George Graham

Playing to the Penny Section



You’ve probably never heard it but there’s a song called “Rudie Don’t Care.” I heard it in a Jamaican documentary a while back. It’s one of a whole genre of reggae music celebrating the exploits of “rude boys” – as Jamaican gang members are known.

An article published in the Daily Gleaner a few years ago notes that while some songs deplored the rude-boy culture, “record producers discovered that there was a market for the converse message and sought to glamorize the ‘rudies’ with a number of recordings.”

What, you’re wondering, does that have to do with anything?

It’s a stretch, I admit, but I thought of the song when I heard Donald Trump getting nasty on the campaign circuit the other night.

I think Trump is playing to the market that the Gleaner article identified. I guess America isn’t that different from Jamaica, after all. Both countries have residents they wouldn’t want to brag about.

I know, Trump would last about five seconds in Jamaica’s rude-boy environment. The real “rudies” would eat him alive.

But he knows a few “dirty words” and he isn’t ashamed to use them in public.

He even knows the Yiddish word for the main part of male genitalia, and he used it as a verb to insult Hillary Clinton recently. No, I am not going to repeat it here. Sandra would wash my mouth out with soap.

It’s all part of a defiant swagger that appeals to a lowbrow crowd. These are the folks who can’t complete a sentence without at least one reference to the female anatomy or the sex act. And, no, they’re not all in New Jersey. They abound across America and can be found even in polite Canada.

I suppose these folks feel resentful of the likes of Barack Obama. They are obviously irritated by the gentrification displayed by so many public figures and media personalities.

Especially when the gentrification is displayed by someone who happens to be, well, you know, not, uh, “one of us.”

So Trump is playing “rudie” and a lot of people are buying it. As we would say in Jamaica, “What a poppy show!”

Sadly, the media are playing into the goofball’s hands. Every time he says something “shocking,” TV and the press are all over it. And he reaps a rich harvest of free publicity.

It’s no accident that he is spending less on advertising than any other Republican presidential candidate and yet tops the polls by a “huge” margin.

I wish the media would really get “politically correct” and stop providing a soap box for his tomfoolery. But I know that’s not going to happen.

Click for the Gleaner article.

Click to hear the song.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for