I went and saw MUTEMATH at The Intersection in Grand Rapids last night. My mind has never been blown so hard. The raw talent in that band is staggering. Anyone who says that they aren’t a good musician because they have the wrong gear needs to go see Darren King drumming. The top cymbal of his hi hat was torn, he only had one rack tom and one floor tom, he played his stick holder at one point (with sticks still in it), he played a song with three sticks (two in his right and one in his left), and he picked up the ride cymbal in his right hand and played it with his left in one song. His gear was all smashed to pieces and scuffed and there was literally duct tape hanging off his rack tom and he still blew me away. Whattttt.
This got me thinking. I used to say that I should have been born when my dad was born because I would have been able to see the really old bands that I love like Jimi Hendrix and The Who and The Doors before they died. And I still think it would have been cool to see those bands, but I decided that I would much rather be born when I was. Realistically, I listen to MUTEMATH and Arctic Monkeys and Black Keys and Tokyo Police Club and bands like that way more then I listen to The Who. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Who, and they’ve influenced my other musical taste a lot and they’re obviously influenced a whole generation of musicians, but I LOVE music now. Living now, I still have recordings of the greats from back in the day that I can listen to, AND I have new music that I love even more. But as of now I’m officially letting go of the idea that older automatically equals better. Older is good, but Hendrix and The Beatles and Pink Floyd and all the old greats were really just human too. They aren’t these colossal super giants of life, they made mistakes too, and they had just as much room for improvement as any human nowadays.
That said, anyone who says no new music is coming out now is not looking hard enough. I don’t know how I feel about people who say “Rock is dead”, but I definitely disagree with anyone who says “Music is dead”, because music is more alive now than it ever has been.
Also EDM. There was no Zedd or Porter Robinson or Modestep or Daft Punk or Crystal Method or whathaveyou back when my dad was my age, and I love that music too. But defending EDM is a whole different battle.
Is it good or bad that my first thought wasn’t “Ha that’s funny”, it was “OH MY GOSH Olli Jokinen!!”
Now I have you attention.
Last year (yeah, 2011 is LAST year), in Toronto, Canada, a group of women organized what they called a “SlutWalk”. Apparently a police office (actually, since he’s Canadian they call him a constable. Everything’s cooler in Canada.) said that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.” That got this horde of Canadian women’s collective attention, and they decided that instead of downing a six-pack of Molson and hitting each other with hockey sticks (I’m like 70% sure that this is the go-to form of anger management in Canada), they instead organized a “SlutWalk”.
Apparently it’s ridiculous to assume that women would get raped less if they stopped walking around the streets of Toronto dressed like a French-Canadian Snookie. Furthermore, walking around the streets of Toronto dressed like a one-Loonie hooker (I was gonna say one dollar, but Canada) will convince rapists to take up more respectable past times.
In all honesty, what did they expect would happen? Did they expect rapists to look out their windows and see a horde of slutty 20-year-olds and go “Gosh, they have a point, I really should stop raping them.”
Now, I’m not saying that rape is ever excusable. Just because someone is walking around town in a push up bra and Angus Young shorts doesn’t mean they deserve to be raped. No one ever deserves to be raped. But that’s exactly my point; no one was saying that it’s OK to rape someone based on their attire. No one is saying it’s OK to do that, they’re just being realistic that it does happen. It’s not OK, but it does happen. I can’t stress that enough. That officer was not saying “Women, if you dress like sluts, you deserve to get raped.” He was saying “Women, if you dress like sluts, it increases your chances of getting raped.” He wasn’t justifying rape, he was being realistic about keeping yourself safe.
But wait, there’s more! Read this paragraph from the SlutWalk website:
“Historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly negative connotation. Aimed atthose who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered under the burden of this label. And whether dished out as a serious indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. “Slut” is being re-appropriated.”
So the real problem is the word “slut”. They’re saying that it was inappropriate for the officer to use the word “slut”. Fair enough. Maybe it was a bit overboard. He wasn’t respecting women. But women, by dressing like that, you’re not respecting yourselves. I might be old fashioned, but when I read that, I hear “Men, how dare you disrespect us! We are the only ones who can disrespect ourselves!” If you’re waking up in a stranger’s bed wearing only a torn Motley Crue t-shirt and you can’t find your pants, you don’t DESERVE respect. Respect is something you earn. If you are a slut, and then you get called a slut, don’t complain about it. You get what you earn. Again, I’m not saying that it’s OK to rape a slut (which was the original point of contention). That’s still not OK. But don’t act like you deserve to be respected when you don’t even respect yourself.
