Ya gotta love academia. Who else would over-think black metal to this extent? If you’re too lazy to read the article, here’s the money quote:
“The black metal event is a confession without need of absolution, without need of redemption,” (Niall Scott of the University of Central Lancashire) said. It is, he added, “a cleaning up of the mess of others.” He invoked the old English tradition of sin eating by means of burial cakes, in which a loaf of bread was put on a funeral bier or a corpse, and a paid member of the community would eat the bread, representing sin, to absolve and comfort the deceased.“Black metal has become the sin eater,” he intoned. “It is engaged in transgressive behavior to be rid of it.”
As a former adolescent boy, I’d like to point out to Mr. Scott that, while there may be some for whom his theory holds correct, for many the appeal of transgression is… (wait for it)… transgression itself. “I’m not supposed to do X? Watch me!” It’s all about pissing off the squares.
As an adult who still enjoys metal (in a completely unironic way, at that), I can understand the urge to dress it up in something a little more, uh, mature. In poking around the web in search of new tunes, I’ve come across some otherwise really intelligent, critically-minded writers who can’t seem to find a better put-down for someone who disagrees with them than “faggot”.
It’s depressing, really, but it seems to come with the territory. It stems from the same “rock & roll = rebellion” thing as the over-the-top “Satanic” thing. I suspect that most of the time they’re both just blatantly anti-PC middle fingers being raised by people who don’t feel like they have much control over a large portion of their lives, rather than something meant in earnest. Which is not to say that there aren’t truly homophobic devil-worshippers in the metal world, of course; I just think that most of that sort of thing is knee-jerk reaction rather than any sort of philosophical statement.
Science has long told us that eventually the sun will envelop the earth in a fiery embrace that will reduce our planet to cinders. New cosmological theories now state that we are much more likely to be crushed by the waves of overwhelming perkiness emanated by Rachael Ray long beforehand.
When did that eternally fresh-scrubbed face become affixed to every flat surface in the world? It seems I can’t make a move these days without being confronted by her eager-to-please cheerleader/deathshead rictus. She’s on TV programs (cooking, travel, and talk),books, magazines, CDs, boxes of snack crackers, airliners, smelt, surgical appliances, radial tires, abbatoirs, children’s sleepwear, roach motels, submarines, after-dinner mints, vials of methadone, harmonicas… the squinty eyes, the pert nose, the tombstone chicklet teeth are as inescapable as the “yum-o” foodgasms she emits anytime a morsel comes within three feet of her relentlessly grinning mouth.
I don’t hate Ms. Ray; I’ve never even met her, for one thing. Plus, I figure that anyone who has a dog is not completely beyond redemption. Her ubiquity, however, is working my nerves. For the love of cake, Rach, please take a long vacation. Soon.
Let’s get back to that NY Times article on the Death of Rock Radio I linked to the other day. (And thanks to Vidiot, here’s a permalink.)
You kids today! Radio used to actually work! Stations were locally owned and operated. Programming wasn’t done by computer, by demographic survey, or by committee in some airless room a thousand miles away. It was done right there at the station, often by the air staff themselves. They at least had a hand in it, anyway. And dinosaurs ruled the earth, too. *sigh*
I’m finding it really hard to feel bad for the guy who had his station switched out from underneath him. I mean, aside from the fact that he was working for Satan Clear Channel, there’s the idiotic way in which the format was decided. They hitched their cart to a fad (and a deeply stupid one at that – who the fuck actually listened to mook rock, anyway?), and intentionally alienated 50% of their potential audience (i.e., women).I’m no marketing genius, of course, but I think even I could have spotted the flaw in that plan.
“Music executives say the lack of true stars today is partly the reason. Since rap-rock acts like Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit retreated from the scene, none of the heralded bands from recent rock movements, be it garage-rock (the Strokes, the Vines) or emo (Dashboard Confessional, Thursday), connected with radio listeners or CD buyers the way their predecessors did.” Hey, I’ve got an idea: get the majors to sign some decent talent & maybe you’ll see that turn around. Or, better yet, radio could play material from independent labels. There’s plenty of great rock and roll out there, waiting to be played. It’s not gonna happen, though, because the people who make it can’t afford to hire “consultants” to buy airtime for them.
