With a Broom and Not a Gun

The LAPD is a favorite subject of West Coast rap lyricists. The department's notoriety, of course, is just that­ - notorious. The homeboys perceive the cops as the most dangerous gang in the City of Angels.

What with the rebellion that followed the acquittal of four of the most notable of the notorious, it seems like a good idea to see how the purveyors of pop culture handle the unrest.

With a broom and not a gun

Rush Limbaugh, probably the biggest wave-maker on talk radio, offered early commentary on the crisis. Actually he was uncharacteristically restrained the first day, allowing his listeners to offer inane analysis and outrageous comments. He simply did the radio equivalent of nodding his head as callers babbled on about such things as how Rodney King had lured the officers into beating him for a financial settlement or a movie contract.

By the following day, however, Rush had determined he could get away with his own inanity. Limbaugh said that the events in LA were not political but cultural. Code words at their best.

Limbaugh wanted to say that it's in the genes, ya' know; that these people don't know any better. Good Society policies, added to intolerable personal habits, lead to such a society, he posits. And, he fears, America will play right into "their" hands by beginning to deal with the long-neglected urban problems.

I don't think Limbaugh has the same "worry" about the Keating crew. And that's probably true for most of us. America has never had a good visual image to tie to the Savings and Loan scandal. The big rip-off just wasn't made for TV. But the looting of buildings in LA was. No longer does it matter what the copy is; the images tell the story.

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Sojourners Magazine July 1992
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