Thursday, December 16, 2004

I Spit On Your Grave


Conservative columnist William Grim ( wrote a piece entitled above, that essentially blames the recently murdered heavy metal guitarist Darrell a.k.a. “Dimebag” Abbott of causing his own death. He says that heavy metal itself is the culprit and had Abbott not created such wretched “music” then a “fan” wouldn’t have been moved to murder. But here’s Mr. Grim in his own words, “I cannot deny that there much in Mr. Abbott's demise of one being hoisted on one's petard. The squalor, inhumanity, filth (both in the metaphorical and hygienic senses), depravity, ugliness and ignorance of everything that heavy metal represents (Like rap, I cannot use the noble term music in a description of heavy metal) creates a mindset among its devotees in which Mr. Abbott's assassination was an event that was all but waiting to happen.”

As a matter of fairness, the line before the above statement was, “I in no way want to engage in a blaming the victim scenario.” I cannot see how he isn’t blaming the victim here but hey, he’s the writer of the piece and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

The bulk of the piece revolves around trying to get good conservative folks to take back the arts in the name of all that is good and Godly in the world. For example, “Here is one area in which conservatives have failed and failed miserably. Whether it is out of a lack of interest or despair, conservatives for too long have ceded the entire field of aesthetics to the trust fund red babies of the blue states. And look at what this has brought us. So-called heavy metal music, so-called rap music, operas and stage plays in which modern "stagings" reduce Verdi and Shakespeare to the condition of a schizophrenic's finger paintings. Leftist domination in the visual arts has made a mockery of the aesthetic greatness of modernism and replaced it with the turd encased in Lucite. And the grammatically-challenged racist rantings of Amiri Baraka now pass for poetry.”

For someone attempting to paint himself as a thinker of the highest order, I’m left perplexed as to why he’s attacking a murder victim whom he’s never met. He’s also apparently never done a serious study of the origins of heavy metal, the psycho-dynamics of why it appeals to certain segment of the population (in the millions world-wide mind you) or the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in former soldiers returning from combat.

Nathan Gale didn’t kill Darrell Abbott because the devil or the rhythm made him do it. Nathan Gale was a former marine and apparently was in desperate need of therapy. Locals in his area of Ohio saw, “…his hulking, hooded figure walking quickly up and down Fifth Street several times a day, often dressed in the same outfit for days in a row.” (Credit That’s a clear sign of some degree of dementia, in my humble opinion.

The armed services are hiring licensed clinical social workers to work with former combat soldiers to properly reintegrate them back into society rather than just cutting them loose “Rambo style”. I don’t know what happened to Gale or how he left the marines but this sad incident, as well as his inexplicable behavior was a tragic cry for help. It was not an indictment of the lyrics and style of underground music.

I’ve been critical of liberals for resorting to name calling when logic failed them but Mr. Grim reminds us that conservatives are just as fallible in the childishness department. “He (Abbott) was an ignorant, barbaric, untalented possessor of a guitar and large amplifier system. Freakish in appearance, more simian than human, he was the performer of a type of "entertainment" that can be likened only to a gorilla on PCP. Lacking subtlety, wit, style, emotional range and anything approaching even the smallest iota of intellectual or musical interest, Mr. Abbott was part of a generation that has confused sputum with art and involuntary reflex actions with emotion.”

As Andrew Sullivan would say, you sir, get the Malkin award. I think it’s rather morbid and classless to insult the recently departed. Especially when you espouse the aesthetics of Bach and Beethoven. Mr. Grim would most likely be saddened to know that many musicians in heavy metal were inspired by classical music and some were in fact classically trained musicians. He would most likely be flabbergasted to know that black metal musicians such as Dimmu Borgir employ the use of a full orchestra when recording their albums. My how gauche!

Mr. Grim’s entire column sinks to depths of grave robbing in my opinion. He is using the occasion of a musician’s tragic murder to invoke the “Culture War” and promote elitism. He’s doing this in blind ignorance of the music he’s criticizing. I doubt Mr. Grim has ever spoken to a fan of heavy metal or has been to a concert. I would gather he’s never actually ever done any fieldwork and interviewed any metal musician to see if his hypothesis, that they’re all “simians,” is actually valid. That is what we academics like to call, “fallacious thinking”.

Maybe I’m giving him too much credit and he just likes to pick on kids and dead people from his computer in Germany where nobody can confront him. But then, I don’t know the man and I don’t want to be judgmental. That would be classless.

I am willing to make a deal with Mr. Grim however. If he can assure me that men and women across the globe will never bring children into the world they don’t want, then I will condemn heavy metal, the music I clung to in my formative years. If he can assure me that fathers across the globe will never abandon their children, then I will condemn heavy metal, the music I clung to in my formative years. If he can assure me that a mother will never again birth a child addicted to drugs, then I will condemn heavy metal, the music I clung to in my formative years. If he can assure me that every child in every part of the world will grow up in an environment free of crime, filth and disease, then I will condemn heavy metal, the music I clung to in my formative years. If he can assure me a child will never be molested or raped ever again, then I will condemn heavy metal, the music I clung to in my formative years. If he can invent a cure for alienation, then I will condemn heavy metal, the music I clung to in my formative years.

In the words of Socrates, “I only know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” Mr. William Grim sir, you stand in good company.


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