(To be clear, I have read the Politics and Rock'n'Roll Thread, and I feel that this discussion is a different topic. If any Mods disagre, feel free to take down post. Thanks.)
New Kid On The Block here. And I'm hangin' tough. All bad jokes aside, I have a serious question here; I've been perusing some of the discussions here at the Hideout and an interesting subject came up in the Music thread "Any Glam Rock Fans Around Here?", but since it was off-topic it hasn't been fully explored.
The subject came up when someone mentioned that they were a fan of Gary Glitter, and another poster said basically 'I can't listen to him cuz he diddles kids'. Someone else pitched in that Ike beat up Tina, a buncha old Country and Western dudes were really racist, and so on and so on, and that if we judged the music we listen to by the character of the person/people making the music, we probably wouldn't listen to much of anything.
So where do you guys draw the line? Is it Skrewdriver and other racists? Is it hardcore vegans who sing about killing drug dealers? Is it patriotic Neo-Country music? Or is it anything goes, if it sounds good I listen to it?
Me personally, I don't have any hard and fast rules, but I can make generalizations. For instance- racist music; I listen to some music that is blatantly racist and/or promotes racism, even though I pretty much disagree with the ideology as a whole. However, I'm in the planning stages of putting together a podcast and I've made a conscious decision to NOT include any bands that have a racist agenda- I've also made it a point to not buy/wear shirts/pins/patches from racist bands. So when it comes to that subject, I may listen to racist music (on occasion- I've been re-tooling my Ipod and I've been finding that the racist bands haven't made it back on yet- it seems that for every racist band that plays music I like there's two or three bands who happen to not be racist whose music I like better...) I will not promote racist music/bands.
But the pedophile thing is one I can't abide by- maybe it's because I've spent a little too much time in jail, or maybe because it's because I have a kid of my own, but if I know or find out an artist is a pedophile/child molester, it ruins it for me. Which sucks, cuz Michael Jackson could be sooo good if I didn't know that he bangs little kids drunk on jesus juice.
So how do you guys feel about the politics of bands you listen to or the people in the bands?
You don't know what most people are thinking. If you add homophobia and misogyny to that list of bigotry and shit then you don't have much left. And what symbols count? Confederate flags make great symbols for many who think Jumping Jim Crow was funny and also love 'freedom'. But they aren't exactly swastikas are they?
I think everyone has a responsibility to make sure they don't support what they don't agree with. So I get really irritated when I meet hipsters who love dancehall. People who would go off on one if you said something against gays or women but turn a blind eye when black people make songs about beating the former and abusing the latter just so they appear worldly.
I would try and avoid where possible buying anything from any artist that made a name for being racist, homophobic, promoting violence against women or children. I wouldn't wear a tshirt with anything like that on for sure. But buying a Garry Glitter CD would be OK if I thought he was any good. The cheeky shit sold the rights before he got done and so made a load of cash while the poor sap is left with rights to the most uncool music in the world.
Tricky question. I guess I draw the line when the music is used to promote unsympathetic opinions. I wouldn't buy a Skrewdriver record, but I don't have a problem reading Hamsun.
I'm pretty sure a lot of the artists whose music I love are racists, homophobes, religious nuts, misogynists and general assholes. But as long as they don't use their music to spread those views, I still enjoy the music.
That brings up another interesting point in where to draw the line- just listening to music against buying it; for instance, I listen to some Skrewdriver (and some Buju Banton)- but it's music I've downloaded (without paying). I definitely would NOT buy ANY Skrewdriver albums (even their pre-racist material) because I know that my money would go to people or groups who may use that money to further advance their ideology.
Skrewdriver is kind of a bad example though, because I don't like much of their music. I think that I was more attracted to them when I was younger because they had that outsider, taboo-ish quality. I remember in the 90's I told this black punk rock girl from Boston that I had a hhuuuugggeee crush on that I listened to Skrewdriver because I thought they were "funny" and I got my ass chewed out but good. She told me that in recent history (back then) in Boston that a large portion of the 'punk rock' kids started listening to Skrewdriver because it was "funny", like some kind of fad or something, and slowly but surely, some knucklehead used that as an in-road to convert a whole bunch of former non-racists into Hammerskins. So I guess it is a fine line, you gotta be careful with what you promote, what you support, and even the thoughts you let into your head.