Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Special Guest: Baudriller-killer sorts out The Azies

'I'd like to thank you for taking the time to come on The Vile Arts, Mr Baudrillard. It is always a pleasure to have you.'

'Thank you, Gareth. While some people might see your refusal to take an absolute position as a dereliction of your role as a critic, I regard it as an impeccable response to the postmodern condition.'

'Thank you, I think. Now, you have something to add in the battle of the rappers, I believe?'

'Indeed, yes. I think that what we are seeing here is a conflict about authenticity and imitation and, as you know, I had a passing interest in these ideas.'

'An interest in so far as you deconstructed them?'

'Exactly. Let me delineate. The crux of this row - if we can have such a thing, in a debate that seems to flying off in several hot topic directions - is between the ideal of Azealia Banks' music being real hip hop, and Iggy Azalea's being a pop appropriation.'

'There is also the hierarchy there: that Banks is more talented, more authentic...'

'Pause just there. Banks' music is seen as being a sacrament: it is a reflection of the real, of life, of the hip hop tradition: its value comes from its connection to something concrete.'

'In hip hop terms, it keeps it real.'

'Although her collaboration with Ariel Pink, who is a maverick rock musician who uses an ironic take on musical traditions does disconnect her somewhat from at least some of that sacramental order.'

'So, Banks represents an ideal of the real... the association of sacrament suggests holiness.'

'That is why the sacramental order is concerned with purity and authenticity: to deviate from its order is a form of heresy.'

'This makes Iggy Azalea a heretic?'

'You are probably putting words in my mouth, but I would suggest that Iggy Azalea's music is being described as a 'perversion' of the sacramental order. Instead of elucidating the culture, Iggy is obscuring it, remaking it. It could be classified as a simulacrum.'

'In that it claims to represent the real, but actually doesn't?'

'There might be a few questions here about whether Iggy makes any claims to represent real hip hop, but we can take her inclusion in The Grammy awards for best hip hop artists as evidence that she does.'

'It seems an open and shut case: Azealia is real, Iggy isn't.'

'It would be if you were living in the Roman Empire. But you aren't. It's late capitalism time, consumerism is the dominant ideology, and the function of media in consumerist society is to disconnect the signifier from the thing in itself. This process has gone so far, we have no idea what is real anymore.'

'I am thinking of those adverts for alcohol. The people in them are having a high old time - there's romance, maybe fireworks, and plenty of beauty. But the reality of alcohol is pissing the bed, hangovers, bad sexual choices and having a fight in the car park, with a fucked liver.'

'We could read those adverts as the fantasy of an alcoholic, under the impression that they are walking on the beach with a supermodel, when they have actually passed out in the gutter and are about to suffer hypothermia.'

'So - are you saying that Banks' claims to authenticity are spurious?'


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