It’s been a few days since the metal community was seemingly upended by a video depicting Phil Anselmo (Down, ex-Pantera) performing a Nazi salute and screaming “WHITE POWER” at the end of his set at Dimebash 2016. The video dropped like a nuclear bomb, bringing with it far-reaching radiation across the internet as music columnists, artists, and fans have been tearing each other apart over how strongly one should criticize or defend him. We already made our view of the situation pretty loud and clear, and thankfully our regular readers have shown their support by and large. It’s been a messy and, at times, ugly conversation overall though. As Noyan cited from Machine Head‘s Robb Flynn on the topic, more popular and mainstream sites like Blabbermouth and Metalsucks had to shut down the comments (though it appears they’re active now) on their own articles on the subject due to the furor that erupted from those defending him and attacking everyone else around them. And on our post, even though we strongly believe in free speech and stand against censorship of ideas and opinions, we felt the need to delete some comments that we found particularly hateful towards other metal fans who actually read our site regularly and unproductive to any discussion whatsoever (such as lengthy justifications for eugenics and segregated societies).

Because so many of us who are accustomed to the ways of the internet and internet comments have witnessed this kind of thing play out time and time again, I think many of us have developed a kind of jaded and cynical view to these types of situations. Dissenters throw out words and phrases like “hipster,” “sjw,” “political correctness,” and generally bemoan something they feel they’ve lost in the “scene.” They feel they’re being put on the defensive more and more often by other sectors of the metal community – ones they would label as “poseur hipsters” who are turning metal into a joke that simultaneously takes itself too seriously and doesn’t value what they view as the foundations and traditions of the music (and those who were responsible for building it) seriously enough.

Meanwhile, those of us on the other end tend to merely roll our eyes, label them as obsolete racist cretins who are clinging onto the worst aspects of the scene and ultimately holding it back, and largely dismiss them. And though personally I (as well as pretty much everyone involved with this website) certainly fall more into the latter category than former, I recognize that both sides of the argument are ultimately myopic and too simple/broad. When we fight about these things, we’re all taking the easy way out by focusing solely on the target at hand and not at all why we fight about these things to begin with. We should be asking ourselves, Why does this happen? Why do we care so much about the actions of these people we don’t know? Why do we get so offended and outraged when our preconceived notions and admiration for these people are questioned? And mostly, why is it that we suck so much at talking about any of this?

Why We Actively Resist Nonconforming Information

Before I continue, I feel the need to state that everything going forward is based on the premise that the vast majority of people involved in this community and these conversations – including those who have either come to Anselmo’s defense or have attacked individuals and sites who have criticized – are not “actively” racist (I’ll circle back to this later on to make the distinction between active and passive racism) individuals. I truly don’t believe that’s the case for this community, for people who listen to metal, or for people who listen to and have enjoyed the music Anselmo has been a part of. So for everything beyond this, I am speaking about this overarching majority of people and not the relatively minute (albeit very vocal) group of people who are actively commenting on articles with putrid and backwards views on race, tribalism, or whatever the fuck terminology these hateful people use to justify the premise of “white power” and all that it entails.

To understand why so many people somehow always manage to excuse or rationalize the behavior of certain individuals, there’s a little bit of pop psychology and terminology we need to establish. Most people are either familiar with or have at least heard the term cognitive dissonance at some point in their life. What this is referring to is the way in which we process and react to information that contradicts information or attitudes we’ve already internalized to be true. For instance, if you are friends with someone you believe to be a good, kind person but then see them be incredibly rude or nasty to someone else, you have suddenly encountered a conflict of behaviors, which will produce a sense of discomfort that needs to be resolved. When faced with conflicting or nonconforming information, we either have to alter our original belief or find a way to discount or negate this new information.

Perhaps you’re someone who is easily swayed by new information and would immediately change your view of your friend to conclude that he or she is maybe not as kind or good as you thought. Maybe you would even conclude that your friend is, in fact, not kind to everyone, but because they are kind to you that their behavior is acceptable to you. More likely than not though, if this is a belief you hold strongly, then you will opt to take the latter option. You might conclude that your friend was just in a bad mood or that perhaps they were provoked somehow. You might seek more information or context to help support your belief. Ultimately, you will attempt to rationalize this information so it conforms with your existing belief that this person you are friends with is, in fact, a good and kind individual.

