Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand
There’s a certain kind of ‘growing up’ that involves realizing your own rebellion was a major perpetrator of the social ills it was railing against. This is a story about Rock & Roll.
I grew up listening to whatever. I was that normal kid, a sponge. Then I got bullied and then I got sad and then I found a few bands that a lot of kids find like Linkin Park and Tool. Later, I found modern punk at a Bomb the Music Industry! concert. Predictable shit.
Watch any interview with Kurt Cobain and then one of Nirvana’s videos back-to-back and you’ll start to see the problem. There was this dream that rock could change the world. Some myth of Woodstock where it sort of maybe did. By the nineties, smidges of social awareness produced bands who realized that promise had been bought out by greedy record execs and they made grungey, sour songs to complain about it. I came in a little later but that culture seemed like me: grungey, sour, complaining; elevated on a white horse above the world yet somehow still an underdog; perfectly removed.
But what’s the real story? Like any kind of power, no matter how self-marginalized and contrary, it’s about suppressing the minorities. A bunch of semi-affluent white boys wield guitars and wear their microphone crowns. You’ll talk about capitalism but won’t play shows in the black or brown towns. You’ll create a groupie culture that encourages young girls – often literal kids – to drink a lot and drug a lot until they’re too unconscious to protest the ‘privilege’ of backstage assaults. There was a credible article about Tool’s frontman luring 17 yr-olds a few months ago, but that got stuffed under the rug because hey, us white boys need our heroes, right?
This all seems obvious in 2018. Rocky and divided as it is, the world woke up two years ago. Battle lines are drawn. It’s a lot harder for monsters to hide. One of the necessary casualties of progress is a war against vestige emblems of the old, bad culture. So, Rock dies. Well, it was dying already – a new wave of commoditization that makes all the big bands more a voice for club drugs and t-shirt sales than any kind of supposed protest. But now the sword hits the hypocritical core – that Rock was a movement – progressive, inclusive, a force for change – and not just the more rebellious face of patriarchy.
In his last interview before he shot himself, Kurt Cobain talks about how he tried to write a song calling out the fucked-up culture of rape in rock-and-roll – ‘Polly’ – but no-one seemed to get it and everyone seemed to love it so he wrote another song called ‘Rape Me’ to try to get it through our thick skulls. The sequel didn’t sell too well.
Novel Count: 10,152 words
Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker
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Polly wants a cracker‘Polly’ – Nirvana
I think I should get off her first.