Expecting rap music to "belong" to black people and other uses of it to be nothing but parody is absurd, insulting and just plain ethnocentric. I'll have you know that people of all "races" and venues in life rap. For this video's purpose, Rap was especially well-suited because it is a genre that favour boastfulness and ridiculing of the opponents: it's something poets and bards have been doing for millenia, because back then there was nothing as memetic as a good satyre that rhymed: it's easy to remember and fun to repeat (as an Arab, I could recite to you some VIIth century verses that would make current rappers take notes... though I don't need to go that far in space-time: some sonnets from Quevedo or Voltaire should do the trick just as well). Euologies are also great for repeating within one's own group, reinforcing the collective ego, and for throwing at the opponents in public. Rap is simply the XXth century expression of that old, non-lyrical poetry (indeed, little rap is dedicated to musing on the wonders of the world or otherwise emoting or contemplating).

So, this video is about New Atheists being obnoxious about saying "we are awesome, you suck, you should join us". I can't possibly imagine a better way of doing it than rap.

And, obviously, this has nothing to do with "stuff white people like": one of the things that make it funny is that it features stuffy, dignified, prestigious old scholars doing the sort of status signalling that is so over-the-top you only expect it from people with extremely low status (again, not necessarily black by any means, you should listen to German or Korean rap sometime). You'd expect them to Counter-Signal by being all polite and nice, and then you start to wonder if they aren't counter-counter signalling and being Politeness Hipsters ("we're so high status we don't need to be boastful but we're doing it anyway because we know you couldn't possibly confuse us with the low-status boasters: we have the ego, we have the stuff to back it, and we're not afraid of flaunting it")... aaaaand we're back into recursion, and the interesting applications thereof!

it's a parody based upon the incongruous juxtaposition that you yourself enumerate.

Beware The Believer, or a study in depth of recursion

by Raw_Power 1 min read30th Jul 201118 comments


I submit to the good people of Less Wrong this wonderful video. Is it a parody of scientifism? A parody of creationist parodies of scientifism? How deep does the recursion go? (those who already know, don't spoil the fun for the rest!).