I’m writing to express my discontent with the coverage of Afroman’s performance at Williams last weekend, which was all positive. Even Ethan Timmins-Schiffman’s interview, for which Afroman was two days late, ended up being positive. Schiffman not only shrugged off Afroman’s less-than-enthusiastic commitment to the interview, he also didn’t press Afroman for any real answers. Supposedly about Afroman’s views on drinking and marijuana, the interview turned out to be an unscrupulous celebration of the “chill” attitude associated with drug use. It was completely unprofessional, with Schiffman allowing Afroman to pass off his lyrics as some art form known as “wordplay.”
Abby Wood’s more extensive article was just as uncritical, focusing on the stylistic merits of Afroman’s music than the poor quality of lyrics. The article also only featured the opinions of those who enjoyed the party and did not include the many who decided not to attend for a variety of principled reasons. The message of both articles was clear: getting drunk or high is fun.
I’m in support of having fun (ethically responsible fun), but Afroman’s songs, especially “Colt 45,” have seriously misogynist lyrics. Wood described Afroman’s lyrics as being about “dirty sex, drugs, alcohol and other typically unmentionable topics on campus.” However, I know that these exact same topics are pervasively discussed on campus. I hear them discussed everywhere, sometimes positively, but most times not.
Glorifying Afroman as a liberalizer or entertainment relief to the campus is simply ridiculous. His presence only reinforced the misogynist views of the majority of this campus, which quite frankly doesn’t recognize the importance of creating a safe space for women. Sexist comments can be heard anytime of day, anywhere. Touting Afroman’s presence here also has serious consequences on certain members of the student body for whom the image of Afroman resonates of racial stereotypes. The fact that the Record did not even think to consider and include the views of students who were opposed to Afroman’s presence here shows exactly how much the Record is irrelevant to certain communities at Williams. There is a way to report responsibly on controversial issues, which requires reporters to get the full story.
Hnin Hnin ’10