Mind You, I've Said Nothing

By Russell Baker, Observer, The New York Times

All depends on whose rage is Gored: On Wednesday the Washington Post and New York Times both dealt with trends in popular music. The Post reported on a "rap" recording in which the performer fantasizes about killing President Bush. It is a product of the trend toward violent expression of "black rage," which is said to be legitimized by a long history of abusive discrimination against blacks.

The record's release was accompanied by a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union saying its message constitutes free artistic expression under the First Amendment and cannot be legally construed as incitement to assassination.

The Times that day, in a piece on rising German Nazism, described "hate rock" being played on German stages. Sample lines: "The flamethrower is the only weapon/ With which I can triumph/ Exterminate the Gypsies/ Whether child, woman or man."

People old enough to remember that the real Nazis were nothing at all like the cute Nazis on "Hogan's Heroes" may feel a raging impulse to ask why the German Government doesn't clamp down on this music and all who make it. But of course, we don't want to clamp down on "black rage" rap - or do we? That would be censoring art, wouldn't it? That's what Hitler did.

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