Monday, April 20, 2009

Passion, if Not Agreed With, Should At Least Be Given Respect


   Condemnation for expressing your true self—for expressing your inner being—is not limited exclusively to the drag queens we saw last week in Paris Is Burning. Some things are condemned by certain generations, religious groups, or cultures. I think there will always be groups at odds (and sometimes it turns into a downright war) because of differences in lifestyles and beliefs. Opinions are inevitable, and the desire to spread these opinions is inherent in human nature. History is chock full of different groups desiring to change or eliminate other groups based on differences. Is the elimination of people groups based on differences right? Certainly not. Is the desire to share the way you feel and what you believe in wrong? No, but sometimes it is treated as so.

     Okay, so I am pretty sure that everyone has experienced the agony of answering your front door, only to find some type of religious group trying to stick their foot in the door. You know what I am talking about—those obnoxious-won’t go away-won’t take no for an answer-and how dare you say you are another religion-type people that show up at the most inopportune times. (My apologies if you are one of these) But it’s true. You with me still? Well here is where I am going to say something you might not like. Those people should, in a sense, earn your respect. They are out there because they have something a lot of us are lacking: a strong enough belief in something, somewhere that they make the effort to get out there and spread the knowledge. It may not be a credible belief, but they are passionate about it. Similar to the drag queens we saw in last week’s film, they are not typically given respect for that passion and desire. These groups would probably rather be caught dead than in the other’s position, but when it comes down do it, they probably have more in common than they think.

     Another group that I don’t think garners the respect they deserve is the rap community. Granted, some of the stuff they put out is “rap crap,” but some of it has genuine artistry. I don’t always agree with the language included in their lyrics, but sometimes when I hear one of their

 songs, I have to stop and appreciate it. I feel sorry for the true rap artists and the rep that has been assigned to them due to the others in their profession. Rap artist legend, Eminem, became popular in the late nineties and is soon to put out a new album. To me, this is an example of a certain generation not being able to appreciate passionate artistry. People in my parent’s generation are unable to see the sheer talent that men such as Eminem possess and use to express themselves. Eminem’s music is highly personal, well written, and well thought out. There is an entire generation that connects to at least a few of his songs if not all. Yet, he is not depreciated by all but that certain generation. He is one of many who is not given the credit he deserves.


  1. a.) great picture. :D

    b.) I agree about the rap artists not getting enough credit. Do you think the "thug" reputation that (unfortunately) a lot of the rap artists have put out there overshadows the intentions of others? Do you think once people hear a rap beat they automatically want to turn it off rather than listen closely to the lyrics?

  2. a.) Agreed, Anna.

    b.) I see where you're going with the whole respecting groups that are passionate about things that maybe aren't accepted in mainstream culture, but what if those things are harmful to others? Often the religious groups you talk about belittle others' lifestyles and can cause some serious strife amongst family and friends. How tolerant should we be of their intolerance? I'm not trying to take down your point, because it is completely valid and an important social issue. There's definitely no black and white to this question, but I would like to hear your opinion.

  3. Julie, I never said I agreed with or condoned the religious practices of belittling or the strife between families (although that one typically occurs with or without religion). I just admire the aspect of passion and zeal that they have in their beliefs. I think that if beliefs are worth having everyone should have that kind of passion, and since everyone does not, it is admirable in those that do. Good question though! Thanks for allowing me to clear things up.

  4. What you have described is a problem that political movements, especially of the liberal variety, have in the United States. Liberals, because of the inclusive nature of their goals (i.e. equal rights initiatives), have to cater to groups of all fringes to have any political traction whatsoever. On the other side, conservatives have to cater to fringe groups as well, adopting some of their platform lines (for example, think of John McCain, a fairly moderate Republican, and how he was forced to change his immigration stance when elements in the fringe of the party protested noisily about his "amnesty" plan for immigrants). In other words, the middle ground cannot win as the middle ground, because there are too many people surrounding the middle ground.

    Maybe we can admire these people (your first picture, while a bit disturbing, has an example of the type of person I'm thinking of), but should we? At all? If a racist still believes, after all this time, that African Americans, Catholics, Irishmen, and other undeserving objects of hatred are inferior, and cooks up strange statistics to support their beliefs, should that kind of blockheaded, dumb, blind idealism be respected by anyone?

  5. Thinking about this idea of giving respect to certain people is sort of odd in regards to cool. On the one hand it is cool to live and let live, think Easy Rider. On the other side of it though, is it really cool to be seemingly neutral about something that so wrong as racism or sexism or any of the like?