There are many important psychological, sociological, and evolutionary reasons why we do this, pretty much all of which I am not at all qualified to discuss at length. But it’s not difficult to see why it might be important that we not take every piece of information that conflicts with what we’ve already experienced or believed and simply overwrite what was there. Cognitive dissonance and how we react to it is not inherently a negative thing, but it’s useful in explaining why it’s so difficult for us to deal with and have discussions about events and individuals we have strong, long-entrenched feelings about.

How The Identity Politics of Metal Makes These Discussions Especially Difficult

In the case of Phil Anselmo, there are several layers of cognitive dissonance that fans have had to go through when confronted with the reality of him performing a gesture and saying something that is universally regarded to be symbolic of prejudice and violence against racial minorities. Not only is Anselmo one of the most ubiquitous and recognizable names in the history of the genre (obtaining icon status for many), but it’s also the fact that it’s metal itself we’re talking about that makes the bond even stronger. I unfortunately don’t have any studies or solid evidence to back up this claim (I don’t believe such studies even exist), but I don’t think it’s at all controversial to say that fans of metal, in general, form a personal identity that is far more closely associated with the music, the artists, and the communities that form around it than almost any other genre of music. Even in a time when we’ve seen an overall flattening of personal identity as tied to any specific genre of music or subculture around it, the things that fans of metal value, the personal aesthetic choices they make, and the kind of people they’re more likely to consider friends and socialize with are much more directly related to the music they listen to and the values they feel it embodies than those who listen to primarily or identify first as fans of most other kinds of music (hardcore and hip-hop probably fall into this category as well though).

If you’re a fan of metal, a fan of Phil Anselmo, a fan of Pantera – one of the most relentlessly popular metal groups in existence that has inspired thousands upon thousands of kids over multiple generations to pick up a guitar, headbang until their necks hurt, scream until their vocal chords are raw, and brought them into an entire subset of music and community associated with it – and you are confronted with physical, recorded evidence of the man that represents so much to you, it’s going to be a particularly jarring bit of cognitive dissonance to reconcile. Not only that, but you listen to a genre of music that, although has seen a general decrease in stereotyped beliefs about the music as violent and hateful and its fans along with it, still has a persistent negative association tied to it for huge swaths of the population. If you’re this person, and you start seeing large metal publications and websites condemning Anselmo, other artists and bands in the community following suit, and countless other people, it can be difficult to not feel like you are personally under attack for the music and people you have so closely aligned yourself to. It can feel like your entire identity is under attack, that you are being told not only that Phil Anselmo is a racist, but that, by logic, you are a racist for wanting to support him and listening to his music.

Derek-Zoolander-Asks-Who-Am-I-Zoolander

And that’s a piece of cognitive dissonance you surely can’t abide. You know you aren’t a racist or a hateful person! From there, the rationalization becomes less focused on Anselmo, who by this time isn’t the primary point of conflicting ideas or beliefs, and outward towards the people and institutions that, either implicitly or explicitly, are saying you are a racist and causing you to go into a defensive crouch. You now have to rationalize away what they’re saying as false in order to maintain your own cognitive order. The reason these people are attacking you about these things – about racism, about sexism, about homophobia, and about other things in metal and the community that they find distasteful – is because they’re not “true” metal fans. They must be some new wave of liberal, overly politically-correct hipsters who feel the need to tell everyone else what they can and can’t listen to. They’re a lame morality police who are destroying the integrity of the music and scene by attacking it from within. And it’s up to you and fans like you to defend the music and your identities from this insurrection. Racism isn’t the problem in metal. It’s these damn Tumblr keyboard warriors.

Now, obviously I don’t believe any of this, and this is a gross generalization of groups of people who I don’t believe are monolithic in opinion and nature. But I use this example as a way to illustrate not only how easy it is to logically go down this train of thought, but to show how the identity politics of communities like those found in metal naturally creates a disincentive towards the kind of introspection necessary to break through these kinds of cognitive dissonance and rationalization cycles. It’s not an excuse or rationalization itself for their behavior, but it’s an explanation, one that’s necessary to understand in order to not feed into it and create a complete negative feedback loop of shit like we’ve seen this past week.

