The single most distressing result of Barack Obama's election is not the looting of your grandchildren's economic prospects to pay for the new administration's Great Lurch Forward into insolvency. It isn't the accompanying loss of liberty. Nor is it the mass decampment of "anti-war" leftists now silent or openly supporting the escalation of the war in Afghanistan (so that's what they mean by "MoveOn"). No; it's the ascendance of shameless kitschmeister Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas, whose "Yes We Can" video on behalf of the Obama campaign took the cliched political cant that is rap's tertiary stock-in-trade (after gangsterism and narcissism) to surreal and sinister levels, putting it directly in the service of power. The natural process of his passing down through the Dante-esque circles of celebreality television into ultimate obscurity is now delayed by at least four years.
Witnessing Bob Dylan's participation in Pepsi's cloying, Super Bowl-launched ad campaign ("every generation refreshes the world") alongside Will was like finding a beloved elderly family member working as a carnival geek. To a remixed "Forever Young" a sixties-era Dylan passes the baton (in the form of a pair of wayfarer sunglasses) off to Will. If this was a true representation of the state of popular music, the g-forces induced by such a sudden drop in iconic quality would cause the culture to pass out. Don't panic--it isn't. The raw material of humanity hasn't been left out overnight to spoil, and there are as many talented young people as ever, in and out of hip hop. Just don't tell Mr. Dylan. Like his early eighties "conversion" to evangelical Christianity, the less said of this embarrassing interlude the better. Let's give the president a pass too. Let him think that Puff Daddy and The Black Eyed Peas are relevant, that Wanda Sykes is funny (if that woman has ever said anything funny, it was surely an accident). There are too many meaningful delusions of which he will have to be disabused, by argument and circumstance, over the next four years, to worry about the trivial.
Now I learn from the blog Where Hip Hop and Libertarianism Meet (only to find they have nothing in common, I'm sure--no worries, Big Man Fascism, your muse still only has eyes for you) that Will.I.Am will be caddying the carpet bag for Terry McAuliffe (who Will identifies as his "closest political mentor") as he stumps for the governorship of Virginia. It's going to be a long four years.