October 3, 2021

GREAT MOMENTS IN FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT: Super Bowl 2022 halftime show: Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar will headline.

As Victor Davis Hanson noted in January of 2016, Obama met with Lamar before delivering his last State of the Union address:

Obama announced that Lamar’s hit “How Much a Dollar Cost” was his favorite song of 2015. Obama announced that Lamar’s hit “How Much a Dollar Cost” was his favorite song of 2015. The song comes from the album To Pimp a Butterfly; the album cover shows a crowd of young African-American men massed in front of the White House. In celebratory fashion, all are gripping champagne bottles and hundred-dollar bills; in front of them lies the corpse of a white judge, with two Xs drawn over his closed eyes. So why wouldn’t the president’s advisors at least have advised him that such a gratuitous White House sanction might be incongruous with a visual message of racial hatred? Was Obama seeking cultural authenticity, of the sort he seeks by wearing a T-shirt, with his baseball cap on backwards and thumb up?

To play the old “what if” game that is necessary in the bewildering age of Obama: what if President George W. Bush had invited to the White House a controversial country Western singer, known for using the f- and n- words liberally in his music and celebrating attacks on Bureau of Land Management officers?

Last year, Niall Ferguson wrote “‘Weimar America?’ The Trump Show Is No Cabaret. Detractors have been equating the U.S. with 1920s Germany for 85 years, and they are still wrong.” As far as the notion that the US is about to be partying like it’s 1939, I agree. Or as Tom Wolfe famously wrote, “The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.” But in terms of pop culture, and its intersection with politics, it’s been Weimar America for quite some time. The Super Bowl halftime show in February will fit that theme of cultural dissipation perfectly.

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