April 24, 2008


Addition to the mailbag from up Canada way:

Hello there -

The last letter from today's mailbag (April 24) raised one bad & one
good point. The bad was that it lapsed, rather defensively, into what
another reader called "the Skrewdriver statement". Listening to
racist/homophobic/sexist/prejudiced music on strictly musical terms is
willfully ignorant of the fact that we're giving a platform to hatred.
I also notice that the I-Don't-Agree-Besides-They-Rock defense is only
used with regard to white supremacist bands. In no other genre, hell,
in no other medium is such a separation between art & artist made. No
one watches an Elia Kazan film without remembering how he ratted his
friends out to HUAC, no one reads Hunter S. Thompson without imaging
what he was high on as he wrote this paragraph, and good luck finding
a single article about TV On the Radio that doesn't mention the band's
racial make-up.

The good point that the reader/writer made, though, was the blind eye
that P-forkers turn towards the abundant sexism, homophobia, and
exploitive violence in hip-hop. My friends and I have a theory which
might explain this away: hipsters are scared of black people. Not in a
"You're Gonna Get Raped" kinda way, but in a fear-of-disapproval,
defensive way. Ergo, white borderline fascists & racists like
Nachtmystium are met with at least passive disapproval, but no one
thinks "Ayo Technology" is an homage to date rape, or Spank Rock's
coke-'n'-bitches bangers are creepily nihilistic - because god forbid
they be accused of being a hectoring, holier-than-thou white person
critiquing a minority that's gotten the shaft throughout all of
American history.

But then, when I worked in a record store in Baltimore, there was a
black transsexual who came in to chat with me ad nauseum about her
favourite Burzum records; she related to their sense of being cast out
& alienated from broader society. So if that's the flipside to the
argument, I'm totally lost.

Posted by Jessica at April 24, 2008 06:09 PM | TrackBack