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This Week in Elitism: Republicans & Reggaeton

What a week it's been! Scandal, lies, parties, and an illegitimate child...and I'm not talking about the fall premieres of TV shows! All of this went down at the Republican National Convention, held in the most boring city in the country (apparently), St. Paul, Minnesota. Honestly, those poor delegates had to drive all the way to Minneapolis for a semi-decent concert. I spent my nights this week, after indulging in pretentious libations with friends (Riesling, anyone?), watching the antics of Republicans, political pundits, and celebrity news anchors. (How did Anderson Cooper almost get hit by flying debris in New Orleans one minute, then joke with Wolf Blitzer on the floor of the Xcel Energy Center the next? He must have a cape under that Prada shirt.)

So the delegates themselves were the least interesting characters of the masses of humanity that were crammed into the convention center...or so I thought. Apparently there's a new breed of Republican that's more hip, more culturally savvy, more up with pop culture. You won't see them sporting stupid hats or bow ties, no way. As I learned in a CNN interview with one such delegate, these young Republicans have a wonderfully quasi-stereotypical label to underscore their interests: Urban Republicans. The delegate, a young African-American man, made a point to stress that "Urban Republicans" aren't just African-American; they can be white, or they can be young, or they can even like popular music and, I guess, live in cities? Or maybe not. In any case, I soon learned from NPR that this small sub-group of visitors to our state would be converging in one place, for one supremely important purpose: Daddy Yankee, a Puerto-Rican rapper, was going to be in town to kick-off the convention, a perfect opportunity to connect with the Minnesota Latino voters.

According to Examiner.com (Minneapolis), Daddy Yankee supports John McCain because of his views on immigration. Well, that makes sense, somewhat. They're also both mavericks, I suppose: John McCain in his willingness to reach across the aisle and Daddy in his ability to push the limits of his...beats? Anger at the man?

But do the "Urban Republicans"-or their soon-to-be disapproving parents- even understand what he's saying in his songs? I mean, they're all in Spanish, right? So maybe it doesn't matter. But in light of recent revelations and scandal in the party, you think they might of vetted him a little more carefully. Let me explain...

Precocious Pipsqueaks (or why I know so much about Daddy Yankee...)

I was unfamiliar with the illustrious catalog of this "award-winning" Puerto Rican (not being a huge rap fan) until one day three years ago. I was just getting to know a new student, who spoke no English and had severe ADHD, but kept singing a song in Spanish that was incredibly catchy. I asked him about it and he gave me a detailed story about his love of Daddy Yankee and his hit song "Rompé." As a young teacher I thought: learning opportunity! I asked him to tell me some of the lyrics and we could learn the words in English together. We did a few lines, and while I was a little concerned that he mentioned "breaking things," I assumed I could gloss over that. After all, I was guiding him along the glorious path to English! College and high-paying jobs, here he comes!

That night, I went home and got a native-speaker's translation of the lyrics. Here is a segment of what I found:

Nanananananana...
Nanananananana...
Nanananananana...
(You know!)

The bad boys are ready
The beautiful girls are ready
At the street we are ready
Yeah yeah we walk ready
The ‘ hood is ready
1 2 GET READY COME ON
OH OH OH OH

BREAK IT, BREAK IT, BREAK IT, WELL BACKED (FULL OF PRIDE)
BREAK IT, BREAK IT, BREAK IT, HER BODY I WILL
BREAK IT, BREAK, BREAK IT, WELL BACKED (FULL OF PRIDE)
ARE U READY
BREAK IT, BREAK IT, BREAK IT, BREAK IT DOWN
BREAT IT, BREAK IT, BREAK IT, THE WAY SHE MOVES SHE…
BREAK IT,BREAK IT, BREAK IT, BREAK IT DOWN
LETS GO

If you need more of a visual, the video's here.

Just picture a bunch of delegates from Texas, sequenced hats, and matching khaki shirts AND pants, getting down to that. Or, picture a little boy and I dissecting the lyrics, smiling, and chanting them together in Spanish (possibly the most inappropriate things I've done- so far- as a teacher). Oh, and "break" obviously has a different connotation in the song than break something into pieces...sneaky, Daddy Yankee, with the homonyms. Using that song to teach a seven year old English might have been useful were it not about, basically the same thing that "Superman" by Soulja Boy is, another song loved by all the children where I teach. Look it up. All rap music that my students love is about perverse sexual acts. Live and learn, right?

That being said, who am I to begrudge Urban Republicans their dirty Reggaeton? It's not like there was much else to do in St. Paul.

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  1. Blogger chris | 4:35 PM |  

    Anderson Cooper is a hologram. A silvery foxy hologramical hunk of obscene cleanliness and confidence. Only possible explanation.

  2. Blogger qualler | 5:04 PM |  

    Haha, speaking of music, at the downtown Mpls hotel Brigitte and I stayed at last night (complete with indoor elephant-shaped bushes), the concierge mentioned that the night before, the party of delagates had made it back at night and were singing "Who Let the Dogs Out?" at 4 am. Put that in the Urban Republican blender and hit "blend".

    I actually think Anderson Cooper is always in front of a greenscreen -- it seems like it would be easier to make Wolf Blitzer a CGI character since he apparently has absolutely no personality whatsoever.

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