Furthermore, the SlutWalk organizers say they are going to “re-appropriate” the word slut. They’re turning it around and making it a good thing. That’s why the official buttons they passed out at the walk say “I Love Sluts” on them. Which really makes a lot of sense to me. It’s like how Jews reclaimed the swastika, or how homosexuals love being called “faggot”. And on the off chance that Zach Beck is reading this, yes, that was thick sarcasm.
The bottom line is this. Women, the police are here for your safety. When the police tell you that you won’t get raped if you don’t dress like a slut, it’s because he’s being realistic about maintaining your safety. Like it or not, rape happens, and it’s never OK, but don’t be stupid. Be safe, and be realistic. Respect yourselves, otherwise no one else ever will.
Alright, so, backstory. I was born in a Christian household, and until the age of 16 I claimed to be a Christian. From 16 to almost 18, I gave up my faith, and partied and dated the wrong girls and the whole nine. Then around my 18th birthday, after a lot of reading and thinking and talking to other people, I decided that I believed that Jesus was the Son of God and that he died for my sins so that I could spend eternity in heaven. All that to say, I have been on both the Christian and agnostic and atheist sides of the fence at difference points in my life, and now I am a Christian.
So throughout all this, I’ve realized that it’s not Christians or Atheists or Buddhists or Catholics or Agnostics or Muslims or Liberals or Conservatives or short people or tall people or white people or black people or women or men or anything like that that I can’t stand. I can’t stand stupid people.
Now, I chose the word stupid carefully. A lot of people are ignorant, meaning they haven’t learned something. I’m ignorant about quantum physics, because I have never learned it. I don’t dislike ignorant people. I dislike stupid people, which is either someone who has learned something and continues to deny it just to make waves, or someone who has NOT learned something and pretends like they have.
Let me explain. When I hear that a Christian walked out of a biology room because they are being taught evolution, that’s a stupid person. I’m not saying that evolution is fact, and I’m not saying that creation is fact, what I’m saying is that any belief you have should be tested. Our beliefs are what make us who we are. A belief as fundamental to who you are as a person like creationism SHOULD be tested. You should see both sides of the coin. If you don’t know both sides of the argument fluently, you are not in any place to make a decision. You’re being stupid.
Another example. When I hear people say “I tolerate all beliefs” and then turn around and bash one, that’s a stupid person. I hear it all the time. If you truly tolerate all beliefs, than you shouldn’t care what your Mormon friend believes. Or what your Christian friend believes, or what your atheist friend believes. That’s not what “tolerate” means.
Example number three: someone who makes up answers. There is nothing wrong with not knowing the answer. I’m looking at you, Bill O’Reilly. There’s nothing wrong with saying “I believe that we were created by God” and not being able to prove it. The very nature of the argument is supernatural, and the whole point of supernatural is that it is beyond proving. I can openly admit that I believe in creation, but there are a lot of things about evolution that seem legitimate. I can understand how survival of the fittest works. I also think there are a lot of gaps in evolution theory, but, from a human logic standpoint, there are just as many gaps in any origin of life theory. I can state plainly that I believe that we were created by God, but I can’t prove it, I’m only human. And that’s not embarrassing to me. If you say “I don’t know, therefore God” or “I don’t know, therefore science” or “I don’t know, therefore aliens” or “I don’t know, therefore conspiracy theory”, you’re choosing to be stupid over just ignorant.
Fourth! People who believe that all people who hold a certain belief are the same. I’ve heard “All Christians are hypocrites” or “All homosexuals cheat on their partners” or “All Mormons are crazy” or “All Jews are greedy” too many times. Not all Christians are Fred Phelps! Actually I would go so far as to say that Fred Phelps isn’t a Christian at all. He’s a false prophet, but that’s a whole different argument. Not all Christians are gay-bashers, not all Catholics are crusaders, not all Italians are in the mafia, not all homosexuals have AIDS, not all Muslims want to blow up your house, not all atheists hate Christians, not all Asians are bad drivers, not all black people like KFC, and not all women are good cooks. If you think that subscribing to a certain belief takes away your individuality, you’re stupid. I am a Christian and my friend Josh is a Christian and my dad is a Christian and George W. Bush is a Christian and my sister is Christian and we all WAY different from each other. Every time I hear “All [insert belief or culture] are the same…” I feel like I’m gonna Hulk out.
