I had a very heated discussion lately about a video of a Rap Battle. Of course, in such a battle the language is extremely rude. I am talking about the lowest, harshest and most discriminatingly evil and bad stuff I have ever heard anyone say in my life. This goes from mere insults against the people over racist comments up to extremely personal life changes and events the rappers diss each other with.

Now, I wanted to discuss about what this video made my colleagues feel, watch how they react to it and start a discussion about the topic of swearing in general, what it does with us, why it does it, and so on.

But, to my surprise, no one could really get into the discussing mood because they all were so apalled by the mere obscenety they just witnessed. It seemed to me, that they were not able to distinguish between what was being said from how/why it was being said.

I was not able to get a meta discussion about the video started, and ask the interesting questions, like how did it make you feel, why did you feel that way, is it still a form of art? why and why not?, was the language itself bad, or just the words?... I think you are getting what I wanted to discuss.

Now, for our next meeting I thought I should try to let them see how, and why it is important to be able to discuss content on a different level than structure and meta-levels of that content.

But I'm not sure how to do this. I am also aware that this might not be a exclusively philosohpical topic and not match this site, but it was the only one of the SE sites that somehow matched my problem.

Do you have any advice on how I could teach my colleagues how to do meta discussions and, more importantly, why it is so important not to be too focussed on the content of something, but also how and why it hapens the way it does?

Maybe some of you can provide some simple examples that bring out the power of being able to discuss on different levels about things (content, structure, meta, etc.) for "everyday" people, that normally are not that into that stuff (but are willing to at least look into it).

I'm really trying to get them to see, how and why I can (and I quote) "so blindly ignore, what profanity they utter and even think about setting that garbage on the same level of art as shakespeare"?

1 Answer 1


In this particular case, given that quote, you might open the conversation by pointing out the many vile insults and obscene allusions in Shakespeare's plays, and ask why we perceive those so differently from the rap battle.

You might also seek out some hardcore raps with positive messages and see how your audience reacts.

In general, your approach would be to demonstrate that the content can vary widely, even when the presentation is similar, and to challenge your audience to identify what it is they are responding to --the content, the presentation, or their own associations.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .