—Ben Beaumont-Thomas on how the prescription drug epidemic is manifesting itself in hip-hop music:
Rap has always told its drug stories in more than just its lyrics. Snoop conjured the sensuality of his own buzz through his very vocal cadence and languorous G-funk backing, as well as his words. In Houston’s “chopped and screwed” scene, rap tracks are radically slowed down, designed to match and enhance the corporeal sluggishness that comes from drinking codeine cough syrup. And it’s the same with this new breed of rapper: their deadened flow and sad, anxious production replicates the anti-high of Xanax in sound. It can be hard to tell which of them are genuinely troubled and which are – like the fake gangstas of the crack era – trading off the glamour of drugs and pain. But the tens of millions of streams they’re getting mean it doesn’t matter: their popularity shows that people are hearing their own pain, fellow participants in a culture that has been left to manage its own wellbeing.
Britain is among the top 20 most political stable countries on earth, and after Germany the most stable large country; it has strong, historic institutions and a deep liberal-democratic tradition. It would be incredibly hard for a hostile power to seriously interfere in our political system, because a country has to be completely enfeebled and divided before it can succumb to foreign interference, such as Russia was in the early 1990s.
This kind of debate only embarrasses Britain even more, making us look credulous and easily duped. Maybe it’s only a matter of time before we start accusing the Russians of controlling the dolphins and vultures, or putting something in A.C. Grayling’s coffees to make him tweet like that.
The eradication of traditional liberalism, the unbalancing of our politics, the paranoid style infused into our daily discourse – these are just a few of the terrible effects the “Russia-gate” hoax has visited on the country. And of course our foreign policy is horribly distorted, with both the “Left” and the neoconservative Right out to start a new cold war. The danger of a nuclear conflict, which we thought had passed with the falling of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union, haunts us once again.
—-Thaddeus Russell‘s A Very Unregistered Thanksgiving