Friday, April 27, 2007

Congratulations, You Too Are A Winner

If you only have time to read one thing today, please read this article by Naomi Wolf ahead of reading whatever it is I have to say. If on the other hand you've finished the article, or at least considered the content, please read on.

In light of a recent experience I have to confess that I've never been a Le Tigre fan. Which is odd because on paper they're brilliant; they literally have everything I could possibly want going for them. Drum Machines: Check. Kathleen Hanna: Check. That Ultra-Mysterious Intrinsic Sense of Cool: Check.

When I was first exposed to them, it was with the nigh mythic promise of them being the "best band ever," which as we all know is the literal Kiss Of Death to any new-band experience. Yet, as we all do when approaching this weeks "best band," I came with the kind of greedy fervor I use to approach buying new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Figures with. History suggests that nothing will ever eclipse my first true love, April O'Neil, nothing.

To put it simply, it didn't have any effect on me. Furthermore, my ambivalence never gave way to that diabolical fear of "just not getting it," which is secretly the nightmare that every music fan wakes up from, cold sweat beading down their heads. In hindsight I know that I'd liked Bikini Kill when I liked noisy music. I certainly grew up in a climate of admiration for anything riot grrrl-esque. It's just that this misplaced affection just wasn't enough to push irrational liking onto further Hanna projects. They just weren't for me, as it were.

That's not to say that they've never made a song that didn't make me want to shed my demographic and stoic Northwestern non-dance ethos and shake my little bottom like I thought no one was looking. That song, or course is Deceptacon and it serves me with the distinction of being one of the coolest songs I've ever heard. If you haven't guessed already, it's also the subject of the experience that I'm grappling with at this very moment: I heard it on a Nivea Lotion advertisement today. Now, before you start thinking, "wait man, wait, they're like, taking the corporate dollar and running man," I'm pre-empting you by saying that I'm not opposed to musicians selling their songs to make a buck on advertising. As someone going in the plus year mark away from anything relating employment, I can empathize completely with what it's like to watch money go quick the fast way out. If I could throw some shit together and sell it for enough cash I'd bite. Of course, that shit that I'd throw together would come from the AFX school of really biting the hand that feeds you.

Because as it turns out, I am totally opposed to artists selling their art to make a buck off of advertising. As Bill Hicks so memorably said: “You do a commercial, you’re off the artistic roll call forever. End of story." Which compounds their previous abuse of signing to major label. That both of these could come to pass is the total opposite of my cartoon Kathleen Hanna image where everything is rad and feminists take over the world. So, todays been a little weird. I guess what I'm really trying to say is I welcome any evidence that Le Tigre has not abandoned that Ultra-Mysterious Intrinsic Sense of Cool I'd previously checked them off for. Because I expect that no one ever changes and I expect age to not distill ethics.

Or is it as Charlton Heston once put it, "don't trust anyone over 30," that proves the most useful insight I've collected from pop culture?

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