I've had a post brewing in the back of my head for a while on Industrial music,and its problematic aspects, but kept putting off writing it.

Then Jairus did this. Which gives me a topical push to discuss this before the Internets move on.

I like Industrial music. I like the aggression, the speed, the way it fits with the way I like to dance, the way I move. I like the darkness in it and the edginess to it. I like the way it discusses taboo(ish) subjects like depression, oppression, kink and violence. I also like that it's got a solid stream of nerd running through it.


There's a line, a fuzzy line, but still a line. A point at which it stops being edgy and dark and becomes flat out offensive and beyond "problematic", moving into "a problem". Of the two bands Jairus discusses, I have two Combichrist albums, and one Nachtmahr album. My review of Combichrist's Everybody Hates You does mention the discomfort I felt about some of the lyrics, while with Nachtmahr, I just don't have enough German to really know what they're singing about (see review).

It seems that Combichrist has gone further; somehow, I feel "I am a bitch/ How do you want me?" is just barely okay (because I can imagine consenting adults happily playing out that scene), while "You feminist cunts know you want it/ Give head if you got it" is way, way over the line. I hadn't been paying attention to the last couple releases from Combichrist, because what I'd heard on podcasts hadn't thrilled me.

After liking a few of their tracks, I picked up Mordacious's recent large album Dead Inside, and was fairly disappointed that nearly every song was about violent sex. And while I don't necessarily disapprove of violent sex, if it's all about punishing dirty whores and giving it to bitches - that shit's misogynist, yo. I sometimes wonder if the music I listen to isn't just the German equivalent to the rap music I turn my nose up at, with the popping of caps in asses, the acquisition of bling and bitches and hoes (is that the correct plural form? Why is this a thing I need to know in my life?). Is Industrial really just that plus some Depeche Mode covers? One of the few German words I can readily identify is the word for "slut", thanks to Industrial music.

Similarly, I loved Suicide Commando's "Bind, Torture, Kill" when I heard it in clubs; it's great for the aggressive way I like to dance. Sure, it's clearly a song about violence, but darkness and yes, violence is part of what I like about Industrial. When I did some reading while trying to find out who the artist was and how I could get the track, I found out about BTK, a real world serial killer who murdered at least ten people. Is that something I want to celebrate? Not really. Apparently my line is "imaginary, non-specific aggression and violence: cool" and "actual real world violence/violence against targeted social groups: not cool".

I'm going to toss in a quick reference to Hansel Und Gretyl here, but leave it at that since I've got another half-written essay on "Pop Culture Nazis" in another file.

I can happily continue to ignore Combichrist's new work, because I happen to not really like it. Nachtmahr is harder. The band is really just Thomas Rainer, who is involved in something like half the bands in the genre; IIRC, he worked on the latest Covenant album (which I loved), he's also the lead for L'Ame Immortale, and I seem to recall something about him joining up with one of the classic Industrial outfits, though I can't find a reference to refresh my memory on that one.

I'm not the only one who worries about this stuff; apparently Jairus got applause form the crowd at Kinetik, and the biggest (only?) Canadian distributor of Industrial music, Storming the Base came out with a "Misogyny Is Not A Music Genre" button. Though STB does still carry music and merch for bands like Combichrist, Nachtmahr, Mordacious, etc.

What is a poor confused fan to do? Give up on the genre entirely? Since that would more or less mean "give up on music", I hate that option. Research each band to make sure the sexism and violence are at levels I find tolerable? Better, but given how much collaboration and crossover among artists, the level of effort required to vet everything comes back to "give up on music" again. Especially once I consider clubs and podcasts, if I listen to Industrial, there's going to be problematic stuff.

On one hand, sometimes I just feel like throwing up my hands and going on a permanent culture fast; everything is problematic! Industrial music, rock music, Joss Whedon's Avengers, the kink scene, every movie, book, tv show or song I have ever like: almost certainly at least a little problematic. We live in a problematic culture and the only way to not endorse it is to opt out. Entirely. Any art created will be created by a person with kyriarchical baggage that will pollute their work. "Fine, I just won't like... things!"

Which of course, leads to the opposite extreme. At other times I feel like I have hit Peak Outrage. I just can't maintain the level of upset with all the wrong things in the world all the time. Maybe it's time to give up, stop worrying and love the Patriarchy? Go join the masses of derailing fanboys telling people to shut up because "it's just a joke!" or "that's censorship, yo!" Which I guess lets me like things, but I don't think I would really like myself much at that point.

