too much and they caved to separating the holidays.

      2. Why do people honor that commie ass anyway?

        1. Please fuck off.

  8. You’ve cracked it Moynihan: Jared Lee Loughner was a black supremacist!

    1. A white black supremacist?

  9. Cop Killer = social commentary


    1. No backlash over the song Cop Killer; nope, none at all.

      1. Should there be?

        1. *shrug* It’s not that I care either way, but calling it social commentary is only telling half the story. There was plenty of OMG INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC STAGE 3 SOMALIA ALERT OMG OMG OMG about that too. I just don’t find the comparison apt.

  10. Wasn’t there a moral and political tension between the militant leftists/civil rights activists of the 1960’s and the non-violent activists? It’s still a valid distinction, right? Which means that unless one is a dedicated New Black Panther Party member one can criticize advocacy of political violence on the right without being a hypocrite.
    The video also plausibly suggests how bad things could have gotten/could get without King’s legacy of non-violent resistance. And maybe it suggests too much along those lines, as does a lot of the more paranoid right wing stuff (which there is far more of these days than the left variety).
    Of course all of this is presumptively legal, even if someone is influenced by it to the point of committing a violent crime. But in the absence of legal accountability is there still moral accountability? Aren’t some/many/most ideologies (“isms”)by their very nature complicit in barbarism in a moral sense, when their adherents take up the cause with force?
    So I’m not sure what your post is about. Is it just that leftists use violent imagery too? That’s almost too obvious to mention. Or is it that all this violent imagery, taken in sum, is innocuous?

    1. So I’m not sure what your post is about.

      I was thinking the same thing after reading your post.

    1. What a useless piece of shit. It will be interesting to see HeWhoShallNotBeAccusedOfSheepLove and his band of merry assclowns take on a 1st Amendment Law professor. Here’s to him getting his ass handed to him and may a thousand sand fleas infest a sheep, somewhere.

      I’m sure I’m going to get sent to the principles office for that one.

      1. “may be responsible for the horrible accusations of sexual misconduct against [HeWhoShallNotBeAccusedOfSheepLove] on”

        That will make me smile all day.

    2. What a piece of shit, this Wolk guy.

  11. I remember when that song came out, I was already living in AZ then.

    The only reason I liked it was because of the Renegade Soundwave sample (off of the album Soundclash) that was used as the main part of the song.

  12. Hey, next year, just to make the good people of Reason happy: Everybody Draw MLK Day.

    Oh, yeahhhh!

  13. early morning, April 4, shot rings out in Memphis skyyy!

    You can tell how much U2 really cared by how much time and loving effort they spent in getting the details just right.

    1. Late evening, April 4, one shot was fired in the Memphis skyyyyy!

      1. Dude, They’re Irish. B/c of their inherent laziness and alcohol consumption, “Early Morning” to them is “Late evening for the rest of us.”

  14. In 1991 all 3104 residents of Arizona were racist…

    An ‘911 (is a joke)’ / Fear of a Black Planet made this cracker a libertarian…damn damn good album still

  15. This version has more Herb Alpert.

    1. Needs more cowbell.

  16. Elvis was a hero to most, But he never meant shit to me you see,
    Straight up racist that sucker was
    Simple and plain,
    Motherfuck him and John Wayne.

    1. Why were they racist?

      1. Don’t feed the morons.

        1. Those are also Public Enemy lyrics.

  17. Here’s one for the Reasonoids:

    I got a letter from the government, the other day.
    I opened and read it, it said they were suckers.
    They wanted me for their army or whatever, picture me giving a damn I said “never!”

    1. Tricky (sung by the wonderful Martina Topley-Bird)

    2. Is it bad that I immediately thought of Officer by Pharcyde?

  18. Did any other Gen X white boys wear an African medallion to try to be part of the late 80s/early 90s movement? Here’s a song called “Bush Killa” by Paris, written about 41.

  19. Asshole rapper in 1991 = prominent Republican politician (Sarah P) in 2011? Since the likely result of the Giffords shooting in Arizona is looser gun laws (Take a Glock to church! Or synagogue!) and surely no action whatsoever nationally, I think “Reason” can stop wetting its pants on this one.

    1. Watch it, pal. We made you and we can break you.

    2. just a little projection there…

  20. Just Me . . . yes, in 1990, age 14, my best friend and I wore that medallion for just one day . . . we had them torn from our necks by a group of blacks, and then we were lectured by a black principal that “we” were not allowed to wear the medallion. We watched the kids that took ours by force wear them for the rest of the school day. That instantly changed our opinion about that entire culture, and attempting to integrate with or understand it.

    1. How dare you even think you are more of a Victim more than WE are!

    2. So that’s what made Jonah Goldberg the person he is…sad really…

    3. “That instantly changed our opinion about that entire culture, and attempting to integrate with or understand it.”

      Because all black people are exactly alike.

  21. what better way to celebrate Martin Luther King’s tradition of civil disobedience than to brandish guns menacingly when people refuse to celebrate a holiday in his honor!

  22. Oh, god. I think I hurt something laughing at the firehose scenes. I know it’s all the rage to demonize unions these days, but going forward I’ll always have the backs of the firefighter unions.

  23. This was posted to point out the inflammatory rhetoric, do I have that right? Thereby conflating some of the more popular activists or spokespeople of the Republican Party with the popular entertainment, albeit with an agitpop edge, that one saw on MTV and BET in the early 90s. I guess that makes sense on some levels. Not so much on others.

  24. I think the same things whenever I see Ice Cube or Queen Latifah doing mainstream.

  25. “You can tell how much U2 really cared by how much time and loving effort they spent in getting the details just right.”

    Dude, They’re Irish. B/c of their inherent laziness and alcohol consumption, “Early Morning” to them is “Late evening” for the rest of us.

  26. Why all the vitriol and hate against AZ now? They bowed to the pressure and have observed an MLK holiday for nearly 20 years now. South Carolina was the last one to join the party in 2000. Why aren’t they picking on SC?

    I don’t think many private employers have MLK day as a holiday, should they be pressured now as well?

  27. No man of wisdom,with two brain cells in his head,will knowingly fill themselves with self defeating hate,even when they feel it is justified.

    Hate is hate,and has the same self defeating mechanisms at work,no matter the circumstances.

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