So, what’s gonna take the place of all the dick-wavers now that mook rock is officially stinkin’ up the joint? Something called Jack. Or, alternately, Bob or Charlie.
Let me get this straight: corporate radio has spent the last twenty-some years dividing their listeners up into neat little slices of pie – Urban Contemporary, Americana, Alternative*, etc. – and now they want to put the pie back together? Yeah, good luck with that, guys. I mean, back when I was a kid that’s the way our top 40 station was, and it worked really well. We grew up with that, though, and the target demographic for rock radio these days didn’t. They’ve been sequestered, listening to one genre and one genre only per station. You really think those kids weaned on Limp Bizkit and Korn are gonna stick around for Mariah Carey and Beyonce? Or vice versa? Or that either group will put up with Alan Jackson? See, with an iPod set on shuffle, the owner gets to program it. True, the songs come up in random order, but they’re all songs the owner already likes.
And hey, wasn’t Heritage Alternative (shudder) supposed to be the salvation of rock radio? KRQI made that shift less than a year and a half ago, and look at them now.
I hereby predict that Jack won’t make it that long.
*That one always confused me. When Alternative became mainstream, what exactly was it supposed to be an alternative to?
Real life is kinda wiping me out these days, so once again I have nothing for you. Unless someone can explain what it could possibly be that makes Paris Hilton “fascinating”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but she’s famous for being born rich, taking more drugs than a touring funk band, and getting boinked on videotape. Right? Am I hitting the highlights? So, what’s the big deal? We could go up to Aurora Ave. right now and I could find you several dozen working girls who, aside from the “being born rich” part, fit that bill to a T. And don't even bother trying to tell that she's "hot", because you could douse her with kerosene, strap her to a rocket and shoot her directly into the heart of the sun and she still wouldn't be anymore than "tepid" at best. Although that's not a bad idea.
How long will we tolerate this travesty? It’s time for the world at large (and People magazine in particular) to acknowledge that I am the Sexiest Man Alive. I, and no other.
What’s that? You doubt me?
Can it be possible?
Take a gander at that fine cartoon of my noble likeness, up there in the left-hand corner of this page. Note the scruffy black hair. (OK, in real life it’s actually dark brown with, um, lotsa grey in it. Just because there’s a little snow on the roof doesn’t mean the Furnace of Love isn’t still burning hot, baby. That’s right.) Gaze into the beady green eyes, like unto a pair of Lesueur peas peas floating in pools of cream of tomato soup. Dig the crazy bags underneath those heavenly orbs; yes, I’m packed and ready to go! Swoon over the Emmett Kelly nose, the lips like cherry-flavored gummi worms, the devil-may-care soul patch (guaranteed to be mostly free of food crumbs and/or vermin). Add to my ragged rugged good looks the sartorial savoir-faire of Curly Howard, the speaking voice of an inebriated Larry Fine, and the grace and tact of Moe Howard, and you will have no choice but to agree: I am the Sexiest Man Alive Or Dead!
Truly, Science Girl is the most fortunate of women.
It had to happen. Punk aerobics, punk yoga… will there be punk pilates? ‘Cause I could totally see pogoing on one of those big bouncy balls they use. It’d be kinda like a Hoppity-Hop… yeah, here we go. Somebody with some money and some talent, email me. I think I’m on to something.
Hey kids. I’ve been working on a longer piece for y’all, and while I could probably beat into some sort of shape and post it tonight, I think I’d rather take a little more time with it and actually make something out of it. Just for the change of pace, if nothing else.
In the meantime, here’s an update on what’s happening with the proposed really bad idea NASCAR track up in Snohomish. Given how entirely fucked our state’s economy is right now, I’d say this is over before it even begins. No Legislator is gonna be stupid enough to sign off on such a give-away, no matter how many beer vendor jobs it might create. This may just be wishful thinking on my part, but $250 million out of a $300 million price tag PLUS all of the road improvements being requested is more than Washington is willing to put out, much less what the state is capable of.