The Way We View Our Idols Makes Us Way More Prone To This

Aside from everything I’ve already mentioned, what makes situations like these so difficult to discuss rationally is in the way that we view and treat the artists, entertainers, athletes, and celebrities who fill our lives and occupy so much of our time and admiration. It’s inevitable that the people we look to most for inspiration, be it creative or otherwise, will be those who we tend to also view with the rosiest-tinted glasses. Most of these people are smart enough to have carefully-managed public personas to help maintain and cultivate this ideal vision to their fans. But even the most honest, open, and “down-to-earth” of the people we follow and idolize aren’t really what they seem. None of us get the full picture because none of us want it. We don’t want to see the flaws, insecurities, and mistakes of them out in the open that make them like the rest of us (or if we do, only just enough and innocuous enough to have them feel “relatable”). But this act of delusion just leaves us more prone to these bouts of cognitive dissonance when our idols inevitably slip up, and it makes us far more likely to rationalize and excuse behavior we normally wouldn’t.

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Case in point: the fact that it’s 2016 and this is the first time the metal community appears to be having a serious discussion about Phil Anselmo despite all evidence pointing to him having openly displayed this kind of behavior for literally decades. Axl over at Metalsucks actually did a pretty admirable job of laying all of this out chronologically in a way I haven’t seen anyone else do. If it proves anything, it’s that none of this should be a huge shock to the metal community at large, nor should it have taken us this long to finally be calling him out on it en masse. Chris R., the now infamous individual who uploaded the video at the heart of all of this, as well as Robb Flynn in his video denouncing Anselmo, both cited being afraid to call out Anselmo because of his status as a larger-than-life figure in metal history and the community. He’s a legend, and one does not knock a legend down a few pegs without some serious blowback.

But why? Why do we allow ourselves to be so enraptured by these people that we allow ourselves to become either so blinded to their faults? We would all be so much better off overall if we could accept that the people we admire or look up to in music, film, sports, or elsewhere are incredibly flawed like the rest of us and probably really unlikable in certain respects. They might be nice, but they’re probably fucked up in some way. And that’s okay! It’s okay to admit that while still appreciating what they’ve contributed artistically or whatnot (more on that shortly). But we need to be honest with ourselves about the people we look up to, and turning a blind eye or making excuses ultimately does no one any good. We need to hold others accountable, but first and foremost, we need to hold ourselves accountable and call people out when they do stupid or offensive things. No one person can be made above that.

There Is No Such Thing As Moral Purity

While I’ve been focusing a lot on the people who are more likely to defend the actions of people like Anselmo, we’re all guilty of blind idol worship. Whether you like it or not, your fave is problematic. No one is immune to this. Fuck, Beyoncé isn’t immune to this. You might quibble with the entire premise of some of these arguments, and certainly some of these things are more blatant, explicit, or serious than others, but the more that we can all accept that 1) our own personal feelings, experiences, and morality do not encompass the entire scope of feelings, experiences, and morality for everyone; that 2) not finding something personally offensive does not automatically render the thing non-offensive; that 3) that we all do offensive shit and screw up occasionally; and that 4) that’s okay because we’re humans and it’s okay to admit to screwing up, the better off we will all be. We will be happier, less prone to escalated conflict, and it means we can actually talk about the issues at the root of these controversies rather than the validity of the controversies themselves.

Is Phil Anselmo a hardcore racist? I can’t say for sure, though there’s certainly a wealth of evidence of him performing acts that many would construe as racist. He certainly has done racist things that he needs to be held accountable for. Regardless of those facts, the underlying issues present in all of this – the idea that there is a strain within the music we devote so much time to that seeks to consolidate the considerable power that the white race has to continue the systemic inequalities against minority races – is something that needs to be discussed, picked apart, and talked through in the community at large.

And for those who think they can somehow rise above these controversies by simply dumping anyone they find controversial or offensive, you’re also deluding yourselves. No one can completely wash their hands clean of these things, nor should you. Shortly after the Anselmo story broke, one of our writers publicly asked if he should throw away his Down shirt and essentially disassociate himself with the band and their music despite loving their albums. We already broached this topic in our post on separating art from the artist, but I personally feel it’s largely unproductive to completely disown the work and music of someone because of their personal controversies. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, and ultimately it’s up to each individual to determine their comfort in each case, but rather than try to achieve a moral purity that’s utterly unattainable, I feel we should instead demand better of them and stay on their case while still being able to appreciate their body of work. To only do the opposite by completely disowning/discrediting the artist, their work, and anyone who still follows them not only makes you appear stuck up, but it’s actively erasing yourself from the conversation around it.

