Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Such a sensitive soul...

UPDATE: I take all I've written below back. Fuck this guy - he is fucked and that's the end of it. Here's why I say this.

Last night I watched the first episode of Angry Boys, the new comedy by Chris Lilley of Summer Heights High and We Can Be Heroes fame. Lilley’s humour is to go far beyond the realms of political correctness and finding the tacit contradictions and humour in those dark places. Sadly, despite being proclaimed as genius by many, Angry Boys wasn’t particularly smart, engaging or even funny. As I watched the show, my girlfriend summed it up perfectly when she said, “Why are you watching this? It’s just shit.” She was right. The show just came across as crushingly unfunny, homophobic and sexist. Any skerrick of social critique was lost in a joyless embrace of being anti-PC for no reason and nothing about the situations being explored was illuminated in a witty way. I get what he was going for but he failed as far as I was concerned and it felt like a poor cousin to the previous, much better shows.

Now I’m no prude. My favourite comedians are those of the Bill Hicks, David Cross and Fear of a Brown Planet variety – pushing boundaries, crossing lines and finding humour in a fucked up world. Why am I telling you this on a music blog? Because the way I feel about Angry Boys is how I feel about Tyler, the Creator.

If you don’t know Tyler, he is the de facto leader of the Odd Futures hip hop collective and just released his first album Goblin. The album sounds amazing –downbeat hip hop that is both challenging and exhilarating. The problem is, much like Angry Boys, the content is un-pc in a way that is not enjoyable or that I can even justify being ok with. Unlike Lilley, I’m unsure how much of the images of violence, rape and homophobia are there for shock value or what Tyler actually thinks. I know that's to be excepted in hip hop but it's almost too much here. Tyler says none of it is serious but at some level it is. One of his most recent tweets was “Just walked into Abercrombie with my sister cause she wants a shirt. It smells like faggot in here.”

Even though I love hip hop, I know I am not the target audience for this record and it is speaking of an existence that is far removed from my own and that’s ok. I’m not about to become part of the PMRC brigade because of Goblin as it seems every few years we go through the same story of is Eminem a pathological woman hater or does Marilyn Manson incite violence or are NWA sexist or does Elvis promote promiscuity blah blah blah. I have always been of the opinion if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it which is probably what I’m going to do here. On an intellectual, political and emotional level, it is straying into areas that (even as art) are challenging and provocative for me to justify as being ok to listen to. I'm not sure if this is anything worse than I've heard on any other hip hop album but it really got to me listening to this record. As I said the music is good but when I read all the breathless enthusiasm from Pitchfork, Spin et al, it makes me wonder if I’ve become too sensitive… probably. That being said, Sandwiches is a great song….


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