The other day the black comedienne Sophie Duker cracked a side-splitting, knee-slapping joke on a BBC panel show.
Race came up for discussion, as it always does nowadays, and Duker chipped in with a show-stopper: “When we say we want to kill Whitey, we don’t really mean we want to kill Whitey.” After a well-timed pause she added: “We do.”
Somewhat strained laughter all around, even though, whatever else this ‘joke’ may be, it surely isn’t funny. Yet other panel members, all of them white, knew they had to treat any idiocy coming from a black celeb as the acme of wit. One could also detect slight, does-she-mean-it nervousness.
All this is to be expected from all the parties involved: Duker, her woke colleagues and of course the BBC. In fact, the Corporation responded to the ensuing outcry on social media with a statement of unequivocal support for Duker and everything she advocates, including, one assumes, the murder of 90 per cent of BBC leadership and 86 per cent of its entire staff, all irredeemably white.
However, that incident provided valuable material for the columnist Sarah Vine, poor Michael Gove’s wife. Miss Vine took exception to Miss Duker’s humour, which does her credit. But then she undid her good work by again showing herself for the intellectually challenged barbarian she is.
Miss Vine explained she first learned the term ‘whitey’ (which she helpfully identified as being of American origin) from the 1970 song Whitey on the Moon by the black proto-rapper Gil Scott-Heron. Since Miss Vine was three when the song came out, her familiarity with it testifies to the enduring power of true art.
Indeed, this is what Miss Vine thinks that song is: “Scott-Heron speaks of struggling to meet his rent even though ‘Whitey’s on the moon’. It’s a powerful lament, a true work of art that urges the listener to see the world from a different point of view.”
Since I don’t possess Miss Vine’s firm grasp of counterculture, I had to look up Scott-Heron on Google and the masterpiece in question on YouTube, if only to refresh my understanding of what constitutes a true work of art. So here’s the first verse:
“A rat done bit my sister Nell./ (with Whitey on the moon)/ Her face and arms began to swell./ (and Whitey’s on the moon)/ I can’t pay no doctor bill./ (but Whitey’s on the moon) Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still.”
Since this is a precursor of rap, even Miss Vine must see that the song has no musical content whatsoever. Hence she must believe that its true artistry comes across in the lyrics, inspired by “the Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, who argued that the Moon landings were nothing more than a distraction from the crippling poverty among America’s black communities.”
Implicitly, this source of inspiration confers incontestable artistry, which implication I find hard to accept. Eldridge Cleaver was a communist – and black supremacist – terrorist who took refuge in Cuba after a deadly shootout with Oakland police. The current BLM and NFAC mobs trace their provenance to the Black Panthers and other similar groups committed to perpetuating the ghetto mentality of American blacks.
But true enough, Cleaver’s influence is manifest in Scott-Heron. For his truly artistic lyrics are worse than moronic – they are symptomatic of the race war whose flames are still being fanned into a revolutionary inferno.
I know it’s tactless to try making sense of songs, especially those impeccably consonant with the zeitgeist. But since we’ve agreed that these lyrics are a depository of true art, such pedantry seems to be justified, for art can withstand exegesis.
The underlying thought is that Mr Scott-Heron’s protagonist can’t pay his medical bills because “Whitey’s on the moon”. (If you wonder what would happen to a white rapper singing of a similar embarrassment caused by ‘multi-millionaire spades in the NBA’, you are a racist – which you probably are anyway. Aren’t we all?)
In other words, he sees a causative relationship where none exists. Unless he thinks, which he probably does, that the money committed to the space programme could have been better spent on even greater handouts to blacks and other ‘socioeconomically disadvantaged’ groups.
Since most people employed in America at the time were covered by medical insurance, the brother of the girl on the receiving end of that rat bite clearly didn’t have a job.
Moreover, it’s a fair guess that he hadn’t worn out too much shoe leather looking for one. It was so much easier to live on benefits and carp about the absence of fairness in the world. In other words, rather than a human agent, he is described as merely flotsam on the crest of a social wave.
This is false economics, poor philosophy and puny thinking in general. It “urges the listener to see the world” not just “from a different point of view”, but from a stupid, divisive and extremist one.
But then of course who are we to argue with true art? Or with Miss Vine, for that matter.