POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
This really is a drink-or-the-drinker argument. It can't be decided.
What we can say is that the foul language of a fair amount of hip-hop tells us something not very pleasant about our society, much as it would were there drunks wandering around commonly, puking and peeing on the streets.
I am being generous characterizing the language as 'foul.'
The truth is a good deal of it is hate-speech, pure and simple. Truly ugly stuff, full of prejudice, paranoia, and name-calling.
This kind of speech would not be tolerated were it more narrowly focused, yet it is every bit as vicious and ignorant as, say, anti-Semitism.
But there is a great deal of hate speech tolerated in America, especially of a political nature. It floods the radiowaves. Its chief practitioners are 'celebrities.' They are extremely well financed.
I'm not an advocate of censorship, but I very much admire the exercise of good judgment and civility. Those are the qualities almost totally missing from American society today.