An Open Letter To Mr Musician
I wanted to take a moment to discuss division and toxic behavior within the scene. I’ve witnessed on multiple occasions recently where leading musicians of noteworthy bands that I once supported while growing up have taken an incredibly disrespectful and sometimes hostile attitude with some of their fans online. I understand that in this current political and economic climate we are all irritable but some of this behavior is worth bringing attention to. I’m not going to name any names as I do not aim to contribute to the spoiled-child syndrome known as “cancel culture.” However, I do want to bring attention to the toxic behavior in order to put it on the table for discussion and hope that others and perhaps the musicians themselves may learn from the example.
One occasion, I witnessed the singer of a noteworthy pop-punk band go off on a fan who commented along the lines of “stop being a scaredy-cat and just play some shows already.” The singer replied back stating that he had lost an Aunt to the virus and was also suffering from complications after having recovered from it himself. This much I can respect. What I find much less respectful was what the singer also added in addition to his previous comment; “your ignorance and lack of understanding of science is astounding to me…” followed by a few more insults. I felt this addition was a bit heavy handed and disrespectful. I can certainly sympathize with the fact that this particular singer lost someone close and has his own personal experience to speak of. I respect that 100%. Absolutely.
What I have zero respect for is the way he interacted with
this particular fan by ridiculing him after respectfully making his point. I
personally don’t think the fan intended to be a jerk; I think it was a young
dude who just wants to go to shows again and made a poor choice of words. Now one of his idols goes and calls him an idiot rather than simply stating
his own reasons for not wanting to perform? I'm sorry, but I think that there are better ways to handle these situations.
I can understand if musicians these days are irritated and possibly deal with trolls or fans of varying maturity levels who are also irritable and stuck at home wishing shows were back. But “hello” Mr Musician, not everyone is trying to upset you. Additionally, if you are a person who puts themselves out there in the limelight, you should be able to interact with your followers in a way that is respectful and doesn’t alienate part of your own fan base.
In the business world they say that only one out of every ten people who see something they don’t like are willing to speak up about it. So it can be inferred that if one person speaks out there may be more people who feel the same way but didn’t say anything. Perhaps some musicians are willing to make a mountain out of a molehill and sacrifice a portion of their fan base if they decide they disagree in the slightest? However, some would argue that a more tactful approach would help to retain that chunk of the fans who witnesses a musicians hostile behavior towards others and decides to stop buying in to the music.
A second occasion occurred when a member of another semi-noteworthy thrash punk band made a post about wanting to do shows again and spouting the slogan used by people who think that simply wearing masks and staying home will make the virus magically disappear.
To some, it would seem as if the phrase “listen to science” were a security blanket that makes them feel all warm and snug inside without providing any actual protection. Just like the non-medical grade masks many people think they are safe in.
Let’s just go ahead and make this absolutely clear right here, we do believe 100% that this virus is real and that it is indeed a situation of concern. We personally wear masks in public out of respect for others and to prevent spraying spit particles into the air in front of us. Let’s just dispel the notion that anyone who thinks the economy should be re-opened also believes that the virus is fake. Those people might exist, but they are not us. Our stance is that this virus is indeed real, but is being played up as an instrument of fear by politicians to make a grab for more power.
What we disagree with is the foolish notion that if people would just wear masks and stay home, that this virus would magically disappear. What we also find incredibly mind-boggling is this idea that some supposed “punk rockers” are so blindly willing to accept the fear-based manipulation being employed by politicians. Obviously “punk rock” is a vague term that is open to a lot of interpretation. In our opinion, punk rockers are supposed to question authority. Not blindly bow down and lick its boots while it attempts to control us.
Fear is a tool used to manipulate. We find it incredibly
ironic that some of these same musicians who spoke out against the Bush
administration for using fear tactics surrounding 911 to trick Americans into
surrendering their rights are now the same ones who are acting as frightened
pawns for the Democratic governors who are primarily responsible for the strict lock downs imposed on their own states which are preventing these very same musicians
from being able to work. Lock-downs which have seemingly been put in place by Democratic governors who simply want to play politics and sabotage their own economies in order to blame the man in charge.