How To Not Suck As Much The Next Time This Happens

Look, at the end of the day, these kinds of things suck. The things that these people do suck, oftentimes their reactions to being called out for them suck (not even going to touch that Anselmo “apology” video), and the ways we deal with them and talk about them suck. I’m under no illusion that we’re going to turn internet comment sections and social media threads into a bastion of intellectual and well-reasoned discussion of incredibly complex issues. But if we all at least become a little bit more aware of what we’re doing when these things transpire, what kinds of logical thought patterns we naturally retreat into, and stop simply trying to out-moralize the other and come out on top looking the best, we might all be a little less angry and a little more able to cope with these situations as a community in a way that’s ultimately productive and unifying rather than utterly divisive.

Once again, I’m not talking about the “true believers,” the ones who in this case are through-and-through white supremacists with real racial prejudices, the ones who were seemingly laying low all this time and saw this as a kind of awful racist Bat-signal to come out and spout their nonsense (even the ones who attempt to couch their claims in rational arguments using “science,” psychology, sociology, or whatever are spouting nonsense informed by an incredibly limited view of how the world and humanity works). Arguing with them will rarely, if ever, lead to thoughtful, productive conversation. But there’s a difference between active and passive racism. Passive racism doesn’t actively promote language or action that is threatening or harmful to racial minorities, but it is one that is implicit in it and its continuation and proliferation by either refusing to acknowledge it or condemn it. In some ways, passive racism is more detrimental in the long run because it’s more difficult to spot and much easier to fall into without even being cognizant of it. But it’s also what makes it more possible to address and engage.

So, to those people, or to anyone who feels that they’re being alienated, attacked, and shut out of the greater metal community, I say this. We are not the enemy. We are as much fans of this music as you are. It is a part of us, a part of our identity. But we also acknowledge that there are parts of this music’s history, parts of the community, that are not perfect. There are problems, and most of these problems are not constricted or limited to this community, but as parts of that community we feel we have both the ability and the obligation to question it, to criticize it, and to form dialogues about it in hopes that we can improve it over time. It is to our advantage to be vibrant, welcoming, and accepting of a wide variety of people from different backgrounds, different races, different sexualities, different genders. It’s how you keep a music alive, how you continue to bring in people who will do new and amazing things to push the genre forward, to keep the Golden Age of Metal going, and how to ensure there will be future golden ages as well. We don’t want to shut you out. We don’t want to tell you what you can and cannot listen to or do. You are a part of this as much as we are. But we will continue to bring these issues to light that are not welcome in any community or artform in this day and age, not because they are present only in metal, but because as a part of the greater metal community we don’t want those things to be a part of us. We are on equal footing, and we can disagree vehemently about many things while still believing all of that.

To the rest of us though, I also say this. We also have to be better. Not only do we need to call people out when they do problematic things, but we can’t stop there. We need to talk about it and be better about communicating why it’s problematic. We need to engage more and dismiss less. And we need to do so without acting like we’re morally above the discussion. None of us are immune to these issues. This isn’t a call for everyone to be Kumbaya and engage in some new-age understanding and forgiveness bullshit. That doesn’t exist. But we can all do better. We must do better.

Comments

28 Responses

  1. karlo

    a great article and one that raises several items for discussion. i think you captured why passive racists might leap to anselmo’s (or similar) defence given the circumstances, though i’m not sure i agree that more open dialogue will fix the problem.

    as you quite rightly pointed out, people form extreme emotional connections to their idols and, as you say, interpret attacks on them as attacks on themselves. so when people are reacting from a point of emotional and cognitive distress, they’re not receptive or open to rational, logical discussions. it’s near impossible in many cases to make them see + understand your perspective, and oftentimes the harder you try the more you push them into their defensive stance, drawing more heated responses

    i do agree though that those on ‘our’ side of the debate need to also be less dismissive. of course when something fucked up happens that needs to be called out, but at the same time acting holier than thou can further disillusion any that we’re trying to sway, back-firing on any attempts at achieving greater reconciliation within the community and just strengthening this divide. i know that generally it’s not so black and white, but i feel when an issue like this comes to the forefront people often respond by firmly picking a side and going at it.

