Wandering Eye: Baltimore's favorite rapper is actually from D.C., Marylanders must still declare their belief in God, and more

Although it pains us to admit this here at a militantly local alt-weekly, the biggest rapper in Baltimore really isn't Young Moose or Lor Scoota, but the similarly minded Shy Glizzy of nearby Washington, D.C. We point this out because as Glizzy's profile raises thanks to his street hit 'Awwsome' and a new mixtape titled "Law 3: Now or Never," there is more being written about him and he's talking to more national publications. Glizzy explains that people in D.C. don't care about him all that much and that's probably true ("D.C. ain't proud of me at all," he told Complex recently) but Baltimore really loves this guy. Long before 'Awwesome' made it onto rap radio, it was already coming out of car windows, and Glizzy appeared on the remix of Scoota's 'Bird Flu' and has a cameo in the video for the song. Others have noticed Baltimore love of Glizzy as well. In a Pitchfork review of "Law 3," David Turner, a recent contributor to City Paper, mentioned how Glizzy and Scoota are a likely pair, and Tom Breihan, a former City Paper contributor, specifically mentioned Baltimore rap radio's massive support of 'Awwsome' in his "Law 3" review for Stereogum. It's an interesting, complex case of "street buzz" and illustrative of the contingencies of DIY gangsta rap: Glizzy might break through to the mainstream and he might as well be mainstream as far as Baltimore's concerned, but his hometown of D.C. hasn't really caught on. (Brandon Soderberg)

 

"A declaration of belief in the existence of God" is required of public officials in Maryland, according to the Free State's constitution, and the atheism ban extends as well to jurors and witnesses in courts. Similarly unconstitutional and unenforceable prohibitions on nonbelievers remain in place under the constitutions of Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, The New York Times reports, in a piece that describes the efforts of a group called Openly Secular to delete them. Smart Maryland state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County) tells the Times that Maryland's ban is "an obsolete but lingering insult to people," adding that "surely the secularists can ask the states for some basic constitutional manners," while silly Maryland state Sen. Christopher Shank (R-Washington County) says of secularists' anti-discrimination drive: "I think what they want is an affirmation that the people of the state of Maryland don't care about the Christian faith, and that is a little offensive." (Van Smith)

 

The New York Times has a curious package on "The Vanishing Male Worker," which leads off with an Annapolis electrician. Frank Walsh, 49, still pays his IBEW dues even though he hasn't worked in years. He says he won't take a fast-food gig because it doesn't pay enough for a guy with two college-age kids. So they live on his wife's part-time income. The piece then uses other anecdotes to flesh out the stats: 16 percent of prime-working age men in the U.S. are not in the workforce. That is triple the figure from 1960. The reasons, as always, are complex. The Times cites the decline of marriage (channeling the American Enterprise Institute) and the higher cost of child care (!) (Brookings). Of course, easier disability payments is one cause. There's even a cameo by Tyler Cowen, who thinks men don't work because the internet "allows men to entertain themselves and find friends and sexual partners at a much lower cost than did previous generations." But nowhere in the story do the letters NAFTA appear. There is nothing about the systematic, policy-driven retreat from industrialization, and industrial jobs, that began in the 1970s. When the nation's leaders choose the imperatives of capitalists over those of workers, wages fall and jobs migrate. It is the story of our time, it is central to this story, and it is utterly absent. Hmm. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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