Warning- reading this could give you an STD

Think it was funny and/or disgusting when the religious right crowed that gays and lesbians caused the September 11th attacks. Well, prepare to barf again. It turns out that hip-hop and dance music can be bad for your health: Researchers link music tastes to HIV risks. I guess that means that if you just listen to classical music and have promiscuous relationships, you're in the clear, right? It was easy to laugh at this ridiculous study until a lot of publications deemed it worthy to report on. See why people don't trust the media?

Let's take a look at the background of the researcher who headed this study:

"Currently, he leads two ethnographic research projects: one explores the relationship between Hip Hop culture and ideologies of masculinity, and its effects in shaping the sexual health of ethnic minority men..."

Translation: he's already putting a lot of time and money into this study. His hyphothesis is pretty slanted and prejudiced (not just racially) to begin with plus he would look like a damn fool in the science community if he spent all that time on this and DIDN'T find there was a connection between hip-hop and sociopathic behavior.

Not that this is the first or even the most recent study to come to such easy conclusions: Study says teens who listen to raunchy songs have sex earlier The best answer to that comes from the Borowitz Report:

"Elsewhere, a study shows that teenagers who listen to music with raunchy, sexual lyrics are more likely to have sex than those who do not, while teenagers who watch "CSI" are more likely to solve crimes."

The fact is that it's not just easy to pick on hip-hop when so many self-appointed moral guardians do so and make it into an easy scapegoat but these kind of headlines also attract eyeballs. They're meant to boil the blood of soccer moms who'll then tell their kids that they can't listen to "that music." And it also helps self-perpetuate all the moral crusades against this music too. Plus since it involves s-e-x, it's a natural to attract the attention of the readers. Furthermore, it provides an easy out for parents to pinpoint what's going wrong with their kids, as opposed to harder facts about their lives.

But I have to say that these studies do inspire me to do some work on my own. I'm going to start my own study where I'm going to find out if there's a correlation between penny-ante scientists and half-baked sociological conclusions. Anyone want to fund this?

The 10 Best Debut Albums of 2009

Continuing our celebration of PopMatters' 20th anniversary, we revisit our 10 picks for the best debut albums of 2009. It turns out our selections were prescient as many of these artists have gone on to storied careers. Travel back to 2009 and see them again for the first time.


The 60 Best Albums of 2009

PopMatters turns 20 years old this October and we're beginning to celebrate our history by taking you back in time a decade ago. Obama was in the White House and the musical times were very good indeed. Revisit 2009 through its best albums.

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