There is also "How To Be A Fan OF Problematic Things". Which is a start, I suppose. What I am left with is pretty much the same as my approach to porn. Acknowledge that yeah, a lot of it is problematic, and icky, even though I like it. Try to avoid backing the ickier stuff, and try to endorse and back the stuff that manages to be good with less ickiness. Listen before reacting if I get called out on something I like. This is not a real, long term solution, for either porn or music (or anything else in our culture), but it's the best I can come up with.
Two links from Feminist Philosophers;

The Gender Stereotype Game is an awesome game.

Gendered Food. "Ever wondered why chocolate is for girls, and steak is for boys? (Ever wondered whether chocolate is for girls and steak is for boys?) "

Shakesville: Save Me from Myself, Skinny Jesus Chef! A takedown of the sizism and classism in Jamie Oliver's crusade to save Americans from bad food and being fat.
From a discussion on someone else's LJ on whether or not it is possible to belly dance without cultural appropriation; Appreciation, Appropriation, and Exploitation in Ethnic Dance

I wonder, actually, if the same examination is relevant to the martial arts - most people who study Asian MA these days are several levels of remove from the culture that spawned the art, and that culture is usually echoed in the training.

(Even more tangentially - where does that leave Brazilian Jujitsu; a Brazilian style of a Japanese martial art?)

When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"? - Avatar - io9

In which Annalee Newitz sums up the problems with Avatar and movies like it, and the fanboys fail to get it an have a tantrum in the comments.
curgoth: (Default)
( Oct. 21st, 2009 10:17 am)
Two interesting stories on CBC's Metro Morining today, one following the other.

TDSB proposes Boys only school "boys act out more and get into much more trouble in the school system". I'm not a fan of this, mainly because I worry that it'll end up fostering the patriarchal mind-set.
At 17, Ankita Kumar-Ratta started Save The Girls, an NGO that aims to stop female feticide, the termination of a fetus on the grounds that its sex is a female. (sorry, could only find the audio link). The practice of aborting female fetuses is apparently alive and well in Canada in certain communities.
curgoth: (Default)
( Oct. 14th, 2009 09:04 am)

You're after my robot bee!

Harvard got a $10 million grant to build a colony of robot bees. Sure, they're resistant tot he beepocalypse. But consider what happens when someone gets thr bright idea to start putting cameras on them. Are you prepared?

Marvel fails, again.

"Sexy" Halloween costumes. That look nothing like the charcater's outfits at all. One of them is for a character that doesn't exist. Well, okay, the Emma Frost one is pretty accurate.

Five Comic Book Costumes for Women that Won't Turn You Into a Sex Object

Also includes five costumes for men that *will* get you objectified.

Wanna pet zebra?

Scientists work on the genetics of domestication. StB: don't read this story. They do things to rats you won't like.

The Power of Hypnosis

Scientists propose using hypnosis to study various hysterical disorders (hysterical blindness, etc.) Based on thier tests, I am probably hypnotisable. Someone call King Mob.

Out Of Body Experiences

Brains freak me out.

Google Street View roundup

The Torontoist finds amusing things on Google street view in Toronto.

It's Steampunk month on Tor.com

Maybe some day I'll even find time to read it!

[On seeing me washing my lunch dishes at work]
"You're going to make someone a good wife some day!" (from a male executive. my ex-uncle once made the same comment on seeing me cook.)

[On a guy knowing what colour his shirt is]
"Oh, your wife has you really well trained!"

Because washing dishes, cooking, and fashion sense are all "women's work". What century is this again?
via [livejournal.com profile] mightydoll

From: No, Not You

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

1. Don't put drugs in s drinks in order to control their behavior.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON'T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don't pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don't communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don't forget: you can't have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someome "by accident" you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn't ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are commiting a crime - no matter "into it" others appear to be.
curgoth: (Default)
( Jun. 3rd, 2009 06:19 pm)

Murder in Toronto

Ryerson prof looks at homicide rates in different neighbourhoods, and looks at how they are similar, and then looks at neighbourhoods with similar characteristics but lower homicide rates. One theory is that tall appartment buildings are to blame, because they diminish the sense of community.

