Katie Couric’s Heart of Darkness

The above interview of Lil’ Wayne by Katie Couric has been hitting the Internet pretty hard since last night, and the general reaction seems to be giddy amusement. Now I am not above this (see bottom of post), but I would feel odd if I weren’t to point out the King Kong-like overtones of sociological fascination and sexual curiosity that shine through. At numerous points in the video, you can see Couric take on the role of wide-eyed colonialist who has landed on foreign shores and tries to figure out the secrets of the strange culture upon which she has come:

“What does that mean when you say, ‘I’m a gangster.’?”

“Can you take me through a little journey of your face?” (Notice how we don’t hear about the teardrops.)

“And by the way, do I call you Wayne, Weezy, Lil’?”

“Tell me about this drink, Wayne, that you like…called syrup.”

And then there is bowling scene. The hand-holding, arm-grabbing bowling scene. Without making any declarative statements about the hormonal influence on this portion of the interview, I do think it’s undeniable that, when combined with the above bits of outside-looking-in curiosity, these moments reveal something about Couric’s approach to her subject. As does this.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed this interview. At times, Couric and Wayne had a very real, respectful rapport, and Weezy comes off as very likable. But, still, there is something patronizing about Couric’s voice, about the glow in her eyes, about the way she reverts back to softening things up. Best case scenario, it’s a testament to the fact that rappers, much like pierced punk rockers, are still seen as cultural oddities that are there to be studied. Worst case scenario, it’s a bit of Bamboozled.

Either way, as I said, I am not above any of this. When Lil’ Wayne talks, I am enthralled; I cannot stop listening. And for that reason, I am also curious to know what your favorite line or scene was. Comment below…

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2 Responses to “Katie Couric’s Heart of Darkness”

  1. I thought it was a pretty good interview for someone like Couric. The honest truth…I didn’t get any of that you mentioned up top when I saw this last night. I did see the fascination part, but it was more because she didn’t know, and not patronizing. But what do I know, maybe Wayne tapped that after the bowling session.

  2. Hey WGM, I can see what you’re saying. Admittedly, as a white male, I always feel very insecure when writing about this topic, and sometimes I worry that I’m projecting my own latent stereotypes to things. That said, I really do think there was something oddly anthropologic–beyond normal journalism–about Couric’s tone and questions. As if he were a curiosity. Which I guess he sort of is, as far as wackiness goes…so hey, what do I know? Maybe I’m the Fay Wray.

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