United States

Now, don’t get yourself in a tizzy (I’ve never written that word before: tizzy. I like it). Greenpeace might very well be a fine organization doing a world of good. I have no idea. Nor, really, do I care. What interests me is that this encounter was such a familiar encounter: it was consumerist.

Herein begins one of the most controversial sections of the song: The rap. Featuring an African American man in his mid 30s, audiences expect this lyrical maestro to hop on the flow and “break it down.” He evokes the muses by calling for “R-B,” but what follows can only be described as gibberish.

There was a time when the arrival of a check-cashing shop signaled the death of a neighborhood. It meant your community had strayed as far as it could get from the halcyon days, that its own financial institutions either no longer existed or were unable to serve a growing percentage of its citizens. But that was before the bottom dropped out of the economy time and again, before no-questions-asked check cashing became the norm in so many communities.