Jon Stewart is boring me more lately, but his writing staff is killer, and this segment was perfect:
Okay, so I made this joke on my podcast about Sean Hannity awhile ago, but that was just the audio, and this is the visual. When he gets off screeching about rap music, Sean Hannity makes me think about this clip of a Southern preacher in the 50s. But not in a good way, because my feeling is that Hannity is really doing a shitty job. In the 50s, when they went into full-blown eyes-bugging panic about popular music that was seen through racialized anxieties, they did it with way more style.
See, that guy had panache. The actual predecessors of Hannity are these dudes who have no style or charisma whatsoever. (Warning: This video involves the "n-word".)
I'm not trying to be pedantic here, or too obvious, but I think it's important to really grasp the full history of these kinds of attacks. I think that there's a tendency to view the panic over rock and roll in the 50s as some quaint relic of the times, but actually it was a much more serious problem than that. It was a conduit for a lot of really oppressive and hateful attitudes, especially towards black people and young people. Its's ironic, of course, that the people who've inherited this legacy but have moved on to hating hip hop and are probably big fans of some rock music.
It's unsurprising but still depressing to see gender dragged into this. Hannity is in no place to call anyone a misogynist, since his rationale for supporting abortion bans has always been straight up dirty-girls-have-it-coming. He puts less effort into hiding it even than Bill O'Reilly. But I suspect he's using "misogyny" in an off-dictionary sense, and is instead using it to provoke gender anxieties in his audience. Again, this is par for the course. In the video above, you'll notice it's a teenage girl they get to defend rock and roll. Panics about pop music are panics about race, but they're also panics about gender. Pop music is sexually provocative, and it tends to encourage girls to start feeling instead of just being objects. They look at the male performers and want to do them. It's exactly the sort of thing that sets tedious weasels like Hannity off. And it's exactly the sort of thing we need more of. (As well as more female performers so young women can feel that they can do more than just sleep with the stars, but that they can be them, as well.)
Of course, the irony here is that Common isn't actually that provocative in the fun ways. But then again, Elvis turned out not to be that subversive either.