Fifth (I’m on a roll), people who always say “Having [belief] shoved down my throat”. That’s called “Seeing the other side of the argument”. If you don’t learn what other people believe you’re never really in an educated position to choose what you believe. I have had drawn out, hours long conversations with my friend Ethan, an atheist, my friend Noah, a Mormon, my dad, a conservative, my roommate, a Libertarian, my tattoo artist, an agnostic, and dozens of other people about beliefs without ever feeling like they were shoving their belief down my throat. They were just letting me know what they believe. I see “Don’t shove your belief down my throat!” people as being so insecure about their beliefs that they’re scared to be proven wrong. If someone stalks you around town and throws Bibles at you until you convert, that’s having a belief shoved down your throat. But having someone say “This is what I believe” is not, and even saying “This is what I believe and I’m worried that something bad is going to happen because you don’t believe it” is not. My friend Noah truly believes what the Book of Mormon says, and because of that he’s talked to me about it and brought me to his youth group and explained everything he believes you have to do to reach heaven (or glory or bliss or something like that… I don’t remember what they call it). But if he truly believes that if I don’t believe in the Book of Mormon, I’ll spend eternity in Hell (I think they call it Outer Darkness), he would be a bad friend NOT to try to save me from that. I still don’t believe it, but I’m glad that he cares about me enough to try to stop me from suffering for eternity. So stop being so concerned about having people force their beliefs on you. Be confident in what you believe so you can listen without being scared. Other people very well may have good ideas that you haven’t thought of.
That’s all. Thanks for reading, if you read this. Reply if you have a comment or question or just want to cuss me out for calling you stupid.
I was just talking to the lovely Kathrine Everly about the scariest dreams we’ve ever had. And I realized after telling it to her that I have never written down the scariest dream that I’ve ever had even though it’s held the record for the scariest thing ever for over ten years. It’s like Paranormal Activity, if you took out all the scenes and replaced them with scary things.
Without further ado, the scariest thing ever.
I was seven years old when this happened. The whole dream was sort of a faded, brownish color scheme, like the game Borderlands or the movie Wristcutters, for reference. When the dream started, my little sister Annika, who at the time was three years old, my mom, and I were all staring at a straw dummy hanging from gallows. I remember asking something about whether or not it was flammable (not word for word, come on, it was well over half my life ago), and my mom said it was and that we should keep moving. Eventually we came to a shack with a big orange door on it that read “Phantom”. Annika knocked on the door, and my mom and I pulled her away. When we pulled her away, she screamed really loudly, and we heard a voice yell “Who dares disturb my slumber?!” like the big sand lion thing in Aladdin. The door flung open and a ghost and a vampire came out of the door. Not a sparkly, shiny pedophile from Washington (the world wouldn’t be graced with those for another 7 or 8 years), but a legit suck-your-blood-and-spit-on-your-corpse vampire. The ghost chased my mom and little sister back past the straw dummy hanging from the gallows, and the vampire chased me behind the building with the orange door, down an alley to a dead end. At the end of the alley was a Pac-Man machine. The vampire was smiling a big creepy smile as it lunged at my arm, but before it took at bite, the blue ghost from Pac-Man came out of the machine and bit my arm. Then I woke up and ran to my parents room and slept in their bed.
I’m sorry for any psychological trauma this may have caused you. I know it’s been playing in my head for over ten years. If you’re shaking or hyperventilating, please go to the hospital.
Also, I just Wikipedia’d it, and the blue ghost is named Inky. From now on that’s the scariest name anyone will ever have.
Thank you for your time.
So last year, in the spirit of Jeph Jacques, I compiled a list of the top ten albums I started listening to in 2010 on Facebook. However, while I’m not one of those Facebook-hating-Tumblr-fanboys, I do think that the Facebook note system is stupid and I only every see like 14 year olds posting stuff with it, so I’ve decided to publish my 2011 list on Tumblr. Note: These aren’t necessarily albums that came out in 2011, but just albums that I started listening to in 2011. Without further ado, and in no particular order:
10.) Skrillex- Bangarang
Last Spring, I was standing on the back porch of Bob’s Place, the restaurant at which I was a waiter at the time, when Jared, one of the cooks, walked out to his car, opened all the doors, and blasted Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, the second of four EPs dubstep/electrohouse DJ Skrillex has released up until now. Shortly after, everyone’s brother and mom was listening to Skrillex like he was the next Beatles. And while Scary Monsters remains a great EP, Skrillex’s new EP, Bangarang, which was only released a week ago, is a masterpiece. Thus earning it a spot on the list.