Sure, it was perfectly acceptable for Americans to jam pack into crowded supermarkets and Walmarts during a major “spike,” but socially distanced music venues with limited capacity? No way! “Listen to science!” “Stay the fuck home!”
What “science” do these people speak of? The science where
99.9% of people who contract the disease survive and most recover just fine
with little complications and many never even develop symptoms? The science
where countries that didn’t shut down and instead chose to quarantine the elderly
and vulnerable rather than putting all healthy citizens on house arrest have fewer deaths and economies
that are doing better than ever? No, not that science! The “science” that the media
frightened us all with while giving us conflicting information, misleading
Americans with sensationalist headlines, forcing the most frightened and
gullible among us to scream intolerant insults at their neighbors who are willing to
exercise their own free will and rational thought. But hey, it's all Trump's fault. Not the media's. Right?
Since when did punk rockers become the party to promote systemic abuse and oppression? Since when did punk rockers become sheep who blindly fall for the systemic propaganda aimed at controlling its population? Since when did punk rockers lose their ability to question the mainstream media narrative? Since when did “punk rockers” cease to be punk rockers?
Furthermore, when did punk rock devolve into a scene where immature idiots talk shit and argue with each other over bullshi…. ok, wait let’s just back up a moment there. We did mention “punk” is a vague term, didn’t we? Multiple conflicting characteristics can be attributed to the scene, punk can indeed be both immature and mature in different ways.
All kidding aside, it blows our minds to see that some of
our former “heroes” have fallen so hard for the fear mongering employed by our mainstream
media. So much so that some have become harbingers of hatred, division, and
hostility towards their own fan bases by hurling insults and hostility. This particular singer in this situation
made zero efforts to have a respectable, rational discussion. Electing instead to
go directly down the pathway of the hyper-aggressive douche-nozzle. Somewhere in science-fiction land a gaunt old man sits with tented fingers saying, "Good. Good. Let the hate flow through you."
How many U’s, A’s, and I’s does it take to spell sexual
harassment? How about sociopath? He initially delete the comment seconds after making it. But it was too late, we had already seen it and weren't going to let it slide. So we shared the screenshot on the thread and the argument continued.
To be fair, the singer’s comparison of the
disease to being hit by a car is not too far off base. We personally contracted
and battled the disease, and for a day or so it did feel like having been hit
by a proverbial “bus.” Just as any flu or fever would. We are relatively healthy and made a quick recovery with
no major lasting effects. We can certainly respect the fact that few people
“want” to contract the disease. But then again, no one is telling anyone to get it either. We are just saying that for many people the lock downs
are worse than the disease. Stop screaming your intolerant, media-fueled hatred at us.
He tried to backpedal at the end and claim his hostility
was due to “disrespect” directed at himself, but the reality is that he was immediately
disrespectful towards someone who respectfully posed an opposing viewpoint. Why? Because
they’re not his friend? So treating fellow humans with respect is out of the question? What's even more laughable is when this guy claimed to write "scientific based lyrics" for his band. Yeah, because punk rock is clearly well known for all those songs about science. As if his band didn't build a following largely off of politically charged music.
What makes you lose respect is when you start verbally abusing those in your scene who disagree with you and choose to exercise their own right to freedom of choice and personal liberties. Rights that you so valiantly once claimed to support. What also makes you lose respect is when you go from 0 to 100mph by verbally abusing your fans and followers immediately when posed with an alternative perspective. It also makes you look like a poser when you delete the comments with no apology after realizing that you were in fact the asshole of the story.
If you, Mr. Musician, are so afraid of the disease that you are personally willing to stay home and avoid performing until it is safe enough for your liking, you are 100% welcome to do so. What you are not entitled to do is force your opinion onto your neighbors who have the right to choose what to do with their own lives based on their own personal situations and circumstances.
When you look inside, do you see "anger and hostility?" Has "frustration got the best of" you? Stick to writing music about politics, green jackets, or whatever else you enjoy and stop screaming at your fans like a frightened teenage twat.
You're a grown-ass man. Act like one.