“If Tegan And Sara Need Some Hard Dick, Hit Me Up,” Tweeted Tyler, the Creator.
Now: There are a few things I would like you to do with this Tweet. For one, I would like you to listen to it. No, really: Hold your ear up to the computer monitor. Turn the volume up as far as it can go. You got speakers? Plug those in, too. Really zone in. Squeeze your eyes shut. Click through to the original, and listen to that!
Now: Does this Tweet, as far as you can tell, make ANY MUSIC AT ALL? No? Phew! I thought I was alone, in not hearing music when I looked at this delightful Tweet from Tyler, the Creator!
And this means a few things. For example: That the “it’s all about the music” pose is a fucking lie. That all of the boys who are snickering at this, and/or applauding it (and oh, yes, there were plenty) are not enjoying the “music.” They’re enjoying the misogyny. They’re enjoying the suggestion that uppity women should have a dick shoved in them to shut them up. They’re enjoying the misogyny. Because this shit ain’t music. It’s a fucking Tweet. Tweets, it’s my understanding, are distinctively unmusical. And furthermore: That Tyler’s delightful “humor” is not the point. Because this shit ain’t delightful “humor.” It’s not unpredictable. It’s not innovative. It’s not, under any circumstances, edgy.
The problems that I’ve had with most of the music scenes I am involved in, especially the punk scene and the underground hip hop scene, I notice that there are very functionalist ideas that hold everything together between people. The idea that there is misogyny and homophobia in both scenes is brushed aside and re-named “artist’s integrity”, because it is believed that without it the scene wouldn’t function smoothly or normally. And since most of the musicians in these scenes are predominantly straight men, this has never been a huge problem. It is so common, it is to be expected..I, being a woman and queer, am unnerved and continuously feel ostracized in a community built on music that I love. And I’m expected to suck it up and “grow thicker skin”, because I am a minority in the punk and hip hop scene, and that gets in the way of some straight guy’s idea of what music should be.
Oh and odd future sucks. Untalented cunts.
A call for change
When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry? When will they be treated with the same seriousness as racist and anti-Semitic offenses? While an artist who can barely get a sentence fragment out without using homophobic slurs is celebrated on the cover of every magazine, blog and newspaper, I’m disheartened that any self-respecting human being could stand in support with a message so vile.
As journalists and colleagues defend, excuse and congratulate ‘Tyler, the Creator,’ I find it impossible not to comment. In any other industry would I be expected to tolerate, overlook and find deeper meaning in this kid’s sickening rhetoric? Why should I care about this music or its “brilliance” when the message is so repulsive and irresponsible? There is much that upsets me in this world, and this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve drafted an open letter or complaint, but in the past I’ve found an opinion – some like-minded commentary – that let me rest assured that my outrage, my voice, had been accounted for. Not this time.
If any of the bands whose records are held in similar esteem as Goblin had lyrics littered with rape fantasies and slurs, would they be labeled hate mongers? I realize I could ask that question of DOZENS of other artists, but is Tyler exempt because people are afraid of the backlash? The inevitable claim that detractors are being racist, or the brush-off that not “getting it” would indicate that you’re “old” (or a faggot)? Because, the more I think about it, the more I think people don’t actually want to go up against this particular bully because he’s popular. Who sticks up for women and gay people now? It seems entirely uncool to do so in the indie rock world, and I’ll argue that point with ANYONE.
No genre is without its controversial and offensive characters- I’m not naive. I’ve asked myself a thousand times why this is pushing me over the edge. Maybe it’s the access to him (his grotesque twitter, etc). Maybe it’s because I’m a human being, both a girl and a lesbian. Maybe it’s because my mom has spent her whole adult life working with teenage girls who were victims of sexual assault. Maybe it’s because in this case I don’t think race or class actually has anything to do with his hateful message but has EVERYTHING to do with why everyone refuses to admonish him for that message.
It is not without great hesitation and hand wringing that I enter into the discourse about Tyler, the media who glorifies and excuses misogyny and homophobia, and the community of artists that doesn’t seem remotely bothered by it. I can only hope that someone reading this might be inspired to speak out. At the very least, I will know that my voice is on record.