brucekluger.com

    The Los Angeles Times, January 13, 2002

    Commentary
    Readin', Writin', Rappin'

    By Bruce Kluger


    Beyond questions of grading, one cause of
    the public discord between Harvard President
    Lawrence H. Summers and Cornel West, the
    university's controversial professor of African
    American studies, was West's CD recording,
    Sketches of My Culture, which included hip-
    hop ruminations on such subjects as Malcolm
    X, the slave trade and the "N word."

    Given the two educators' apparent
    rapprochement recently, might the storied
    institution now be ready to incorporate rap
    music as a viable method of instruction?

    Perhaps Harvard Yard will soon ring with such stirring verses as...

    ART HISTORY
    Seurat did dots,
    Matisse saw red,
    Picasso painted eyes on the side of the head.
    Van Gogh was whack,
    Degas was the bomb,
    And Whistler made a bundle from a picture of his mom.

    ECON 101
    Balance sheets, bottom lines,
    Quarterly reports,
    Mergers/acquisitions is the sport of all sports.
    Buy low, sell high,
    Everybody sing:
    "One of these days I'll be the dot-com king!"

    WOMEN'S STUDIES
    Susan B. Anthony
    knew to rock the boat.
    Carrie Chapman Catt told the ladies they could vote.
    Stanton was relentless,
    and Steinem unforgiving.
    So how did we end up with Martha Stewart Living?

    PHILOSOPHY
    Nietzsche dissed God,
    Plato was The Word,
    Hume was a skeptic, and Sartre was absurd.
    Marx copped from Hegel,
    Kant caused a buzz,
    Descartes thought a lot (and therefore he was).

    POLITICAL SCIENCE
    One dude, one vote,
    No one on the take.
    The democratic system guarantees a fair shake.
    But forget the spin,
    The country's been had.
    It all comes down to a perforated chad.

    ENGLISH LIT
    Fitzgerald dug the rich,
    Dickens liked the poor,
    Milton lost his Paradise (and still remained a snore).
    The Brontes were sista's,
    Byron was a fop,
    And Joyce would start a sentence that he really couldn't stop.

    MUSIC APPRECIATION
    Mozart wrote 'em large,
    Verdi had 'em sing,
    Ludwig banged out awesome stuff (and couldn't hear a thing!).
    Their melodies were marvels,
    Their genius was sublime,
    Then Napster copped their copyrights, and didn't pay a dime.

    WORLD HISTORY
    The Ottoman Empire
    didn't know jack,
    Their ever-growing borders made 'em easy to attack.
    Then Suleiman died,
    His armies got cuffed,
    And Otto took a powder while da' Turkey got stuffed

    PLANETARY SCIENCE
    Mountains made of magma,
    Coral in our seas,
    Biospheric beauty that could bring you to your knees.
    For such a fertile planet,
    We really shouldn't boast.
    According to astronomers, the ozone layer's toast.