The thing I find tricky about the whole Tyler/Tegan thing is that, much of what Tyler seems intent on is purely offensive and cheeky. I actually feel that is a relatively “pure” and innately artistically defenseable place and don’t really get behind the need for him to “defend” it intelegently or argue it as part of a persona. I think it’s culturally a little biased to expect everyone with an artistic perspective to be able to “defend it” (I.e. Rationalize it as part of some greater continuum of art/social commentary and not actual belief in the way the world should be) to our satisfaction lest we label their art untenable. The bias I think comes from the fact that certain artists (or, in Tyler’s case, “creators”) perhaps come at the creation process more haphazardly and instinctually rather than intellectually and may not be able to “defend” the things they say and/or may not be wholly interested in it. They say it purely to say it. Does this make it bad art?
A lot of the intellectual discourse of art seems to be propelled by white, educated, upper to middle class folks, whereas a lot of this morally reprehensible and culturally challenging art seems to come from minority opinions from lower class/education levels.
There’s this thing that happens with a lot of “punk” musicians where people end up saying, “Oh, he’s actually really smart!” I feel like this is code for the fact that we perceive that he “knows what he’s doing,” that his tongue is firmly planted behind his cheek. I’ve heard Iggy Pop described this way a lot and feel myself a lot of the same thing when I hear him talk about life and art. He seems like an educated, well spoken man, and this is a contrast from the man who cuts himself open with beer bottles and gets a blowjob on stage.
The thing I dislike about this is that the way we see the art is colored by the way we see the PERSON, not it’s impact on ourselves/society. What if Iggy Pop was just a dullard and degenerate? What if, like Stiv Bators or Sid Vicious or G.G. Allen he didn’t have this elaborate intellectual distance and aesthetic appeal and simply reveled in mayhem? Odd Future seems much more in that spirit: say something offensive loudly and watch the carnage. The difference between all these guys who are indisputably icons for generations of rock and punk fans and Odd Future?
Honestly, it boils down for me to the fact that Odd Future is young, successful and black. Call it a gross oversimplification but I honestly feel like our culture gets more jumpy around issues of free speech when it’s people of color yelling the hateful shit as opposed to white people. Some of us also tend to rationalize and forgive it more readily as part of that same jumpiness (this particular diatribe being a potential example of this).
I dont think people are suggesting we revoke Tyler’s right to free speech and artistic expression. I think the point is to have him be answerable to the impact of his art. I guess my point is that, well, he is. And, in his way, he HAS answered it. The problem is that his “answer” doesn’t seem to satisfy our need to contextualize the hatefulness of it, which makes us want to label it meritless. THAT is my problem. Meaning behind things is such a crutch sometimes, such a horrible rationalization to keep us placated and keep the intellectual discourse on a certain track. I don’t see it that way.
Of course, this defensibility of the offensive is a distasteful one even for me. It can be just as smoothly applied to racist art, homophobic art, hate speech of all kinds. It means, in defending Tyler’s right to say gross shit, I’m also defending (shudder) Insane Clown Posse. Perhaps that’s my bias right there, that I find ICP and their magnet-misunderstanding ways reprehensible and find Odd Future interesting (I’d like to attribute this to the difference in the delivery and actual music/beats, but who knows honestly).
My point is not that we don’t have the right to call his works hateful and misogynist and homophobic and violent, my point is that we don’t get to revoke the label of “art” or “artistic integrity”. The art is the creation, the rest is contextualization which, while lovely, does NOT fall on the creator to provide.
Listening to the album mixes in preparation of going into the studio this 4th of July with Jim Roll, as well as full GBS session and thinking, for the first time on a LONG time, “Wow, I’m in a really awesome band.”
Occasionally the mask of practiced cynicism and diminished expectations slips momentarily.
Today has been utter vindication. The feelings of apprehension and paranoia are replaced by the knowledge that, YES, the haters are out there and we’re ruffling their feathers just by existing. I am reluctant to say they’re jealous, but the simple fact is that, we’ve been sweating and slaving just as hard as anyone and they still see us a obnoxious, “spineless” little upstarts who are tainting their precious scene with our efforts to, y’know, make a living doing the thing we love.
GOOD. I’m gunning for you, motherfuckers. This antsy little shit is going to knock you on you ass by being brighter, better, and more ballsy than you could ever imagine. I’m through catering to the bullshit tastemakers who guard the gates of this conflated little scene. No more jumping through hoops, no more pandering. You’re going to get the REAL me, with all the fury and the joy I have in my arsenal. And you will LISTEN.
Call this the most cliche internet sentiment, but thanks to the true friends who aren’t threatened by change and really, truly value hard work and sincerity. Not the costume of sincerity, the real thing. Thanks guys.
