Letters to the Editor

Hooligan culture and progress

Thursday, August 15, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Analysts fail to understand that culture is correlated with economic growth. At present much of what Jamaicans call culture is simply hooliganism. In modern Jamaica, classifying oneself as rough is a term to evoke respect. But I continue to wonder what is really so special about being a barbarian?

Anthropologists tell us that in some former societies status was linked to physical aggression. But this was usually in violent and underdeveloped groupings. Civilised people in the modern world are secure in their abilities, and therefore less inclined to respond with sheer brawn.

Then there is the evidence of the victim complex, which manifests in some individuals assuming that their counterparts are oppressing them or think that they are inferior. This is problematic because people with an inferiority complex do not usually believe that they have autonomy over their affairs. The result of this is that they outsource the management of their lives to other people and blame them for their lack of success. These individuals rarely produce the innovations and ideas required for human flourishing.

A crisis is created when scholars in Jamaica begin to venerate hooliganism as resistance. According to this view, the vulgar culture of the masses is actually an expression of resistance to elite oppression. The result is that ordinary Jamaicans have resorted to accepting crass behaviour as the culture.

Therefore, it surprises no one that dancehall emerged to become the vanguard of Jamaican culture. Dancehall, with its barbarisn, is the music of the masses, but unfortunately its destabilising nature has infiltrated society, thus making hooliganism fashionable. Slack dancehall artistes are now so revered that scholars at The University of the West Indies think that incarcerated entertainers ought to be allowed to record in prison. People go to prison to have their privileges suspended, should not this rule apply to dancehall artistes?

So many people are afraid of being called elitist they refrain from denouncing crassness. The effect of such cowardice is that Jamaica will continue to regress, due to having a third-rate culture. No amount of economic growth will institute progress unless Jamaican culture becomes conducive to progress.

Lipton Matthews

lo_matthews@yahoo.com


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