We’ve been fans of alicublog writer Roy Edroso for years. Is there anyone who understands the angst of conservatives better than Roy? He’s our man on the ground at CPAC — Ed.
There are a bunch of artists attending CPAC under the Big Dawg Music Mafia banner. One of these is Raymmar Tirado (pictured). Big Dawg is a sort of promotional agency for artists who, you might say, self-identify as conservatives. But, Tirado and Big Dawg’s co-founder Lisa Mei Norton told me, that doesn’t mean they’re pushing politics in their work. (In fact, through several guitar and vocal performances by Big Dawg artists on the CPAC floor, I don’t believe I heard one overtly political lyric, though there were plenty about America being great, God being great, etc.)
“Big Dawg’s about making conservatism cool,” said Norton. “It’s about being out of the box, not a bunch of stuffed shirts.” “I’m not necessarily trying to make a political statement,” said Tirado. “But hopefully when you see it, some of the ideology will shine through.” He cites Ayn Rand as a model.
Tirado does a lot of his work online — podcasts, videos, blog posts. He’s very proud that some of his postings have, he says, gone viral. His “7 Reasons Why You Will Never Do Anything Amazing With Your Life” appears to be an epic piece of trolling (“Because while you were away at college, I was studying life… Because I might not have a degree but I challenge you to find a topic that I can’t talk to you about cohesively”) which got picked up by Huffington Post. “It sounds arrogant,” says Tirado, “but it’s really about empowerment, teaching the importance of self-worth and self-respect.”
This may also be true of a Tirado video to which he directed me, called “N*gga Please – The Realities of Reverse Racism in America.” “It’s politically incorrect,” he assured me, and somebody got YouTube to take it down, but apparently it’s back up. The video turns out to be about, Tirado says in his performance, “the ‘n*ggas’ who killed Chris Lane.” Lane, you may remember, was a white guy killed by black guys, and his death was adopted by conservatives as a sort of answer to the Trayvon Martin killing.
“That’s right, I said n*ggas,” Tirado says in the video after quoting a bunch of black guys’ tweets. “Does that bother you? Sounds like an average rap song to me… The media couldn’t wait to crucify George Zimmerman as a racist, you know, and these black kids shoot a white guy because they were bored and the media wants to talk about gun control?… I’ma fix this whole gun control problem right now — Give everyone a gun. Seriously. I’m not kidding… I mean when’s the last time you heard of a gun store getting robbed?”
Eventually the background music turns uplifting and Tirado exhorts viewers to “get involved. Join a group, send a tweet, share this video, for God’s sake, tell somebody about what’s going on… The media doesn’t care about anything any more except their agenda…” It’s kind of like one of those old MTV “Fightin’ Wordz” spots, only longer and right-wing.
“The video plays on the pretexts on which we divide ourselves,” said Tirado. “You know, if you had a big list of check boxes for conservative ideas, I probably wouldn’t check about a quarter of them. It’s not really about the politics.”
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