This 65-Year-Old Woman in Florida Sent Me An Email About How 'Rap is Bad'
So I interviewed her about it?????
Lead image by Al Muya via Flickr
As someone who spends eight plus hours a day plugged into my laptop for “work,” or looking away from my laptop to check my phone, I spend an ungodly amount of time online. The other day, I saw the numbers change on a digital clock and felt a rush of endorphins because my brain thought they were ‘likes.’ I’m serious. Anyway, as part of this constant virtual immersion, I also spend a lot of time sending and receiving emails. Mostly, these emails are completely unremarkable and consist of me repeating the phrases “sorry for the delay” and “just following up” and “many thanks” until I eventually log off and go to sleep, like some bleak millennial version of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot. The other day, though, I received an email that made me sit up and pay attention. I received an email that was different. It was from someone claiming to be a 65-year-old woman from Florida, who wanted her own column in VICE about how rap is bad. Before I go ahead, though, maybe just read it for yourself below:
Dear Ms. Jones
I've only been on Twitter for about a month but I find your twitters pretty entertaining, except for one exception, which I will get to in a moment. I even love your haircut and am glad you've found a job that will let you wear it, and I've even prayed for you by name in my weekly bible meeting because I understand you're English. I even sometimes click through your articles on www.vice.com, although your website in terms of design could take a note from www.twitter.com and add a little color to lead the eye through the page.
About me: I'm 65 years young and a grandmother from North Central Florida, United States, and I understand that's not particularly "down" or "queer," but I know a thing or two about music, more even than you probably, though I'm not an internet journalist, I just have been listening to it for a lot longer and am probably smarter than you or a lot of people you even know. No offense meant by this at all, just I went to a very good state school, which in the U.S.A. means very high quality. For privacy reasons I won't mention the name of it, but I paid a lot of money to go, which in a non-socialist country is an indication of being good.
So why do I deserve a column in your www.vice.com web site? Well that brings me to the exception I mentioned earlier. I agree with a quite bit of what you write on the Vice web site, and even when I don't, it's often interesting to look through the pictures, if only to imagine what your mothers must be thinking. I often can't imagine. The one thing that without fail really twists my ass is when you say about how rap is good. RAP IS NOT GOOD. And this would be the subject of my column.
Here would be my main points in the column:
1. Rap is bad.
2. It's not singing. I don't even understand the words.
3. If, vocally, you're no Frank Sinatra, i.e. bad at singing, then feeding your voice through a damn T.I. Calculator isn't going to make you into Frank Sinatra, i.e. good at singing.
4. I'll touch on some music that is really good. Neil Diamond will feature prominently here, as well as the dead Italian guitarist Jim Croce.
I think my perspective on real music would be a new take for your website and maybe even educate some of the younger people about alternatives to rap music that they might not know. As you've noticed, I have a wry and intelligent humor, but aren't afraid to laugh at self. Ha Ha!
P.S. If you pick up my column, I will write my real name, as security is priority #1 for me.
Okay, so there’s a lot to unpack here. This woman is clearly a master in shade (why did she pray for me? What’s wrong with my hair?!) But also, I’m kind of obsessed with her. For days after receiving this email, I found myself reading and re-reading her words, and the more I read, the more questions seemed to swirl around my brain until eventually, something snapped. Why on earth would an alleged 65-year-old woman from Florida want her own column on this site? Does she hate all rap music? Why?! Is she even real? I decided to reply to her in order to dive into these very subjects. Unfortunately she didn’t want to speak over the phone or Skype because she didn’t want me to share a recording of her voice like “Julian Assange” and she would also “like the advantage of being able to use www.google.com when I'm not quite familiar with a slang.” So I interviewed her over email instead.
Noisey: Hi “Wendy”. How have you spent your day?
“Wendy:” Hello there! Well, every Monday I play “bridge” with a group of gals from my church. We are a small, Latter Days of Man Third Adventist congregation, which means we don’t gamble and we can only drink water from the tap, but our little “soirees” are never-the-less known to get pretty rowdy!
How often do you read Noisey and VICE?
Great question! I don’t often “surf” through websites, but I read quite a lot by clicking on links in www.twitter.com and www.facebook.com. Almost every day I’m reading about some wild thing I never would have known or wanted to know before, like the latest drug craze in Argentina. Noisey in particular is fun because it gives me videos of some good and some very horrible musicians, without a lot of need to read the words.
When and why did you start reading the site?