We Evolved On the Grasslands To Have This Debate

Local RPG author Robin Laws does a decent round-up on Evolutionary Psych and the gaming community.

curgoth: (Default)
( Apr. 23rd, 2009 09:02 am)
Dear Ontario school;

There is a lot wrong with this, and only a little bit right.

Using comics to get kids interested in reading is good.
Giving grade 7 boys Frank Miller to work with is not so good.
Giving girls midwifery instead of the goddamned Batman is frustrating and insulting on a number of levels.
Why do we need to give boys and girls different things to read at all?
curgoth: (Default)
( Jun. 9th, 2008 02:45 pm)
Clearing out the tabs...

12 Helpful Suggestions for Men Regarding Conduct in Feminist Spaces

Dinosaur comics explains 'Male Gaze'

Because theory is easier to understand with dinosaurs.

Feminism101 on Male Gaze

The bit that made me want to jump up and down and shout "Oh! I think I get it now!" was this bit in the comments;
So when a woman is walking down the street, she self-consciously watches herself walking down the street, and modifies her behaviour for an imaginary ideal. In public situations, women define themselves as being constantly viewed and judged, in a way men don't have to.

Feminism101 on the role of men in the feminist movement.

My opinions and reactions to the actual theory presentedin these links intentionally left blank.
curgoth: (Default)
( Apr. 16th, 2008 09:58 pm)
I've got three posts related to feminism brewing in my head. This is the first.

Presented, without commentary, three links to feminist readings of Joss Whedon's work.

(This one has been posted all over) A Radical Feminist reading.

A response by a sex-worker

A less negative feminist reading of Whedon's work
I've been over-caffeinated and bored. Therefore, my brain has been racing and trying to work on not-work.

Specifically, I find I've been ruminating on feminist issues a fair - privilege, the role of women's sexuality in society, how the patriarchy affects that, etc. I feel a bit weird talking about it, though. I mean, I'm a guy. I am implicitly party to the patriarchy. I benefit, daily from my male privilege, and don't necessarily cast that off when I might. I haven't read most of the basic books of feminist theory. So, really, I'm probably talking out of my ass and expecting everyone to think my opinions are important because I'm a white male, and I'm used to people thinking what I say is important. I dunno. I feel sometimes like I'm not qualified to have opinions about this stuff, and should just shut up.

While pondering this, I was struck by the fact that despite my good intentions and attempts to have dependable sexual politics, I find I am easily swayed when a pretty girl asks me to do something. There's something in the neighbourhood of "sad" or "ironic" in there.

I have no answers. I'm not going to stop trying to understand gender/sexual politics, but sometimes I wonder if I ever really can.
curgoth: (Ravens)
( Jul. 11th, 2005 06:04 am)
Books recently read:

  • In The Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification by Victoria Pritts. My "serious" book. The language was a bit dense in spots (I didn't know what things like "post-essentialist" and "post-structuralist" meant, for example), but I pushed through, and ended up getting a lot out of it. There was a lot in here, but the biggest theme I picked out was that body image is like aart - it's a communication. Both the person who's body has been modified and the person viewing that body contribute to the "conversation". Most of the modern body modification groups espouse the practice as something along the lines of freedom to rewrite body-identity, a way to own and rewrite the symbolism of the body. Pritts comes to the conclusion that the individual can realy only do so partly, because the viewer will always bring their own symbols, biases, and cultural background into the interpretation of the body, regardless of what the body artist thinks. There's a lot more to the book - I am pondering writing a longer review later - but I think that was the biggest theme of the whole book.

  • The Specials by [livejournal.com profile] corwin77 - StB's NaNoWriMo book. Great story, and like most NaNo novels, needs a lot of polish. He and I are talking about turning this into a comic/graphic novel type thing with me as artist.

  • Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold. Mmmmm, Bujold. The sequel to Curse of Chalion does not disappoint.

I am soon going to need to figure out what my next "serious" book will be. I'm considering trying to find Dick Hebidge's Subculture: The Meaning of Style. If the library doesn't deliver in time, I may do something different, and finally read The Tao of Jeet Kun Do by Bruce Lee.

I'm trying to decide if I want to count The Specials towards my three fiction books - it only took me a day to read, and I have two shiny new fiction books sitting waiting for me...


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