    Reply
    • Nayon

      While I generally agree with what you said, there’s one problem – the people on the aggressor side are often relentless, and people defending can get tired of explaining to others why certain things are not ok and why it’s not cool to say “why can’t we own black people anymore?” and stuff like that. There are only so many times you can argue with someone who’s clearly arguing in bad faith before you just give up on discourse and start becoming more dismissive. People don’t come into every conversation with a fresh outlook and 0 baggage. When 90% of the people you interact with on the other side have absolutely no intention to hear you out and are just throwing racial slurs and ridiculous shit at you while you’re trying to go “ok let’s be level headed and establish some guidelines for discourse here”, at some point you just go “you know what? fuck it, fuck you and your bullshit”.

      It’s kind of like a crowd-sourced version of gish-galloping ( http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gish_Gallop ), many people throwing thoughtless/dispassionate bullshit at you constantly to the point that you just can’t respond to all of it over and over again.

      Reply
      • karlo

        noyan i completely agree with you on that, and that’s what i meant when i said that i dont think open dialogue is enough/is the solution – because as you say, often the aggressors aren’t open to it and will just argue in bad faith.

        i mean if we take your article from the other day, i think that was a perfect example. you responded in a level-headed manner to those (few) who disagreed, but were trying to have a discussion around it. when it came to the horrible ones you either deleted them, or left them there as a testament to how bad they’re making themselves and those they defend look, without responding in an inflammatory manner that’s going to provoke even more extreme responses.

        i think a couple issues are 1) starting off coming across as too high and mighty (not saying the blog have done this, but i’ve seen others do it) and losing the portion of people you might be able to sway and 2) getting involved in a competition of who can insult the other most, because that helps nobody and just makes everyone look worse

      • Eclecticore

        The one thing that I will definitely concede about my argument, and I don’t really have a response to it, is the idea that we “need” to explain racism to people. This is particularly true when you see people of color challenged aggressively by these same exact kind of comments and people expecting them to spend their time “educating” them about things like white privilege.

        I agree that we really shouldn’t need to explain and re-explain and constantly defend these issues to people, especially those who do not appear interested in actually hearing the answer other than to turn it around and twist it to fit their own narrative. But I just don’t know how else to go about it without simply throwing our hands in the air to everything and saying fuck it and retreating to our corner. Like I said, removing ourselves from the conversation entirely just gives everyone else more space to claim.

      • Nayon

        Yeah I agree so I don’t know what the solution is. Gotta keep fighting the good fight for as long as you can tolerate.

      • Ein Sophistry

        This strikes me as a point at which those of us who want to be allies to the oppressed but are not ourselves members of oppressed groups can step up to the plate and do some tangible good. In many ways, of course, the oppressed are the best possible teachers when it comes to the harm oppression causes, but they’re certainly under no obligation to take on this role; they’ve got plenty of shit to deal with already. Still, the teaching needs to get done, and while unoppressed allies might not be best positioned to understand the harm of oppression in all its lived exigency and visceral detail, we (I speak of myself and of whomever else “unoppressed” properly applies) might, eo ipso, be better positioned to understand the perspectives of critics and thus to meet them where they are and lead them more effectively to better informed views.

        Of course, dealing with inveterate racists, flamebaiters, concern-trolls, etc. is going to eventually exhaust even those who don’t also have to deal with the ugly realities of lived oppression, but I think it’s worth keeping in mind, as a sort of fuel reserve, that many of these exchanges unfold on public platforms and that, consequently, their potential effects may extend rather far beyond whatever influence they ultimately have on the focal interlocutor. They’ll be read by many who will not be nearly so dead-set in their thoughts and ways, many who may just not know what to think. These folk will be attending to not just the nuts and bolts of the arguments, but the manner in which they’re dressed, the tone with which they’re presented and defended (or not defended). IMO, we need to better appreciate the sorts of unintended messages we may be sending these potential allies when we choose to respond to, e.g., coolly-worded scientific-sounding racialist bullshit with silence, censure, or exasperated outbursts. It’s a dirty job, tearing down these facades with pointed critique, but, for the moment at least, it’s a job that needs doing.

  2. MotherFatherMonster

    The article is on point, as always. But I still have one problem ,and hopefully you can help. The term ‘cultural appropriation’ seems to be thrown around like confetti everywhere and I really don’t understand why. I understand that misusing certain portions of another culture is problematic, but if we are to condemn any and all participation in foreign culture, where do the dialogue and the meeting of cultures, which most of us can agree on being essential in the struggle for a better society, begin? Even the term cultural appropriation itself, from my perspective, segregates cultures and societies by blocking people out of things that might interest them and broaden their horizon rather than welcoming them in and helping them discover new facettes of human existence.

