For all who have attempted to read Judith Butler and found her writing a bit, ahem, obscure, writer Chelsea Clammer has a funny essay called "Li'l Butler" over at the Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review. She reads Butler side by side with lyrics from Lil' Wayne: "[H]ere I am, reading the grammatically challenging quality of Butler’s work while listening to Lil’ Wayne get all creative about power, sexism, and oppression, and by god—it happens. I read Butler, I hear Lil’ Wayne, and now the two of them are call-and-responsing to each other in my mind...."
Clammer imagines the results in a faux "syllabus" for a class on "Feminist Theory and Misogynistic Rap Mash-up 101":
On the subject of grief and broken relationships:
Judith Butler says, “Let’s face it. We’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something….One does not always stay intact.”
That sounds depressing. But Lil’ Wayne sure does know how to incorporate the notion and idea of grief into his life in a positive way, “Got the girl twisted...."
On the subject of longing:
Judith Butler says, “Love is not a state, a feeling, a disposition, but an exchange, uneven, fraught with history, with ghosts, with longings that are more or less legible to those who try to see one another with their own faulty vision.”
Ooookay. Now, Lil’ Wayne, I ask of thee, how do we acutually see each other, but more importantly how do we deal with our longings?
Lil’ Wayne jumps in with, “Had my heart broken by this woman named Tammy...."
On the subject of power and opressive hierarchies:
Judith Butler tells us that, “To operate within the matrix of power is not the same as to replicate uncritically relations of domination.”
Holla back, Lil’ Wayne. How do you think we can navigate power relations—such as the domination of the wealthy over the poor and how the “esteemed” white race is always acting like they own the place?
He says, “No matter who’s buyin’, I’m a celebration. Black and white diamonds, f*ck segregation.”
And to those impeccably brilliant explanations, I say, word.
The asterisks are mine, not Clammer's. Lil' Wayne lyrics more robust (!) without the elipses. Read Clammer's full piece here.