Some conservatives are upset that Michelle Obama invited the rapper Common to the White House. But is there a different standard for white rock bands?
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin likes Van Halen so much that she named her kid, Trig Paxson Van Palin, after the '80s rock outfit. "[I] always liked the middle name Van because, you know, growing up in the '80s, Van Palin would be a really cool name," she told the Anchorage Daily News soon after Trig was born in 2008. Who knew the woman whose name has become synonymous with America's far-right family values movement was so comfortable with Satan, booze, drugs, and student-teacher relations?
Just give a cursory glance to some of Van Halen's biggest hits—"Hot for Teacher," "Runnin' with the Devil," "Spanked," etc.—and it's pretty plain to see that it's not the most sanitized of bands. But who cares? It's art, and Palin is free to enjoy whatever kind of music she likes. Unfortunately, Palin won't give the same courtesy to others.
Palin recently joined the conservative talking heads upset that the White House invited rapper Common to participate in its Evening of Poetry event, saying it was "lacking of class and decency" because of Common's "controversial" song lyrics. In fact, Common is so benign he's done songs with the Jonas Brothers and rapped in a holiday Gap commercial, but that hasn't stopped people like Karl Rove from decrying him as nothing but a "thug." "Yes, let's invite a misogynist to the White House," Rove said this week on Fox News. Funnily enough, a Fox News reporter called Common "very positive" in a fluffy interview with the rapper last year.
The fact of the matter is that Palin likes David Lee Roth slamming beers with women in bikinis and Fox News has said itself that Common is nothing to worry about. If anyone is "lacking class," it's the people ginning up false outrage to try and smear both the White House and a hip-hop artist who's done nothing but try and make good art for the past couple decades.