So...This is a kind of off kilt interview for the likes of me. I'm fairly certain that I've broken form and am actually behaving like a journalist which is rather cringe-worthy in it's way. If I had it my way I'd never behave in this manner. I suppose I'd prefer to carry on per usual which is actually more like a publicist I suppose. That is, I generally find people whose work communicates something that I can understand enough to appreciate and then ask them a bunch of questions and write a favorable opening paragraph. I know, I know, I must come across as remarkably schmoozy. Want to know what is even worse? My "schmoozing" is actually genuine. Cringe. Did I mention that a key factor in whether I can understand a creative work enough to appreciate it involves the world views expressed there in? I like to think of myself as a fairly good listener and when I sense that an artist has a completely fucked world view I have serious problems understanding them or their work. It was for this reason that when I listened to the review copy of Doggy Style's Punkers Anthem that I genuinely didn't know what to make of it.
It was a combo of the lyrics getting in the way of the music and perhaps a collision of identity politics that lead me to write this review: http://www.punkglobe.com/doggystylereview0911.html
, which I thought was a sort of funny way of expressing that I was queer or "three thumbed" and likewise not impressed with with what I took to be sloppy use of language in the context that it was used. Of course when one writes a less than favorable review, one will hear about it as well I should have. This, in part is what I heard from Eric Vedder, bass player of Doggy Style:
"You came off as a lazy, self indulgent snot with little knowledge of our band or scene. Labroring through your retarded antics about your childhood and thumbs to get to the blip about our record made me want to poop on your porch."
Lazy, I take issue with. Self indulgent snot? Possibly. In any case, it did make me laugh and kind of re-inspired my initial curiosity as to what these dudes were on about. So we set up a day and time to do an interview. I thought it might be an interesting discussion. I knew the whole "word police" thing was going to come up and for the record I have no interest in suggesting what words people are to use and what words people are to omit. I do have an interest in meaning and can be almost tiresomely literal. That's the way I happen to be hardwired and also think that if people are using language as something other than a communication tool then I am likely to disregard it and them. I am fairly certain that there have always been bands like Bad Brains and Screwdriver for example who don't seem to care for queers or people who aren't pale skinned. I think it rather narrow minded but am fairly certain that people are entitled to be just as narrow minded as they'd like and I suppose I'd rather hear all about it before I ended up buying one of their albums or going to one of their shows or otherwise supporting what I consider to be a fat load of nonsense. So in an odd kind of way I have no real problem with words like "faggot" and "dyke" and would actually prefer people who don't care for the gay community to use whatever language they see fit to express that. Again, I don't want to end up hearing about it after I've supported you. And yes, I am perfectly aware that there is a sort of grey area in all this where people use this language in ways that I would consider flip. That is, devoid of meaning.
Returning to the "politically correct": There's a few interesting discussions to be had about this concept of "political correctness." People seem to get confused as to whether the "politically correct" involves the use of euphemism to refer to a so called "protected class" of people -as in referring to a person who is under 4 foot tall as "vertically challenged"- or if the "politically correct" is actually a measure of self censorship for those who are careless with language. My definition leans towards the latter description, which by definition is just the extension of mutual respect, right? A glaring problem I see w/ this notion of "political correctness" is that the phrase "politically correct" is a euphemism in itself, a particularly tricky one because we haven't an agreed upon a meaning for it.
All that said, here's the interview I did with Eric Vedder of Doggy Style. Despite myself, I actually found him to be a rather sympathetic character and think that at the very least this might be a spring board for some sort of discourse. Of course, I always think that. Here you go: