Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Food for thought

It has been awhile since I last posted some music-related commentary here. After what transpired in the past twenty four hours on social media regarding former Combichrist drummer Joe Letz, I thought I would address the topic on my blog. I was originally tempted to write about it last night but I decided to wait until the next day to allow my initial reactions to settle down. No good comes out of writing out of anger. I have been angry enough for the past few weeks since my hit and run. I am tired of being angry.

I would like to first begin by saying I do believe in the First Amendment. I also believe that Joe Letz has every right to express himself. After all this isn't North Korea (or Russia). I don't believe in telling Joe or anyone else to stop speaking however that does not mean Joe can't face consequences for his poor choice in words and photographs.

This past Sunday I was at The Birthday Massacre show at The Cabooze.  While in between bands, My good friend Renee showed me some photos he posted on his Instagram account (which is now set to private). There were photos of Joe in very dark colored face paint with bright pink lipstick and a wig to match. I was completely floored especially with some of the photos he juxtaposed his image with (i.e a bucket of fried chicken which I utterly despised). To say the photos I saw was in poor taste is the understatement of the century. Still I just wrote it off as Joe the human incarnation of 4Chan and just trolling the internet. That all changed yesterday when I saw a three year old photo on Facebook of a jury subpoena with the N and F words written on it. My jaw hit the ground figuratively speaking. I was pretty livid and shocked at the same time when I saw that photo.

I have met Joe a couple of times over the years for the Combichrist VIP events. He always have been very courteous and nice to me HOWEVER unlike his supporters who keep parroting "he was nice to me" over social media this does not excuse his behavior then and now with me. I refuse to normalize the sort of behavior Joe has exhibited on social media. Being nice does not mean give Joe a free pass with me unlike with some people. People like Joe need to be held accountable for their bullshit, famous or not.

Ever since 45 took office in January, I have experienced having a few racial slurs thrown my way as an Asian American. No thanks to the current president, he has made this disgusting language perfectly acceptable. Whenever I am reading the news online or watching it on TV, I cringe when I see marginalized groups of people targeted by the supporters of 45. When I go back online on to social media and I see people defend Joe and normalize his actions. It gets under my skin when they write off all the critics who have been coming at Joe as "social justice warriors" and people going overboard on political correctness (not in those exact words mind you). If you think tonight's blog entry is just more whining from a social justice warrior well then try being on the receiving end of some racial slurs like "chink" and "gook" and then get back to me please. Those words nor is the F and N words that Joe used on that three year old photo acceptable nor should be normal to use so freely like any other word in the English vocabulary. As for the other photos of him with the very dark colored face paint, pink wig, and pink lipstick, I pretty described how I feel about them in the beginning of this post. I won't revisit that subject other than to say they were anything but amusing.

Now that Joe has been let go from the upcoming PIG tour, I honestly hope he does a lot of soul searching about himself and the things he posts on social media. Considering the fact that he has a son, he really needs to think about how he wants his son to turn out to be later in life. Does he want his son to be an obnoxious asshole who can't treat other people with respect or does he want a loving, selfless son who treats others with respect? I don't hate Joe or am angry at him for his behavior on social media but I definitely am disappointed in him . I am also disappointed in people who chose to ignore Joe's behavior because he is their friend or because they met him and he was nice to them which basically says it is normal to use offensive slurs that denigrates other people or mock others because of the color of their skin. Treating people who are not like yourself should not be difficult nor be seeing as being overly PC. Having good manners and treating people with respect and dignity has nothing to do with political correctness. That is all I have to say. Good night.

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