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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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The Message vs. The Messenger
Friday, April 04, 2008

A lot of times when we hear someone we normally disagree with, or simply don’t like, speaking we have a tendency to only look for the faults in what they have to say. We do this in conversations and even when reading or watching interviews. Unfortunately, a lot of the time we end up missing out on great pieces of information because of this. Recently XXL put an interview with DMX up on their website that ended up being linked to in a lot of places because in it DMX claimed he had never heard of Barack Obama. Yes, that makes for a great headline (even if that part of the conversation was strangely buried in the article), but there were a few great points DMX made during the interview that most every missed because they were too busy cracking jokes about his supposed ignorance. This was a classic message vs. messenger situation, because when people don’t like the messenger they usually miss the message.

DMX will probably never be known as a genius, and by saying he hadn’t heard of Obama he didn’t exactly help his standing with a lot of people, but if those folks had taken the time to read through the entire interview they would have come across two fantastic points that largely went ignored. The first point DMX made was when the prospect of a black president was brought up. He said:

“What, they gon’ give a dog a bone? There you go. Ooh, we have a Black president now. They should’ve done that shit a long time ago, we wouldn’t be in the fuckin’ position we in now. With world war coming up right now. They done fucked this shit up then give it to the Black people, 'Here you take it. Take my mess.’”

NOBODY has gone into any depth discussing this idea that by voting in a black president we could be creating a scapegoat for an impending war and setting race relations backwards, rather than forwards. Nope, people would rather make jokes and call DMX names.

The second point that I felt should not have gone ignored was when X noted:

"The president is a puppet anyway. The president don’t make no damn decisions."

Puppet may be too strong a term, but how many celebrities backing presidential candidates right now do you think understand the concept of checks and balances? Call DMX crazy if you want, but for a guy who claims he has zero interest in the political system, and since he’s been convicted of a felony and therefore can’t vote I actually don’t blame him for his lack of involvement, he seems to know a thing or two. Admittedly, one has to get through some less than intelligent rhetoric to get to the good stuff, but if you’re already reading the interview why not read it all?

After the article came out message boards all over the net blew up with people making fun of DMX and implying he must be on drugs or suffer from a medical condition that causes him to act this way. On a handful of these boards I attempted to point out that X made the good points I just mentioned and we should at least take that from the interview. What both annoyed and disturbed me was that a number of sites (including XXL’s) didn’t approve of the comment I left and never posted it. Sites that approved of reckless bashing didn’t seem to want anyone to see that something thought provoking could be gleaned from DMX’s words. God forbid we start a rational discussion, nope, let’s just keep everything on a “that guy’s crazy” level.

The fact that sites weren’t allowing comments that put DMX in a positive light should be more than a little bothersome both to his label (for obvious reasons) and to readers in general, who aren’t getting all the information there is out there and aren’t getting the opportunity to create real discussions on these topics. The ideology behind it all is that since DMX said he hadn’t heard of Obama we shouldn’t listen to anything else he has to say. That, however, would be putting the messenger before the message and that is how ideas that could potentially be powerful get lost.

So the next time someone you dislike, be it a celebrity or just an acquaintance, makes a good point don’t shrug it off just because you don’t like them. Take it for what it is, a great message from a not so great messenger. The information is just as valuable no matter the delivery person.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:54 AM  
  • At 10:26 AM, Blogger Crew54 said…

    the sad part is that DMX wrapped some interesting thoughts in a cloud of ignorance. We've talked a million times about how whoever, Obama, Clinton, or even Mccain was going to have to deal with trouble. Basically being handed a crappy country and told to fix it.

    Plus you said you were on message boards, message boards aren't meant for meaningful conversation, but more so idiotic rhetoric from cats who know nothing but got a lot to say.

  • At 10:45 PM, Blogger GIF said…

    Yeah man, that pretty ridiculous. A message board blocking messages hmmmm! Politics is funny in general. People don't know, nor want to know, enough about it to make good enough decisions to bring about any positive change. People forget that our system is a body and not a Dictatorship or a Monarchy. The President just can't say, "Stop the war" and it's stopped. Other senators, and reps have to vote on that shit. People allows themselves to kept ignorant. They're told nothing about those other offices, then every year their told to go out and vote for president, mayor, and governor. That's it, those are the only offices most people know. They don't know that if you get a Democratic president and the House of representatives and Congress are mostly Republican you won't get much done. This is what really leaves to voter frustration. People vote for these offices, then when they don't see the change they want they say voting doesn't matter. It matters, it's just that you can't send one troop to battle a thousand and expect to win. DMX was right but he's wrong as well. He's right in saying that whoever is president really doesn't have much power, he's wrong because if people voted for those other offices it would increase the power of the president. We the American people should take more responsibility than anybody for whatever happens to this country because we're just way to contempt with not knowing enough.

  • At 12:05 AM, Blogger Mongo Slade said…

    Great point made, I read a recent interview with Buckshot and he was saying the same thing in regards to the president not having complete power.

    But back to the point it's a shame that DMX's complete thought wasn't presented but just the negative "newsworthy" portion of it. Which goes to show that XXL may not be the best place in itself to get all of the news that's going on either.

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