I try to make it clear to anyone not too cool to listen that my favorite musical act of all time is Wu-Tang. They’re my favorite act because they’re the perfect fit for me. They managed to skirt convention enough to make it seem like I have provocative taste. They been at the game long enough so that even those people who don’t know still know. And their mystique just happens to be cheesy enough to make them seem like an absolutely apt fit for a white dude. Check it, guys: I once saw Paul Scheer at a Wu-Tang show. The only thing whiter than me at Wu-Tang is Paul Scheer and me at Wu-Tang.
So what I was trying to do just now was broach the subject of white boys and hip-hop in a post I’m intending to be about white boys and hip-hop, via a manner in which I don’t have to reference the Beastie Boys, because when it comes to white boys and hip-hop, duh. Now the segue I was about to drop on you in order to dive into the rest of my discussion seems half-assed so I’m just gonna cut to the chase.
A couple weeks ago I went with friends to the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood for a screening of Adam Yauch’s now infamous concert film, Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That!, in which he gave 50 camcorders to 50 attendees at a Beastie Boys sold out show at Madison Square Gardens in 2004, and the footage was used for the film’s final cut. A side note: I am also a Beastie Boys fan. I didn’t discover them until too late, but I posit that I didn’t discover anything until too late, because I grew up in a real isolated part of the rural midwest and didn’t have older siblings and so as a child developed a personality that was totally reflective of my immediate surroundings and therefore Metallica was a very big deal to me. But then I moved to the city and got a little older and did a bunch of drugs and studied abroad and therefore the Beastie Boys became a very big deal to me.
This movie, though, I gotta say: during this 2004 Beastie Boys concert that is inside of this Beastie Boys concert movie, them Beastie Boys come off as REAL MUTHFUGGIN WHITE. Just, like, overall. That’s a pejorative, comment, I know, but it is authentic nonetheless. And as you have no doubt noticed, it’s easy fodder these days, nee catharsis, to refer to things as white or not and to do so with no good connotations to how it’s being used.
NOT THAT THERE SHOULD BE BECAUSE FUCK WHITE PEOPLE FUCK US RIGHT BACK TO A POTTERY BARN LABOR DAY SALE
Truth be told, I’m sick of it. Wait. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not sick of white as a loaded term used relative to white people in order classify things that are stiff, boring, uncool, and icecapade-like. No, I’m sick of being white. And upon the viewing of said 2004 Beastie Boys concert film, manifested in me were two white epiphanies. Two simultaneous white epiphanies. 1.) it’s not surprising that three white dudes from a major metropolitan city became successful at a thing they, essentially, misappropriated, but also, 2.) it’s insane that three Jews from Brooklyn can prance around a stage in matching lime green track suits and be taken seriously while they sell out Madison Square Gardens with Doug E. Fresh BECAUSE THAT SHIT IS SO WHITE.
These two conflicting and equally disturbing realizations I had about the Beastie Boys are helping me process feelings about the quality of my own whiteness relative to what I like to call “The Times,” i.e. the Post-Trump Era singularity in which all white dudes will become irrelevant and possibly even warped up into a Phantom Zone forever, a moment that has have been due the inhabitants of the modern world since white dudes first started telling people how the fuck to live their lives. The Times are forming a divide among white dudes as we watch this apparent doomsday approach, and, I believe, are creating a white dude outlier that the Beastie Boys actually, perfectly, represent. See, as the moment of white dudes’ de-existing comes, there are white dudes that will always continue to be part of the problem, and then there are white dudes that will not always continue to be part of the problem but that’s all the white dudes that there are. There aren’t any others. White dudes will never be part of the solution, asitwere, because we are the problem AND A PROBLEM AND A SOLUTION CANNOT FREELY COEXIST ITS LIKE TIMECOP FOR WHITE PEOPLE GET IT. But there is a pocket in the current demographic, I think, populated by white dudes who are down, y’know what I’m saying? I’m talking about white dudes who just wanna weigh injustice by virtue of humanity, who don’t perceive equality as a threat, who want to celebrate other cultures without misappropriating. There are white dudes in that mix who just want everyone and everything to be cool.
Look, watch this Beastie Boys concert movie. Those motherfuckers look insane. But also, they look totally awesome. One moment they look like three dope MCs, the next they look like three kids in dress-up. They’re both a product of whiteness and also, somehow, the greatest departure from it. The film itself is a mystifying showcase for us in The Times for the inherent multitudes that can exist within a given thing, and how we desperately just want to harness that, boil it down to a single nameable thing so then we can know it and probably refute it. Perhaps, then, we are that single thing. One single thing, merely oscillating between perceptions of ourselves and worlds we inhabit, respective environs leaving us susceptible to the mitigating factors that mold us deepest, but, sadly, are never universal, thus creating the disease that we have yet to find a cure for.
Yo, just remember. RZA wasn’t nothing at first but a Kung-Fu movie nerd. #ripmca