Category Archives: Rock And Roll

Update: Blame It On The Name

On March 31 I blogged about the controversy surrounding one of my favorite new bands, Viet Cong. Many people both within the Vietnamese community and those not directly connected to it found the band’s name offensive. Turns out the band, after careful consideration, has decided to change its name.

This is a wise choice. The actual Viet Cong committed terrible crimes and tore families apart. Although they have nothing to do with terrorists, the four Canadian rockers erred on the side of sensitivity.

The band hasn’t picked a new name yet. Will the music industry, when reviewing their next album, refer to “the band formerly known as Viet Cong,” as was the case when Prince went by a symbol instead of Prince?

The biggest question of all: under what name will I file their old albums on my iPod? Until then, here’s my original post.

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Blame It On The Name

Pseudo hipster that I am, I recently discovered the band Viet Cong on Pitchfork. Their eponymous second album is a blistering cascade of art-noise. These four lads from Calgary have been destroying my iPod the last five days.

Two weeks ago the band released a statement regarding their controversial moniker. It turns out the promoter for their March 14 show at Oberlin College found “Viet Cong” offensive to Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Americans. (No mention of Vietnamese-Canadians). In the name of tolerance, the show was canceled.

Liberals once again castigating liberals for hurting marginalized groups with words!

Viet Cong don’t write political songs. As Ian Cohen notes, they don’t even write love songs. They don’t endorse the policies or tactics of the actual Viet Cong, which dissolved in 1976.

When someone associated with Oberlin College, a private liberal arts school known for its progressive values, cancels a concert by a band whose members, it’s safe to assume, don’t agree with any of the nonsense conservative numbskulls like Ted Cruz spew—only liberals get hurt.

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Filed under Politics, Rock And Roll

Blame It On The Name

Pseudo hipster that I am, I recently discovered the band Viet Cong on Pitchfork. Their eponymous second album is a blistering cascade of art-noise. These four lads from Calgary have been destroying my iPod the last five days.

Two weeks ago the band released a statement regarding their controversial moniker. It turns out the promoter for their March 14 show at Oberlin College found “Viet Cong” offensive to Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Americans. (No mention of Vietnamese-Canadians). In the name of tolerance, the show was canceled.

Liberals once again castigating liberals for hurting marginalized groups with words!

Viet Cong don’t write political songs. As Ian Cohen notes, they don’t even write love songs. They don’t endorse the policies or tactics of the actual Viet Cong, which dissolved in 1976.

When someone associated with Oberlin College, a private liberal arts school known for its progressive values, cancels a concert by a band whose members, it’s safe to assume, don’t agree with any of the nonsense conservative numbskulls like Ted Cruz spew—only liberals get hurt.

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Filed under Politics, Rock And Roll

Can You Feel My Love Buzz?

I like my music loud and aggressive. It’s been that way since I fell in love with Guns N’ Roses in grade school. By no means have I outgrown my passion for rock n’ roll. My anger, as with the frustrations that accompany adulthood, remains stronger than ever.

Indeed rebellion plays a big role here. But what am I rebelling against?

Perhaps it’s from the sublimation of my desires. That great twentieth-century psychoanalyst was on to something when he outlined this idea. In order for each of us to live safely in society, we must forgo dangerous impulses toward things like sex and violence. We sacrifice our strongest urges for the comfort of community.

But civilization, in domesticating us, ultimately fails to tame our inner beast. We still crave action, especially where it’s prohibited. When I can’t get what I want, this very moment, I get angry but refrain from expressing my fury lest I be judged a threat to myself or others.

Bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against The Machine bring me temporary relief through the guitars, drums, microphones and amplifiers they employ. Or so this theory goes.

Here’s another, less complicated take.

My high school graduation was over fourteen years ago, but I still remember the daily battles between the jocks and freaks—the clever label given to artsy kids who liked to skateboard and don super baggy jeans. There’s no denying that I embodied the essence of the anti-jock, but I wasn’t a full-fledged freak either.

I was just a geeky teen looking for love. Listening to grunge and punk songs made me feel special and immune from the herd mentality. It gave me confidence and helped me tackle the day.

Better yet, it helped me impress the ladies.

The jocks had their games (and gym class) to show off. I had poetry, music, art. We both wanted the same thing, though: to get laid. Rather than simply allowing me to release my rage, music afforded me a chance to turn my experience of it into a performance to wow the crowd. A crowd, I still hope today, with at least one chick that digs me.

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Filed under Life, Philosophy, Rock And Roll