I spend most of my time “on-line” reading twitters from some of my favorite “personalities.” I started following www.vice.com after my Pastor, Pastor Andrew, played an internet video clip at my bible meeting of the former Head of VICE who is now morally opposed to self-abusing himself. Daisy, I wasn’t able to find the name of this gentleman on www.google.com, but I remember he was very dynamic, though used swears very freely. I think he had a mustache. I’m not sure it was for the right reasons, but I liked hearing about how he has completely stopped self-abusing himself and how now it’s made him healthier and more happy.
Most importantly, though, why can’t you get behind our rap coverage?
The first time I heard a real Rap I think was when those “N.W.A”’s appeared on my TV in the 1990’s with their “Eff the Police” song and all that nonsense—well needless to say, I did NOT find that very fun and different, and I maintain that opinion to this day. So it’s not your “coverage” of Rap music I disagree with, Ms Daisy, it’s the “music” itself. Daisy, is it clear here that I don’t consider Rap to be music? That’s why I’ve put “music” in quotes and italics.
You should make music that makes people feel nice. Nobody feels nice listening to Rap music because its inherently mean-spirited. The only kind of spirit I need in my life is the holy spirit, and I get enough yelling from it at my church. Daisy, feel free to use this catchy one-liner as a “teaser” at the beginning of the article. A teaser is what nice magazines put near the beginning of an article, in “quotations,” to draw the reader in.
Most Rappers steal other people’s songs by using bits and pieces here and there and pretending not to by blending it all together. It’s called “sampling,” but I think it should be called “stealing.” Have some originality, Rappers, and make your own songs!
But why does someone have to be good at singing for the track to be good? Can’t it just be catchy, or lyrically smart?
I don’t know how a thing could be catchy when it’s got no melody other than some PC computer blips. And on top of that, someone yelling unintelligible words over it. No, thank you, and that’s all I have to say about that.
Are there any rappers you think are okay? What about Cardi B? Everyone loves Cardi B.
I admit, I had never heard of this particular artist, Daisy, I wonder: can females be rappers? I think you may need another word there when this goes to print so the public understands clearly. But just so I could say for sure, I watched this video in its entirety. I’m sorry to report, “everyone” does not love “Cardi B.”
What’s so good about Neil Diamond, though?
I’m glad you asked. What I always tell my ex-husband about Neil Diamond is that he could have been a poet, he could have been a back-up singer, and he could have been an Arrow Collar Man—but instead he chose to be the full package and give it all to the world. Some of the girls from church and I even meet sometimes and listen to Neil Diamond CD’s in my rec room and we call ourselves the “diamondbacks,” which in Florida is a kind of swamp snake but also a little joke on the name of Neil Diamond.
Where is the best place to enjoy Neil Diamond?
While I of course know what you’re insinuating, what happens in my bedroom is between me and my bed sheets! If you must know, my hi-fi’s cord isn’t long enough to go anywhere but the rec room, which is what my ex-husband calls my attic and is where I sit and listen to CDs on an expensive wicker chair (for my back, which I hurt last year).
What kind of music do your grandchildren listen to? Are you into any of that?
I’m in-to a lot of different genres and types of music. My grandson actually plays electric keyboard in a rock band with some of his school friends. I’ve never heard them but he has long hair and sometimes even wears eye makeup, so I’m guessing they’re more like a David Bowie band. I also have a granddaughter, but she is only a year and a half old. Maybe she could understand what your friend Cardi B is saying—they sound like they have the same vocabulary!
Why do you think you should have a VICE column?
Like I said in my original E-mail, my voice is very unique and intelligent, and I think a lot of your regular readers would appreciate a change of pace from what they’re used to. Daisy, does this sound at all offensive? As I’ve said, I think your style is cute and fun, but maybe some well-written articles could draw a bigger readership?
Also… what’s wrong with my hair?
I’m sorry your hair is troubling you. One of my favorite things about the younger generation is the way you don’t seem to care about what society thinks is good or pretty, and I think that’s nice. When I was your age, an “undercut” was the kind of punch my mother would have given me if my bangs were short like a boy’s. The only worry I have is that with so many on-line peers on www.twitter.com and www.instagram.com, you may influence other young women to act similarly.
How are you going to spend the rest of the day?
Daisy, I’ve decided not to say more about my personal life in this interview. I know in your country you’re more used to sharing money, healthcare, and information amongst the citizens of your country, but here in the U.S.A., privacy is #1. No hard feelings!! ;-|
Thanks for your time, “Wendy.”
You can follow Daisy on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.