The profit motive lifts the lid on garbage


A Chicago cop showed me the protest letter he was sending to some big executive at Warner Bros. Records, which is part of the huge Time Warner company.

It's the same letter that is being sent by thousands of Chicago cops. Variations are being sent by police in other parts of the country.

"We, as members of the Chicago Police Department and members of their families, are appalled and offended that you and your company are willing to promote the Ice-T song called 'Cop Killer.'

"We are urging you to remove this song from the record stores and the media. Until such time, we intend to boycott any and all products, movies and amusement parks, such as your Six Flags, that are owned and operated by Time Warner.

"With all the turmoil in the world today, this song promotes more civil unrest.

"If you continue to promote this song, rest assured that you will be held liable and accountable for officers that are killed, as a result of subjects using this song as a plea in their defense."

When I finished reading it, he said: "What do you think?"

What do I think? I think that a police boycott will have little impact on Time Warner. I doubt if it will persuade many people to cancel plans to go to Six Flags, see the new "Batman" movie or drop their subscription to Time magazine. Teen-agers, the biggest customers for pop music, won't deprive themselves of their favorite hearing abuse.

And the boycott most definitely won't convince any of the Time Warner executives that putting out the "Cop Killer" record was an error in judgment. The record is selling. It's making money. That's the only judgment that counts.

On the other hand, why not try a boycott? If I were a cop, I would. In fact, I could support the boycott strictly as a music lover, the rap song is that bad.

I have to admit that I consider all rap to be just about the most brain-dead pop music we've ever had. The same dull thump-thump beat, the same mumble-mouth lyrics. It almost makes the classic "How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?" seem profound.

And this particular song has to be about as bad as anything ever put on a record or disc.

Here are some of the lyrics, with a few partial deletions of the obscenities:

I got my black shirt on

I got my black gloves on

I got my ski mask on

This s- been too long.

I got my 12-gauge sawed off.

I got my headlights turned off.

I'm about to bust some shots off.

I'm about to dust some cops off.


Cop killer, it's better you than me.

Cop killer, f- police brutality.

Cop killer, I know your family's grievin'

F- 'em!

Cop killer, but tonight we get even.

I got my brain on hype.

Tonight'll be your night.

I got this long-assed knife,

and your neck looks just right.

My adrenaline's pumpin'.

I got my stereo bumpin'.

I'm about to kill me somethin'.

A pig stopped me for nuthin'!


Die, die, die, pig, die!

F- the police!"

There's more. The last line is repeated about a dozen times. And the ever-popular mother-word is tossed in later. But you get the idea. These rappers really don't like cops.

Naturally, Time Warner and some socially aware critics are defending the song on the grounds that it is a social statement, expressing the despair and frustration of society's abused underclass.

Nah. It's not a social statement. It's crap.

Of course, that doesn't mean it should be banned. If we banned all crap, our TV sets would be blank about 90 percent of the time, most movie houses would close and our radios would go dead. The entertainment industry's single biggest product is crap. It's just a question of personal preference as to the form it takes.

So, instead of mealy-mouthing about how the song is a social statement, a cry of dissent, a plea to be understood, and that attempts to ban it are a threat to free speech, free press and free speech for all Americans, Time Warner ought to be truthful.

It could issue a statement saying something like the following:

"We have received many complaints from policemen, their families and others about the song 'Cop Killer.' We are threatened with a boycott.

"These people don't understand. True, this song is crap. But what do you expect? We are in the crap business.

"When the rap group came to us with this song, we said: 'Boy, is this crap. It should really sell.' And we were right. Hey, if Mozart had written stuff like this, instead of just talking dirty at parties, he wouldn't have died without a pfennig.

"Naturally, we are sympathetic to the feelings of policemen. If someone put out a record encouraging people to kill executives at Time Warner, I'm sure our wives and children would be alarmed, and I would be hysterical. We'd probably sue. But, then, we are a big, powerful media corporation and you ain't, so tough tootsies, coppers.

"In conclusion, we will resist all efforts to impede free expression and our right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the marketing of any crap that will sell.

"God bless America.

"Now, call security and tell them not to let any cops in the lobby."

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