June 6, 2008

First Person:

Que Cribs, Que nada

By Al Carlos Hernandez

We have this 150 channel cable hook up and sometimes I get lost in the jump-cut shuffle for hours. The big screen takes me on a visceral trip around the world which is a long way from the 12 inch black and white 3 channel box with the aluminum antenna we shared in the projects, back in the day.

On MTV2 was the program Cribs, and I couldn’t believe this young rapper boasting about the stereo in back of his Humvee cost Twenty Thousand dollars. It was a two hour special and I was glued to the conspicuous consumption and the petulance of the Pop elite. The array was almost Biblical, steeped in idolatrous superficial material values. His stereo cost more than most working folks everyday vehicles.

Even the most liberal of Democrats will agree that this country was founded on the traditional values of hard work, a good education and an obligation to give back to the community, but this one cat was driving a 300,000 dollar Lambo, wearing a 12 dollar Fruit of the loom T shirt, and Payless house shoes.

What was eerie to me was, and no doubt not politically correct, (I like the Hip Hop community could care less what the body politic may think). Read in the Book of Timothy 3: 2-5 talking about the last days, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them”.

Now is it just me or does that read like a TV Guide log line for Cribs?

Irrespective of your religious prejudice or proclivity, truly educated people throughout history have read the Bible, just because some preachers are whack, the prophecy’s which have been proven true, are not.

As a parent it is hard to become a role model for the little ones trying to compete with this level of media fueled, label conspicuous consumption. This generation is becoming a cult of personality. We know more about Tom Kat, Brad Jalina, Lindsey and Britney then we do about or own family members. Media is somehow convinced famous people matter, but they don’t.

It is almost impossible now days for working parents to impress upon adolescents the values of hard work, paying dues and study. Everyone wants to get theirs now. Many teenagers have an incredibly misplaced sense of entitlement. The music and video images touts the importance of flossing Bentleys, getting rich or die trying, the misogamy of women as objects, and for 99% of them that is never ever going to happen and if it does, they will probably end up in rehab, then back to the parents home to start all over again.

Maybe my adversity to over the top Hip Hop culture is rooted in my social activism back in the day, when we gave speeches about taking the University back to the community brick by brick if we had to, our demands for racial equality and affirmative action. Many brothers and sisters went to jail and took police beat downs just so the next generation could attended High School and college without ethic stigma, with culturally relevant curriculum.

Big respect and a debt of gratitude should be paid to those who fought/fight bravely for the freedom to wear a diamond studded grill and 15 thousand dollar 26 inch rims on a BMW while living at their Mama’s house.

Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things drive nice cars and player hate big timers just like everyone else. What we should be concerned about is the value system that is being imposed on all of us, is not based on dependable convictions such as study and hard work, rather a live for today, spend all your money, hope to win the lotto mentality, this mind set in the end may cause our society to crumble.

Like Chuck D., used to say before his Boy Flavor Flav became a VH1 freak show, “Don’t buy the hype”.

Other countries are way ahead of us when it comes to education and dedication to family and the work ethic. American personal consumer debt is now in the Trillions.

Don’t let the cribs fool you, sometimes they are rented, so are the cars, bling-bling and often times the babes.

Every non-political human grouping of whatever kind, legal, social, religious, economic or other becomes at last political if it creates an opposition deep enough to range men against one another as enemies”.
-Francis P. Yockey

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

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