Saturday, January 30, 2016

B.o.B - 'Flat Out' Nuts?

Holocaust denial? Flat-Earth theory advocate B.o.B
With the hyper-conservative libertarian tycoons Charles and David Koch spending tens of millions of dollars a year to debunk climate change science, we've come to expect the willful embrace of ignorance and dismissal of scientific facts from any number of Republican politicians.

But the recent media dust-up over rapper B.o.B's promoting ridiculous Flat-Earth theory and Holocaust deniers is a reminder that ignorance is an equal opportunity player.

As you may have heard, the kerfuffle arose after B.o.B began sending Tweets to his two million-plus Twitter followers promoting his belief that the world is flat and that there's been a conspiracy to keep the rest of us in the dark. Really.

Last Sunday evening January 24th, B.o.B sent the following Tweet: "A lot of people are turned off by the phrase "flat earth"...but there's no way U can see all the evidence and not know...grow up." 

Yeah exactly. Wow.

Neil deGrasse Tyson slams B.o.B on The Nightly Show
It got really interesting when popular physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted back to B.o.B the following day accusing the rapper of "being five centuries repressed in reasoning".

That exchange prompted the delusional artist to post a recording of a rap song called "Flatline" on Soundcloud - which among other things accused Tyson of being a Freemason and (wait for it...) encouraged listeners to check out the writings of author and anti-Semitic Holocaust denier David Irving.

Tyson blew up social media when he made an appearance on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and promptly took apart B.o.B's delusional flat-Earth beliefs by schooling the rapper on why the Earth appears to be flat to the naked eye by referencing Euclidean geometry and calculus.

Tyson also warned of the danger of  "Growing anti-intellectual strain in this country" which he's warned of before with regards to politicians who deny that human activity has accelerated climate change on the planet; and politicians who seek to replace the Theory of Evolution in schools with teachings from the Bible from the chapter of Genesis.  

If you really want to get down into the nitty gritty of the depth of B.o.B's embrace of delusional quasi-fascist beliefs, Ben Norton wrote a pretty concise summary on on Wednesday last week - Norton rightfully takes the press to task for not calling B.o.B to account for espousing the beliefs of David Irving.

Who is David Irving?

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) devotes an informative Webpage to Irving, a British author who has written several books on the history of World War II.

According to the SPLC Website Irving spent time in an Austrian prison in 2006 for denying the existence of the gas chambers at the German concentration camp Auschwitz where at least 1.1 million people (90 % of them Jews) were killed by the Nazis from May 1940, until it was liberated by lead elements of the Soviet Army in January, 1945.

Holocaust denier David Irving
Irving is on record as denying that the Nazi genocide of European Jews ever took place.

We have to wonder why a rapper like B.o.B would be encouraging his listeners to read Irving's writings

Is B.o.B simply intrigued and infatuated with the idea of conspiracy theories, or is he genuinely revealing himself to be an anti-Semite?

Let's be clear, Irving is a Hitler apologist.

The author's numerous quotes on the subject of Holocaust denial make his beliefs quite clear.

For example, according to the SPLC Website Irving is quoted as saying in 1989:

"Until the end of this tragic century there will always be incorrigible historians, statesmen and publicists who are content to believe, that the Nazis used 'gas chambers' at Auschwitz to kill human beings. But it is now up to them to explain to me as an intelligent and critical student of modern history why there is no significant trace of any cyanide compound in the building which they have always identified as the former gas chambers." 

So there's nothing cool or edgy about dropping the name of a man who denies the existence of one of the most heinous acts of barbarity in modern history.

Now there's no question that the Georgia-born B.o.B is a genuinely talented musical performer.

He's scored legit Billboard hits with his catchy, up-tempo radio-friendly singles 'Nothin on You' (featuring Bruno Mars doing the chorus), and 'Airplane' (featuring Haley Williams singing the chorus) - click the links above and give those a quick listen, clearly the guy has some talent.

But it's his recent use of his new found fame as a platform to espouse what are in essence, fringe, right-wing conspiracy theories that's really troubling.

Now it's quite possible the whole episode is simply some kind of bizarre publicity stunt designed to get B.o.B's name in the press, rank his name higher in Goggle searches and expose more people to his music.

But clearly his label has already weighed in on the controversy as his bizarre rap song "Flat Line" was promptly removed from Soundcloud.

B.o.B. wouldn't be the first musical artist to say or do strange things that attracted publicity; and obviously he has a right to his own beliefs.

But I have to agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson that one's personal beliefs, whatever they might be, are one thing.

When those beliefs are then broadcast to the millions of young people who might confuse the rapper's musical talent with a mature grasp of history, culture, education and science - there's a real potential danger of influencing impressionable young minds with toxic beliefs that are repulsive to an informed society.

B.o.B's being young and relatively new to the power of his influence doesn't excuse promoting a false belief about science that was disproved in the 17th century - and it certainly doesn't excuse his spreading the degenerate theories of a Holocaust denier like David Irving.

I don't know if this guy is eccentric, eclectic, stupid, or just 'flat out' nuts.

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