    Maybe I am just not viewing this from the right perspective, and I really can’t claim any moral or other superiority. I just want to know how to appropriately deal with this particular problem.

    Reply
    • Nayon

      I think the difference between cultural appropriation and appreciation is whether you respect the roots of the thing you take or just stereotype it to hell.
      Example:
      Having latin influences in your music is fine, wearing a poncho and cheesy mustache while doing so is kind of disrespectful.

      Sometimes the line is very thin and it’s quite hard to tell, and I think there is no right answer because different people will take different amounts of offense, so you can’t really make everyone happy, but I think intent and respect really matter.

      Reply
      • MotherFatherMonster

        Thanks for the answer, really appreciate it!
        Yeah, I figured as much, you have to be aware of your own intentions and motives for exploring different cultures.
        In the end, the whole debate is just really fatiguing to me since a lot of people on both sides just throw around their arguments without knowing better or considering the true meaning and connections behind what they just said (or typed). At least there are still a lot of people with whom it is possible to discuss these topics, and the last few days made me respect you guys even more.

      • Eclecticore

        Yeah, it’s one of those things that’s really difficult to explain and really necessitates the same kind of conversations that I talk about us being bad at. And I agree that everyone gets really fatigued by it quickly. I’m certainly guilty of stepping away and ignoring confrontation and engaging people when it comes to these things. There’s no easy way to do it. But given the alternative of how things are now, I think it’s at least worth a shot to try to be better about it.

        Thanks for reading and commenting!

        -Nick

  3. C.w. Manson

    Another hipster article. Shut the fuck up already. “he has to be held accountable” who the fuck do you people think you are? Always trying to dictate everyone’s lives. This is why metalheads didn’t want these fuckin hipsters invading the scene. Oh lets make the metal scene safe for everyone. Fuckin pansies.

    Reply
    • Eclecticore

      That’s…are you being serious? Because, man, I don’t even know what to say to you if you read this article and the comments and came away with that.

      Have fun with your shitty, limited and selfish worldview.

      Reply
    • Eclecticore

      Like, you basically read a thing and did the exact thing that I completely deconstruct and try to show is utterly unproductive and unhelpful to anyone.

      You might disagree with some of the stuff I say in it, but at least try to understand the point of it rather than just automatically going to the “sjw hipster” line. That just makes you look like you don’t understand reading.

      Reply
    • Eclecticore

      Actually, you know what? I do have a legitimate question. If you say no one has a right to make someone accountable for using a Nazi salute and shouting “white power” in public, do you think there is any circumstance in which a musician or public figure should face public repercussions for their actions? Do you say this because you specifically don’t believe what Anselmo did was racist or that it’s not anyone’s place ever to judge someone else for their beliefs and actions?

      Reply
      • C.w. Manson

        Was someone physically hurt? Did those two words cause a mob to run outside and start attacking every non white they saw? No. Now a question for you, in this narcissistic self absorbed generation of the look at me’s, would you say this is just a ridiculous thing being blown out of proportion just for a bunch of nobodies to gain notoriety? Just like everything else?

      • Eclecticore

        No, but I’m not sure why you seem to believe that’s the sole qualification for unacceptable behavior. Racist language is still racist even if it’s not followed by physical violence. If someone of color were in the audience or watched the video, they would interpret that as an inherent verbal threat to them.

        I think you’re conflating clickbait/sensationalism with addressing an actual issue that people care about. I’ve already gone into great length about how lots of people and media outlets can take a story and blow it way out of proportion, often co-opting it in place of other issues that don’t make sense (https://www.heavyblogisheavy.com/2015/11/23/the-vital-remains-cop-story-is-everything-that-is-dumb-about-news-in-the-clickbait-era/). In this case though, there really isn’t any confusion here in terms of message, as far as I can tell. Every single media outlet I’ve seen (metal or otherwise) is basically saying, “Wow, that thing Phil Anselmo did is pretty fucked up. He shouldn’t have done that.” I don’t really see how it’s blowing it out of proportion to say that someone, particularly someone with as much clout as Anselmo, shouldn’t be shouting racist language and performing racist gestures.

        And, I mean, I can’t speak for people who aren’t me obviously, but I’m not exactly expecting to gain a ton of notoriety for this. I don’t write for Metalsucks, Metal Injection, or any of the larger sites. I wrote this because it was something I had been thinking about a lot, I felt strongly about it, and I wanted to put it out there. The internet allows everyone to have a greater voice, including those you disagree with. That’s just how it goes. But you’re not going to get far telling everyone to shut up and trying to shut down conversation.

