Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mad-Libs With Norwegian Black Metal

I realize it may be gauche to repost something I myself wrote, but I feel like the point is valuable enough not to be left sulking at the ass-end of a comment thread...

I did read Abebe's piece on Pitchfork RE: the NYT/M.I.A. fracas, and it was indeed pretty good. Though the whole cloak metaphor was thoroughly ground into glue. And as much as I'd like "to not act like she's speaking for anything beyond her own messy self," such dubious hair-splitting lets people apologise for incredibly dangerous politics/artists/aesthetics. Let's replace "M.I.A." with "Burzum" and "militarized underclass" with "white-supremacist pagan theocracy" and see how quick people are to "swallow the music and spit out the cloak" - and whether or not embracing the medium while rejecting the message seems acceptable in the first place.

Besides, Maya Aruplragasam herself insists that her listeners don't make such distinctions. Pity for her fans that are busily crafting the narrative (as ventriloquised by Simon Reynolds):
"of course pop stars talk drivel about politics, of course they're all about empty gestures and sensationalism and pointless provocation. That's what makes it pop, what makes it good pop actually. It's pop music, what did you expect?"


Jenny said...

I still think that if MIA makes kids aware of Sri Lanka's oppression of the Tamils, she's accomplished something. It kind of seems you are dismissing it in a sense, to be honest.

Seb said...

Fuckin' hell, do I really sound like I'm advocating the suppression of an ethnic minority? My problem isn't with calling attention to the Tamil/Sinhalese conflict in Sri Lanka; my problem is with her framing the conflict in a manner equivalent to calling Egyptian Islamic Jihad as "freedom fighters against secular oppression."