The discussion around the new song and video from Lil Nas X, which features the rapper sliding down to hell on a stripper pole and giving a lap dance to Satan, has mostly focused on the allegedly shocking nature of the content. But there is nothing new about a musical artist (I use the term loosely) resorting to satanic imagery in order to generate publicity and controversy. Guys like Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie were doing it in the ’90s. Metal bands were doing it before them. Ozzy Osbourne was decapitating bats with his teeth on stage two decades before Lil Nas X was born. The fact that all of this stuff has been done before doesn’t make it any less abhorrent, but it does make it rather banal. We have reason to object to this sort of material, just no reason to be shocked by it.
We also miss the point if we are focused only on the content itself, as if it exists in a vacuum. If Lil Nas X is blazing any new trails, it is only because he is the first person to go this route less than a year after performing with Elmo on Sesame Street. With his first hit, “Old Town Road” — a song so bad that it makes you long for the traditional country stylings of Luke Bryan — Lil Nas X gained a large audience of very young children. This was no accident. The rapper and his handlers made a decision to cultivate this fan base with appearances on children’s television shows, performances at elementary schools, and even the release of a children’s book. In an interview on The View less than three months ago, he explicitly attributed his success to children.
A headline on NPR’s website, also from a few months ago, reports: “Lil Nas X Says Children Are His Core Audience Right Now, And That’s OK.” While responding to the backlash on Twitter, the artist said he “had 9 months to plan this rollout,” bragging that “ya’ll are not gonna win.”
This boast confirms that he and his record label were very intentionally building his kindergarten fanbase while planning this move into demonic and pornographic territory. Marilyn Manson wasn’t doing sing-a-longs with Elmo or appearing on The View to talk about his children’s book three months before Antichrist Superstar came out.
The record industry, along with Hollywood, has always had designs on your children. What makes this notable is how blatant it is, and how young their targets are.
Granted, it is not the fault of Lil Nas X or his label, Columbia Records, if you allowed your 5-year-old to listen to his music on repeat. That doesn’t get them off the hook. The fact that you shouldn’t have allowed them to prey on your kids doesn’t provide them a moral justification for doing it. Still, it’s worth noting the lyrics to the song that elementary schools invited Lil Nas X to come perform in person. Here’s part of the second verse: “Riding on a tractor/Lean all in my bladder/Cheated on my baby/You can go and ask her/My life is a movie/Bull riding and boobies.”
Not only is this the most aggressively stupid assemblage of words that has ever been written in the English language, it’s also not exactly family friendly. He is, after all, singing about driving his tractor while hopped up on cough syrup and alcohol, after cheating on his significant other. If you let your third grader go around singing the line “my life is a movie, bull riding and boobies,” a sizable amount of the blame must fall at your own feet.
This, again, does not excuse the music industry predators who are trying to remake your children in their own image as braindead degenerates, but it does provide a valuable learning opportunity. The lesson is that the entertainment industry, with rare exception, is not on your side. It has its own notions about what sort of person your child should be, what values he should hold, what ideas he should have, how he should speak, what he should wear, how he should conduct himself. It not only has these plans but also possesses perhaps the most powerful mechanism for enacting them. Art, even bad art, moves people in ways that no other medium can.
It’s likely that millions of children who are subscribed to the Lil Nas X YouTube channel, and allowed by foolish parents to use YouTube without supervision, were exposed to his Satan lap dance video over the weekend. YouTube puts parental filters on all kinds of videos, especially ones that contain conservative political opinions, but they didn’t put one on the video with the guy singing about performing felatio on another man while gyrating on the Devil’s lap. This doesn’t mean that all of these kids will run off and join the Satanic Temple. But it does mean that they were exposed to depraved ideas and images that they do not understand and cannot mentally filter or process. All they will know is that the message is coming from their favorite singer, the man who wrote that fun book and sang that silly song on Sesame Street, and so it can’t be that bad.
This is how the grooming process works. And it’s why you have to protect your children. Nobody else will.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.