9.) The Black Keys- El Camino
I recently learned that Arctic Monkeys, one of my all time favorite bands, is coming to Grand Rapids, the city I moved to 6 months ago, to open for The Black Keys. I’ve known about the Black Keys for a couple years, and I pretty much listened to like, the three songs everyone listened to (Tighten Up, Your Touch, Howlin’ For You. Black Keys fanatics can sue me), so I didn’t really think they were that spectacular. However, upon purchasing Arctic Monkeys with Black Keys tickets, I decided I should familiarize myself with their music, so I got El Camino, they’re newest album, and fell in love. Every track on this is fantastigreat. Although, if you are going to look them up, don’t watch the music video for “Lonely Boy” first, because you’ll never take them seriously again. You’ve been warned.
8.) Funktion- Step Into It
A couple years ago, one of my best friends, Ethan Hughes, brought home a CD called “Funk Prelude” by a self-produced indie funk band called Funktion. His mom had seen them at a bar or a wedding or something and brought home their first CD, which we both expected to be terrible. Instead, it was mind-blowing, and we listened to it pretty much non-stop for a whole summer. We Googled them to see if they were playing in Michigan, but since they are not that well known, we accidentally found a cover band also called Funktion in Pennsylvania. Thinking they were from Pennsylvania and that they would never come to Michigan, we always talked about how awesome it would be to see them live, and how it would probably never happen, especially because at the time I was still living in Petoskey, where only washed-up has-beens ever come (Like the B-52s and Ted Nugent.) Long story short, it turns out Funktion is actually from Kalamazoo, and they played at the City Park Grill in Petoskey last summer. The show was spectacular, the band was really friendly and talkative between sets, and they played all of Funk Prelude and almost all of their new album, Step Into It. Go look them up.
7.) Vampire Weekend- Contra
Vampire Weekend sang about college a lot on their self titled album, which makes it appropriate that I would love them as much as I do, since I became a college student this year. There’s not really a story behind why I love this album so much, just go look it up. It’s brilliant.
6.) Mutemath- Odd Soul
When I first showed up at Cornerstone University, my Audio Production prof, Randy Miller, was raving about tickets he had to a Mutemath show and how great it was going to be. A couple other students in the class chimed in about how great they were, and so I decided to look them up. I fell in love. Everything Mutemath has put out has been genius, and they’re newest album, Odd Soul, is a masterpiece. It’s sort of Black Keys-ish, but with more instrumentation and different lyrical themes.
5.) Tokyo Police Club- Champ
After hearing my friend John rave about Tokyo Police Club for a long time, I finally decided to look them up after they played at The Heritage Classic, a huge outdoor hockey game between the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens, with Metric and Five for Fighting. The Flames won 4-0, in case you were wondering, and because of that I discovered Tokyo Police Club, which is quickly becoming my favorite group of Canadians ever.
4.) Porter Robinson- Spitfire
After my friend Jimmy went to go see Skrillex play at the Royal Oak Music Theatre some time last summer, I decided to look up the bands that opened for him, Porter Robinson and Zedd. While Zedd is fantastic in his own right, Porter Robinson blew me away. Just go look up this album.
3.) The Decemberists- The King is Dead
The King is Dead is by no means my favorite Decemberists album (that would probably be The Crane Wife), but it did come out in 2011 and is awesome. I went and saw The Decemberists with my friend John in Royal Oak last April, and it was great. They put on an amazing live show.
2.) Sufjan Stevens- Michigan
I posted a while back about how I grew up in the same home town as Sufjan Stevens (Petoskey, MI) and how I went to the church connected to his high school (Harbor Light Christian School), yet for as long as I’ve been hearing his name I had never really listened to his music. I fell in love with Michigan last Spring and it quickly became the soundtrack of my summer. I’m pretty sure that Illinoise and Age of Adz were more successful commercially, but I’m from Michigan so that’s the album that I like the most.
1.) Rodrigo y Gabriela- Rodrigo y Gabriela
Recently, my sister moved to Peru to teach English at Montericco Christian School in Lima. She showed me some Hispanic music a couple years ago when she first started speaking Spanish, and I remember really liking Rodrigo y Gabriela, but I never really looked them up until I got to college and decided that I wanted something acoustic to write a paper to. I started with the usual slow sort of paper writing music I usually use (Bright Eyes, Sufjan Stevens, Elliott Smith, Iron & Wine), but after a couple hours I decided to switch to something more upbeat, so I looked up Rodrigo y Gabriela again. Since then I listen to them a lot, and it turns out they were in an episode of Breaking Bad. Who knew?
Anyway, that concludes this little excursion into my musical interests in 2011. Happy New Year and such.
Zach, you’re such a little hipster :P
Also, Deadmau5 isn’t dubstep.