Enter the Babylon System
Unpacking Gun Culture from Samuel Colt to 50 Cent
A docu-style investigation of our fascination with the gun, from the perspective of the hip-hop generation.
The 2003 shooting death of Toronto community-centre worker Kempton Howard put the spotlight on hip hop’s fixation with guns. Media and police soon blamed rap music and its tales of gang life on bullet-ridden US streets for the rising use of firearms in Canadian crime. Were these songs artful accounts of a terrible truth, or a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Rodrigo Bascunan and Christian Pearce have interviewed many of the major players in the hip-hop world. As publishers of an award-winning magazine of urban culture, they’d watched rap music become a scapegoat for society’s much older and widely spread fascination with guns. What follows is their international adventure to deconstruct modern gun culture in all its manifestations. Bascunan and Pearce seek out hip-hop artists, illegal gun runners, firearms aficionados and manufacturers, museum curators, academics, politicians, video-game creators, activists, victims of gun violence and the family and friends left behind.
Somewhere between Fast Food Nation, No Logo and a Michael Moore documentary, featuring sly sidebar material and original artwork, Enter the Babylon System is part outrageous journalistic pursuit and part passionate cri de coeur for sanity in the face of a society’s obsession.
From the Hardcover edition.
- Random House of Canada, June 2010
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