Rap the Judge

The Judge

Honoré Daumier — Jaquinet God- (The Judge) (1833)

From the country that has brought you fast food, Paris Hilton, and theme parks, a United States judge has ruled on a new form of torture: classical music.

As posted in a KArts Culture News story, Classy Music as Punishment, a judge tried to use classical music to teach a twenty-four old rap-loving defendant a lesson.

In Urbana, Ohio (obviously, hardly urbane), Andrew Vactor was fined $150 for playing rap music too loudly from his car. Municipal Court Judge Susan Fornof-Lippencott (Urbana, Vactor, Fornof-Lippencott — aren’t these names turning into an Oscar Wilde play?) proposed that Vactor’s fine could be reduced to only $35 if he agreed to listen to twenty hours of Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin.

Vactor tried, he really did. However, he lasted only fifteen minutes.

No one has reported which composer he listened to first, what piece of theirs was playing, and by what orchestra. Aren’t these details pertinent to learning why he turned the music off? (Where’s Greg Sandow when you really need him?)

Vactor claimed that it wasn’t the music so much, but the time. He had to get to his basketball practice at Urbana University. So he took the hit on his budget, rather than budget his time.

Now, the judge has had to defend herself. She has said that the point of her offer was to put Vactor in the same position as his “victims.” She wanted him to be forced to listen to music he didn’t like.

Ok, the ol’ eye for an eye. Why, though, did she assume that if a person likes rap music it is a given that they won’t like classical music? Why punish with music? Isn’t the judge a bit too Clockwork Orange?

Rather than creating an enlightened approach to a small-minded problem, the judge demonstrated the kind of snobbish, pretentious, and self-serving point of view that turns our audiences away from culture.

The judge equates some of the world’s most imaginative and profound artists with taking distasteful medicine. The judge also implies that one kind of cultural expression is better than another.

So, in this case, the Urbana judge is the one who is guilty of off-putting and self-serving provincialism.

The punishment? Judge Fornof-Lippencott is sentenced to a year of Rap Festivals.

- Bill Reichblum

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2 Responses to “Rap the Judge”

  1. KadmusArts Playlists » Blog Archive » Classical and Rap: Brothers In Arms
    October 14th, 2008 21:56

    [...] As highlighted in this week’s KA-Blog, the persistently silly Judge Susan Fornof-Lippencott has decided that a lover of rap music cannot be a lover of classical music, and that both musical genres are best viewed as reciprocal forms of punishment. While the Judge’s reasoning is reminiscent of the equally scintillating thoughts of Roderick Spode, 7th Earl of Sidcup, it is worthwhile noting that rap and classical music share a much more interesting and deeper connection: both have achieved some of their most powerful moments when confronting oppression, discrimination, or the results of violence. So, in the spirit of the erstwhile Beadle Bumble Fund, here are some examples that should help heal the (fictive) musical rift: [...]

  2. Charity - born and raised in Urbana
    February 7th, 2010 21:22

    I am pleased and proud of the judge’s punishment by classical music. Perhaps he should have started with Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Let the Punishment Fit the Crime.” The only snobbery I detect is the commentary on small town life of which you obviously have no knowledge of nor experience with. “While the Judge’s reasoning is reminiscent of the equally scintillating thoughts of Roderick Spode, 7th Earl of Sidcup…” Wodehouse has nothing to do with it, and pulling obscure references meant to boggle the mind of this apparently less than “urbane” woman have failed spectacularly! He’s on of my favorite writers, as is Wilde, and nether knew American of small town life nor of rap music. It is my educated assessment that they would approve heartily of the former and despise the latter!

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