“The Weavers even on occasion performed in tuxedos (unlike the Almanacs, who had dressed informally) and their managers refused to let them perform at political venues. Because of this, the somewhat hokey string orchestra and chorus arrangements on a few of their hit numbers, and, no doubt also because of their considerable, if temporary, financial success, the Weavers incurred criticism from some progressives for supposedly compromising their political integrity. It was a tricky dilemma, but Seeger and the other Weavers felt that the imperative of getting their music and their message out to the widest possible audience amply justified these measures.”—Pete Seeger get’s shit done and don’t suffer haters.
Green Lantern is an insultingly bad movie. It’s patronizing. It’s Hollywood talking down to nerds and normos alike, acting like we’re too fucking stupid to realize that what they’re serving us is a hunk of shit with terrible dialogue, acting, directing and storytelling if it’s sparkly and features a giant space octopus. The worst part is all these self-proclaimed geeks who are eating it up.
Listen up geeks: STOP VALIDATING THESE ASSHOLE EXECUTIVES WHO THINK SUPERHEROES ARE FOR ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT MANCHILDREN. Stop giving them a pass for delivering what is essentially a defective movie just because it is built upon a premise we’re fond of. Movies, even ones based on comics, SHOULD BE GOOD. They need to be held to an objective standard and not be lauded because we “like what they were going for.” That makes us a victim of pandering.
Of COURSE Green Lantern is a big crazy idea that is difficult to translate to screen. But you know what is a potentially crazier idea than “space cop that fights evil with the power of green?” “Space god with giant hammer beats up god robot and space trolls.”
Seriously, GL is a huge letdown, made even more so given the fact that crazy Kirbyesque cosmic nonsense was done SO WELL in Thor. Seriously, did you see that movie? It ends (spoilers) with THOR WAILING ON A RAINBOW BRIDGE WITH HIS URU HAMMER SO HARD IT EXPLODED AND CREATED A BLACK HOLE. That has to be the craziest sentence ever written.
The difference in the movies is the fact that Thor treated that kind of Kirby lunacy with respect AND that it strived to be objectively a good movie. The characters all had decent emotional arcs (Thor’s admittedly was perhaps a bit truncated), the humor in it was genuinely funny, the directing and dialogue convincing. It had more than just the idea and the assembled legion of loyal geeks to carry it, it had heart, thoughtfulness, and good intentions. Also it didn’t look like a videogame cutscene.
Was Thor a responding success? Not entirely. Was it a step in the right direction as compared to GL? Oh goodness yes.
Now for the few merits of Green Lantern:
Hector Hammond is kind of great for being as bizarre as they made him. Peter Saarsgard plays him as fucking crazy as he needs to and spends much of the movie screaming girlishly.
The only redeeming feature is the astonishingly high mustache quotient.
“What has propelled us has been a desire for exceptionalism. Disappointment has fueled Jews ambition forever. If there wasn’t an older Jew saying “Is that it?” than who would do anything? “Why don’t you get a better grade?””—Marc Maron, once again proving his brilliance. God DAMN is that right on.
Feeling hopelessly, HOPELESSLY uninspired. I feel like I haven’t written anything new of any real merit in forever. It’s starting to nag at me.
The context of this is that:
a) I’m just now finishing up a new record which has yet to be released.
b) I have between 4-7 new songs for a another record ready to go (whether or not these songs are MxM songs remains to be seen).
It’s not really the lack of material or content, it’s the fact I haven’t really DONE anything with it. I know this is totally within my control, I’m just not used to being as methodical and belaboring a project. I have ideas for the next album already and this one isn’t even out and it’s driving me up a wall.
I think I’ve resolved to do a “song-a-day” thing for a little bit. Just record one complete song every day. I may or may not post the results, the recording is beside the point. It’s about getting these things out of my dreams and into my car.
When you’re drunk, things move like claymation; that jerking halting gait. Things can move too quickly, but there are steps missing, buried in the subtleties. It is bad accounting, manifest in reality.
MxM hits the road and comes back with testimonials. This tour’s theme? “Home”. Go check it out, it gets rather sweet.
We got to spend time with some old friends and new and along the way met up with some great bands and band people, like Nate Logsdon of Mumford’s, Christopher the Conquered, dewi sant and (of course) or good friend Peter Miller of We Are The Willows. Check on the wordpress to read about our adventures.
In Chicago, second day of tour. Staying with the fabulously awesome and accommodating dudes of Archie Powell and the Exports (check em out, they rule) in ExportHQ. So far things have been going swimmingly, although the heat here is almost intolerable. Tomorrow, onward to Minneapolis.
No respite for the restless. See you on the other side of greatness.