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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I Love College (Scandals)

Ah, the rites of spring! April showers. May flowers. Birds. Bees. Date rape.

On April 17, St. Michael's College will celebrate its annual spring concert with performances by Grammy-nominated rapper Lupe Fiasco, up-and-coming opening act Asher Roth and, apparently, a little controversy.

For the uninitiated, Roth is the proud owner of the current #12 Billboard single for his pandering, sophomoric anthem "I Love College," which espouses the many-splendored virtues of higher education, such as drinking, boozing, gettin' wasted and . . . um, more drinking. There are also numerous references to that most time-honored of ivy-walled traditions, the drunken hookup. Though to his his credit, Roth does caution, "But not if she's too far gone." And they say chivalry is dead.

That Roth has been invited to perform at the college has, perhaps predictably, invited a veritable shit storm of criticism upon the event's organizers, the Student Association Executive Board. In a scathing editorial published in the school's online Arts & Culture journal The Naked Opinion, editor and 7D What's Good blogger, Tyler Machado offers this succinct summation, "I'm disappointed that the S.A. thought that this was the best act to bring to campus. Roth's persona confirms all the worst stereotypes about college students and their childish obsession with partying."

He goes on to state that, "I don't despise Roth's hit song because of some moral objection to drinking, smoking marijuana or partying. I despise the song because it's incredibly stupid." Point, Machado. Roth's single is a classic example of pop music pandering to the lowest common denominator. Not to mention that it's the most blatant stylistic ripoff of Eminem since . . . well, maybe ever.

In a campus-wide letter from the S.A., they attempt to deflect blame, inferring that the decision to book Roth as the opening act rested with Fiasco's agent, whose "first recommendation" was the PA-based emcee. They correctly note that opening act preference is often deferred to the headliner in rider negotiations. But doesn't the word "first" imply there may be a "second" choice? The organization goes on to essentially plead the fifth, writing that they "had no idea this would become such a controversial issue."

Really? In the age of PCU — and at a Catholic school, no less — SA really expects us to believe that they didn't realize Roth's misogynistic portrayal of student life just might rile up the natives?

If that's the case, SA may be guiltier of something far beyond poor decision making. Based on the Billboard chart statistics they cite in the opening paragraph of their letter, SA is clearly aware of who Roth is. But if they really didn't believe students would object to his performance, then they either didn't take the time to investigate his music or worse, they did investigate, and simply didn't care.

So, SA, in case you haven't seen the video for "I Love College" yet, check it out here.



I thought that I would never find a more shallow & pointless song than Soulja Boy's "Crank Dat". And then I heard this.

Justin Boland

Considering how long hip hop has been around, it's always amazing how many Vermonters are apparently discovering it for the very first time.

Very funny write-up, though...I guess now that Obama got elected and solved all our problems, this is what college activists have to worry about: the small stuff.

God bless 'em. Asher Roth will appreciate the free publicity, too.


The SMC S.A. is very good at being pathetic: they also embezzled $3,000 of college money to buy themselves lunch. ( )


I went to SMC and over the course of my four years the SA booked Train, Blues Traveller, The Roots and Jurassic 5. OK, so it got a little bit better over time, but still more or less a squandering of the multi-thousand dollar budget they worked with. Instead of blowing all that dough on one big-ticket act to appeal to the "lowest common denominator," SMC ought to take a cue from Middlebury and Bennington and book lots of smaller, more interesting shows throughout the year. Why didn't I step up and do it myself? I guess I was too busy drinking and uh...

Tyler Machado

No one would go to smaller, more interesting shows though. In truth, Asher Roth would have been a smashing success, because that's what people at this school like. If we went the Middlebury route and booked a band like Menomena like they did last year, 15 people would show up.

I would've liked a band like The Roots--appeals to both "music people" and drunk asses who just want something to party to. The O.A.R.->Wyclef->Lupe Fiasco/Asher Roth combo move has alienated me, though.


Agreed, Tyler. But, I think you can make a pretty good venn diagram out of the "music people" and "drunk ass" demographics at SMC. There are lots of people at Saint Mike's who fit into that middle section--dig good music and love a good party. Catering to that crowd and building a reputation as an arts/music-friendly-campus would start to attract more intelligent kids and force out the co-ed naked lacrosse t-shirt set over time. The perfect band to get them started would be The Hold Steady: Catholic, literary, highly-educated, but still love to booze.

Tyler Machado

ah brilliant idea! I'll start bombarding the SA programming people with emails.

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