Thursday, August 09, 2012

On Music #2: Hate Music

Hate music was not originally the topic for the second installment of the popular (not really) series. However, it is topical, so I suppose the time is right.  Apparently the asshole who shot up the Sikh temple  had been a member of a neo-nazi* hardcore band at one point.  As related by Gawker, In Defense of Neo-Nazi Music:
In the past few days, in the wake of the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin, the national media has once again begun to blame a crime on art. On Sunday, police discovered that Wade Page, the skinhead who stormed into the Oak Creek temple that afternoon and killed six people before killing himself, was once in a white-power band called End Apathy.
Which, of course, leads to blaming violent white power music for the shooting.  It does not seem to occur that such music, which represents art to a bunch of losers (it's still art), does not cause anything. Cause is confused with effect.  
People like Futrell and Simi try to avoid sounding like the neo-Tipper Gores that they are by not condemning the neo-Nazi music itself and instead saying that it's the culture around the music that's dangerous. It's the "spaces of hate" they're after, they say, not the art. But then they expose their anti-free speech leanings by finger-wagging and threatening that we shouldn't be surprised if another white-power maniac kills people thanks to this hateful music scene. That—and I'm so glad I work at Gawker now so I can say this—is a total crock of shit.
It's an expression.  (In this case, for Nazis, hate music is an expression: "We are angry dickheads and want you to know it.")  For others hate music targets a wide range of targets.  Hate music can be directed at anything.  Aggressive music does not make one aggressive (physically--if you hate the sound and are therefore driven that is something else).   One likes aggressive music because one is aggressive.  This obviously means some who may be inclines to mass murders will find aggressive "hate music" appealing.  Listening to G.G. Allin does not make me want be G.G. Allin (which is really more extreme than any Nazi every could.  (As if a Nazi could approach his manliness, but I digress.)   If aggressive music allows one to act out aggression it may even prove an outlet.  It's hard to prove how many mass murders, assassinations, civil unrest etc. did not occur because aggression was directed toward artistic expression.  If one does not like white power music, censorship is not the answer: it would merely drive the music underground and thus give it street cred.  Rather, ignore it.  Censoring this type of hate music music is just the beginning to censoring any music that is even potentially agitating.  

Because Nazis are reviled, they make an easy target.  Hell, if you want to go beat someone up and get away with it, Nazis are the target of choice.  (It doesn't make one better than Nazis to attack them on sight.)  Even so, beating them is one thing, but taking away their right to expressions is something else again.  The next target may be you.

* Note: All skinheads are not Nazis.  Skinheads are a veritable violent multi-(sub)cultural rainbow.

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