Skip to comments.So, you’re ideologically opposed to your favourite pop star. What next?
Posted on 01/16/2021 9:44:11 PM PST by nickcarraway
It can be pretty troubling to learn that your musical idol might harbour views that you consider problematic. Let our columnist guide you through the process
We’ve all seen the early signs, experienced the shock and sadness of watching a close friend or relative succumb to reactionary lies. The idea that it’s immigrants that have been underfunding the NHS since 2010, perhaps, or that it’s possible to get several hundred thousand identical fake ballots counted and verified just by lobbing them through the window of a voting station in a massive sack at 4am – all because of a grainy meme they saw on youtwatswillfallforanything.com.
There are protocols in place for such eventualities, to help you gradually ease them out of your life. The social media mute. The WhatsApp remove. The gentle but prolonged cough down the phone a week before Christmas. But when it’s one of your musical heroes turning up to cheer on the inciting of an anti-democratic terrorist insurrection by military-trained white supremacists and neo-Nazis with pipe bombs, zip ties and vans full of home-brewed napalm – as fans of chillwave Trump chump Ariel Pink are discovering this week – things get far more complicated. Unlike your family, you’re emotionally invested in them.
Discovering that a musician you’ve shared a remote empathetic relationship with has views and opinions vastly at odds with your own is an inevitable generational revelation. Liberal ‘60s blues rock fans got a shock in 1976 when Eric Clapton told the black members of his audience to leave the country, presumably leaving behind all their songs so that he still had something to play. ‘80s indie fans have been wrestling with what’s become known as the ‘But, but, but – ‘Vauxhall And I’ conundrum – aka The Morrissey Problem – for several years. Long-term punks might have thought they got off lightly with just Skrewdriver and the odd murderer, until John Lydon turned himself into a one-man Trump billboard.
Pre-internet, it was simply a case of pretending you hadn’t read the offending opinion for a couple of years until the inevitable “I was pissed” apology crept into the music press. These days, there’s a more complex process to navigate when your pop heroes, as is increasingly de rigueur, reveal their politics to be marginally to the right of Genghis Khan.
Unlike with the standard stages of grieving, you skip the shock stage, since we’re now fully anaesthetised to public figures doing Very Bad Things, and dive straight into denial. Even as their label drops them, their associates desert them and more objective commentators point out all their previous form and refusals to get their round in, you’ll shut out all the noise and try to tell yourself there must be a perfectly reasonable explanation. How could this poor, hounded kitten possibly be a fascist when they moved you so much?
At core, you’re wrestling with a clash of nostalgia and embarrassment. Fondness for a time, barely minutes before, when you could enjoy their music guilt-free, and shame at being fooled into fandom when all of Judgemental Twitter, with their perfectly attuned hatedars, could instinctively tell they were a wrong ‘un.
To convince yourself you’re not a bad person, you’ll find yourself scouring social media for posts supportive of your hero. Either you will recognise the total delusion in all the disbelieving apologists and set yourself on the road to ultimate recovery or, out of musical allegiance alone, start to entertain the excuses and begin to slip down the rabbit hole. Maybe he was misquoted, maybe there is a media plot against him, maybe we should burn democracy.
If you manage to survive your idol’s inevitable Twitter trending with any trace of fandom left, the denial stage will last until they release some new music. You’ll listen to it, it’ll be just as good as all the stuff you liked before, but now you’ll feel a little tainted, not least because there’ll be an undercurrent of victimhood in the lyrics of songs called ‘With Me Or Against Me’ and ‘Out Of Context Blues’. You’ll start to categorise their music into Before and After, trying to convince yourself that it’s okay to like their old albums, but their new material is no-go. You’ll try to go back and listen to their old albums, but they’ll feel tainted too. Bargaining and depression rolled into one.
Finally, crunch time. They do a gig. You go along, but the chat in the pub beforehand is all about The Conundrum, you keep your head down in case anyone from work sees you going in and the crowd feels different, divided. There’s a real us-vs-them mentality; the moshpit, now spattered with pushy, bald mod blokes in buttoned-down shirts that weren’t there before, is all the more fervid and devoted, while you and your liberal apologist mates all stand uncertainly at the side, too uncomfortable to get into it. The singer makes a flippant comment about the issue from the stage, half the crowd cheers and you leave before the end.
Alternatively, you could save yourself all this inevitable stress and heartache, leap straight to the acceptance stage and cut them cleanly out of your listening habits from the off. Consider their early albums as a wistful folly of your youth, but listen to the music they inspired instead. It’s the fast track to aural denazification, and boy, it feels good.
Hmm. Maybe I’ll give her a listen. I don’t normally do pop, but... What could it hurt?
Drop him or her.
Pirated CD and downloads!
That’s what the lefty says.
I believe the article is referring to Ariel Pink, the person to whom I referred.
I wouldn’t give the author any more of my time.
thank god i have zero pop stars
So tell me, they are not ideologically opposed to us? Don’t waste my time, I don’t listening to these clowns.
And if we don’t play the game, we lose.
Big CCR fan as a kid. Kills me to this day that Fogerty is a big lefty.
One of my music and songwriting heroes from way back; Todd Rundgren really disappointed me with his anti-Trump remarks and brash intolerance to anything not extreme left.
I’m thinking he would not want me coming to any of his remaining concerts.
His hateful attitude got me down a little until I remembered that no matter how rude and how nasty the Todd Rundgren of today has become in his bitter, cranky dotage, I will always have his recordings and the memory of learning about music production from those recordings. So thanks for the memory Todd. It is mine forever.
Since you like Rudngren, what's up with that song, We Gotta Get You a Woman. LOL.
That was a fun song, done at the beginning of his career.
He was toying with the Reggae rhythms with blues chords on the piano. It still shows his songwriting talent for pop music, always a catchy hook.
So here's the TL;DR FreeRepublic version:
This has nothing to do with Rundgren, but it's before my time, but you might be in the right age range to remember it.
Do you remember a song called Timothy by the Buoys from 1970? I only heard it in the last ten years. It's a good song, but apparently about three young men trapped in a cave in, who allegedly resort to cannibalism?
Good heavens! No, I don’t ever recall hearing about that story or it’s song before. That sounds morbid enough for someone like Marilyn Manson to perform onstage.
I don't know if it would be good for Manson. It never explicitly says they ate the guy, but it leaves no other conclusion. The record company later tried to claim Timothy was a mule?
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