      • C.w. Manson

        You mean the one sided convo where whitey is always the bad guy?

      • Eclecticore

        Did I say that somewhere? If it’s a one-sided conversation, it’s because, like I mention in this piece, we suck about talking about these things and look to lecture each other and come out on top morally rather than actually discussing the thing itself. In this particular case, Anselmo fucked up. He’s been shown to have fucked up in similar ways in the past, suggesting that this isn’t a rare slipup and is possibly part of something deeper that he believes or struggles with. That is problematic to many people who listen to his music and are fans, as well as people in the greater metal community who don’t want their music to be associated with such behavior and beliefs. It’s pretty straightforward.

      • C.w. Manson

        Metal wasn’t created to be politically correct. It’s an extreme environment, not for the thin-skinned or weak of heart. The simple thing to do here woulda been just stop listening to him. That’s it dont like then dont listen to it. What is this mentality where these fuckin liberal sjw feel the need to destroy someone just because they dont agree with their viewpoint? Same things faggots and dykes did to Christian business owners because they refused to serve them based on their religious beliefs. Instead of simply taking their business else where, they go and ruin someone’s business and life just because they can’t get their way. This is pretty the same thing here.

      • Eclecticore

        It doesn’t really matter what metal was “created for” (I honestly don’t even know what that means, as there wasn’t a single defining moment in which metal was birthed and definitely no specific ideology, political or otherwise). YOU don’t get to determine how anyone listens to or appreciates something as much as anyone else gets to tell you if you can or cannot listen to something. That’s just how music and any piece of artistic or creative expression works. Unless Anselmo specifically states that his music is intended to be racist and for white audiences only (in which case, yes, you kind of have to know what you’re getting into), then you can’t blame people who don’t feel that way to be upset that he did that and want him to apologize for it.

        Can you not see how fucked up it is that you think that people asking Anselmo to NOT be racist and make up for the fact that he did so are the ones destroying him? Anselmo says he’s not a racist, but he’s done shit that even he admits now was racist. Either he’s really not a racist and he did something to fuck up his reputation, or he really is a racist and is lying to people now so they don’t think he’s a racist because he knows it would destroy his reputation. Either way, that’s not the fault of the people saying that he shouldn’t have done what he did, unless you believe it should be acceptable for him to be outwardly racist, in which case there isn’t really anywhere else to go with this as you’re going to be at odds with the vast majority of people in this country and in the greater metal scene.

        I’m not going to touch the denial of services aspect of this since that is, in fact, a different situation, and you seem to be using slurs deliberately at this point to get me to respond in a certain way so you can throw out “sjw” or whatever again. Anyway, if your definition of “political correctness” includes Nazi gestures and racist speech, that’s just a low fucking bar that is way out of step with where the general global consensus is in the 21st century. That has nothing to do with being liberal, a hipster, or a social justice warrior. That just has to do with not being an asshole and a functioning member of society.

      • C.w. Manson

        This is my exact point, everyone is different, everyone isn’t PC, get over it. What you don’t seem to get is metal is anti social so your little standards of living and societal structures do not belong there. It was created to go against the norm not obey under its rules and regulations.
        and my denial of service example is a perfect showcase of the extent these people go to get their way but you did what every libtard does when they’re hit with some truth, they downplay it and brush it off. It’s not a different situation, it’s the PC crowd upset and wanting to lynch someone just for not agreeing with them.
        you see nowadays people are real quick to throw out labels without even hearing all sides of the story or just because you don’t agree with them. How many times have you seen someone called a troll on the net because their opinion differed from the majority? I’ve witnessed it countless times and this is the same logic here. You ever hear the saying sticking feathers up your butt doesn’t make you a chicken? Just because he throws a white power here and there and gives a salute, that makes him a nazi and a racist? Is the guy openly burning crosses? Is he out there trying to recruit ppl for white supremacists groups? Is anyone getting physically hurt? No. Only some softies feelings are getting hurt.

  4. Jeffrey Dean

    Uggh I could only make it about 1/3 through the article before my chin sprouted a hipster beard, problem glasses manifested along my nose, and I felt the strange urge to self-flagellate for having the audacity to be both white and male. Jesus I miss when metal sites used to just talk about the fucking music instead of this social justice garbage. Fuck.

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