There was a lot of buzz last week over the talented artist know as Common and his invitation to the White House for a poetry reading. In the outset let me make clear that I respect Common. I am familiar with his music from my days in high school when he went by rap name Common Sense. Today, I mostly know of him through his various movie roles, many of which I have enjoyed.
I admit this topic is not as pressing as the protests taking place in Syria or Standard & Poor’s placing the U.S. Government debt on negative credit watch. Still, there is something important worth pointing out and that is the constant pass given by the mainstream media toward President Obama and his administration regarding controversial decisions. This is something we will validate shortly by asking one simple question.
It appears most of the media chatter on the issue has been about crazy conservatives making an issue over nothing. “What’s the big deal?” is the most common question being asked. Well, when a past poem contains references to burning a sitting president [George W. Bush] that is not exactly the caliber poet the First Lady and President Obama should be rolling the red carpet out for. A higher standard should apply when gauging appropriate candidates to be the guest of honor at a White House event.
Is Common one of the more sensible rappers/spoken word artists in the industry? Yes. Has he made positive contributions to society like writing healthy children books? Sure. But that should not overshadow the reality that some of Common’s work has pushed the envelope when it comes to the matter of decency. There is a reason why many of his album covers have a parental advisory sticker slapped on the cover!
The biggest gripe I have with this debate is the double-standard applied by the mainstream media. Had this been a situation during the Bush years where George and Laura invited a guest to the White House whose portfolio of art entailed lyrics like the following: “I hold up a peace sign, but I carry a gun”, there would have been hell to pay. Do you think the folks over at MSNBC, Newsweek or perhaps the slew of angry liberals on Real Time with Bill Maher would have given Bush such a pass?